Shared parental leave (SPL) is a type of parental leave that allows birth parents and adoptive parents to share up to 50 weeks leave and 37 weeks pay between them. SPL may be taken in one go or in blocks separated by work. It may be taken consecutively by both partners or may be taken at the same time so both partners are off work together. Shared parental leave can be shared with only one person and must be taken in the first year after a child is born or placed with a family.

To be eligible, both partners must fulfil certain criteria relating to employment status, length of employment and amount of pay.

The crucial thing to note about SPL is that it requires the mother (or adopter) to end, or give notice to end, their maternity (or adoption) leave, in order for SPL to start.

The rules are complicated, but don’t worry: we have produced a fact sheet.


Published in…

Updates: For employers: Family rights and flexible working | For employees: Family rights and flexible working |

Share this definition on

Other employment law terms

  1. ACAS Early Conciliation
  2. Adoption appointments
  3. Adoption leave
  4. Alternative dispute resolution
  5. Ante-natal care
  6. Apprenticeship
  7. Basic award
  8. Calderbank offer
  9. Collective consultation
  10. Compensatory award
  11. Compromise agreement
  12. Constructive dismissal
  13. Contract of employment
  14. Disciplinary hearing
  15. Discrimination
  16. Employee shareholder
  17. Employment tribunal
  18. ETO reason
  19. Flexible working requests
  20. Grievance
  21. Gross misconduct
  22. Harassment
  23. Industrial action
  24. Injury to feelings
  25. Maternity and parental rights
  26. Maternity leave
  27. Maternity pay
  28. Mediation
  29. Parental leave
  30. Paternity leave and pay
  31. Polkey deduction
  32. Pre-termination negotiations
  33. Protected characteristics
  34. Redundancy
  35. Restrictive covenants
  36. Settlement agreement
  37. Staff handbook
  38. Statutory annual leave
  39. Strikes
  40. Study and training rights
  41. Summary dismissal
  42. Sunday working
  43. Trade union
  44. TUPE
  45. Unfair dismissal
  46. Unlawful deductions
  47. Victimisation
  48. Whistle-blowing
  49. Without prejudice
  50. Working Time Regulations
  51. Written particulars
  52. Wrongful dismissal
  53. Zero hours contracts