Shared parental leave - Online HMRC tool

The government has launched an online tool to help expectant parents share time off in the early stages of their baby’s life, allowing them to check eligibility and pay entitlement

Expectant parents will find it easier to access and comprehend Shared Parental Leave and Pay thanks to the new tool. Parents will be able to check their eligibility for the programme, calculate their pay entitlement, and obtain all of the documentation they’ll need to get their employer to grant them leave.

For how many weeks couple can take Shared Parental Leave?

Working parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay in the first year of their child’s life under the Shared Parental Leave and Pay programme (or within a year of placement if the child is adopted).

Parents can work out a leave schedule that works for them and their employer, and they can take leave and pay in up to three blocks (more if their employer allows), returning to work in between periods of leave.

In the first year, eligible parents can take up to six months off work together or stagger their leave and compensation so that one of them is constantly at home with their child.

Parents can also take up to 20 days of joint parental leave to keep in touch with their children. Parents can use one or more of these days to work during their week of shared parental leave, allowing both parents to try part-time employment while on leave. For example, the father and/or the mother could use these days to try working a two, three, or four-day week.

Labour markets minister Paul Scully said: ‘Shared leave and pay gives working families much more choice and flexibility about who cares for their child in the first year, and when. The scheme helps working women exercise more choice about when to go back to work, while also encouraging and supporting dads and partners to take a greater role in their child’s care if they wish.’

Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘Shared parental leave supports parents to balance family and career priorities and helps employers retain skills. This tool is a welcome initiative that will hopefully simplify the shared parental leave process, improve access and take-up, and encourage diversity in the workplace.’

Simon Kelleher, Head of Policy at Working Families, said: ‘The option to share periods of leave, or alternate between blocks of leave and work, helps support the aspirations of mothers, fathers and partners, and allows them to balance their responsibilities according to their circumstances.

‘We know from enquiries to our advice service that many parents and employers can find the system confusing at times, so we welcome the launch of this new tool which will enable more families to benefit from planning their parental leave in a way that suits them.’

Useful links

HMRC guidance, Shared parental leave and pay

Shared parental leave
Shared parental leave

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