Statutory Shared Parental Pay and Leave (ShPP/SPL) - general information: ending maternity or adoption leave/pay
Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is created by the mother or adopter of the child reducing their Maternity or Adoption Leave by ending it before taking the full 52 weeks. Provided the qualifying conditions are met the balance of the unused leave can then become SPL.
Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) is created by a mother or adopter ending their Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) period before taking the full 39 weeks. Provided the qualifying conditions are met the balance of unused SMP or SAP can then become ShPP.
If an employed mother or adopter is not entitled to Maternity or Adoption Leave they are not entitled to SPL or ShPP. But if they are entitled to SMP, SAP or Maternity Allowance (MA) they can end the payment period early to create an entitlement to SPL and ShPP for their partner.
An agency worker is not entitled to Maternity or Adoption Leave but may be entitled to SMP or SAP. If this is the case they would also be entitled to ShPP if they met the qualifying conditions.
Ending Maternity or Adoption Leave by returning to work
A mother or adopter will be able to end their Maternity or Adoption Leave before the end of their 52 week entitlement by giving their employer 8 weeks’ notice of their planned return and then going back to work.
Once the mother or adopter has returned to work their leave entitlement for maternity or adoption has ended and cannot be restarted.
Once they have returned to work the mother or adopter can trigger entitlement to SPL, but any notice to book leave must still be given at least 8 weeks before the leave can be taken.
Ending Maternity or Adoption Leave at a future date before returning to work
A key feature of a shared entitlement is that it allows the mother’s or adopter’s partner to start taking SPL whilst the mother or adopter is still on Maternity or Adoption Leave. This enables the partner to begin taking SPL from the birth of the child or the date of placement for adoption.
To enable this to happen the mother or adopter can give notice to their employer to end their leave on a specified future date of their choice.
A mother must take a minimum of 2 weeks’ Maternity Leave (4 if she works in a factory) before leave can be ended and an adopter must also take a minimum of 2 weeks’ Adoption Leave.
A notice to end leave must be in writing and must state the date on which the leave period is to end. The notice must be given at least 9 weeks before the 52 weeks of leave entitlement is due to end.
When a mother or adopter gives their employer notice to end their Maternity or Adoption Leave and that notice is accompanied by either:
- A notice of entitlement to SPL
- A declaration that their partner has given their employer notice of their entitlement to take SPL and that they consent to the leave the partner intends to take
then they are bound by the notice to end their maternity or adoption leave except in very limited circumstances.