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Implementing a shared parental leave policy

From 5 April 2015 employees are entitled to shared parental leave following the birth or adoption of their child.

Mothers will be able to end their maternity leave and opt into the new shared parental leave regime (Picture: iStock)
Mothers will be able to end their maternity leave and opt into the new shared parental leave regime (Picture: iStock)


The right to shared parental leave applies to staff whose babies have an expected week of childbirth on or after 5 April 2015 or who adopt, or are matched for adoption, on or after 5 April 2015.

Shared parental leave applies to staff whose babies have an expected week of childbirth on or after 5 April 2015 or who adopt, or are matched for adoption, on or after 5 April 2015.

The default position is that a woman is entitled to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and 39 weeks' maternity pay. However, the woman can bring her leave and pay period to an end early and the balance of both becomes available to either parent to take as shared parental leave or pay.

In the same way, a primary adopter will be able to bring their adoption leave and pay to an end and convert the remainder into a period of shared parental leave and pay that can be taken by either parent.

This new system will replace the current system of additional paternity leave, which will be abolished for children with an expected week of childbirth on or after 5 April 2015.

Changes to adoption leave and pay

Additional changes to adoption leave and pay also came into effect from 5 April 2015. See here for more details.

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