Brethertons update on Shared Parental Leave

David Hodge

David Hodge - Credit: Archant

Promotional feature: On 5 April this year, Shared Parental Leave (SPL) properly came into effect.

This new entitlement is designed to allow parents greater flexibility in organising childcare and to enable and encourage them to share the care of their child in the first year (following birth or adoption). A simple way of looking at this new entitlement is that a total pot of 52 weeks leave is up for grabs and parents can agree between them (subject to certain limits and restrictions) how they share it.

They can choose to be on leave at the same time or take it in turns to have periods of leave to look after the child, but

once the pot is used up, that’s it.

Taking advantage of SPL could be very attractive to many families, not least for financial reasons. Money is still tight in the majority of homes across the country and it is becoming increasingly common for women to be the main bread winners. The ability for the father to take an extended period of leave, allowing the mother to return to work, could be good news for some.

SPL has another particular benefit for parents. Unlike ordinary maternity leave, which has to be taken in one complete block, SPL can be taken in separate blocks during the first year of a child’s life (or adoption) so the mother and father

can ‘juggle’ responsibility between them. There is a right to book a maximum of 3 separate blocks of leave, although further blocks of leave can be agreed at the employer’s discretion. SPL must be taken in multiples of complete weeks and the minimum period of SPL that can be taken at any one time is 3 weeks. In many cases, employers have no discretion to refuse SPL requests.

If you’d like more information on SPL please visit

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For advice on your specific situation, please contact David Hodge on 01788 557604 or at