Shared parental leave is the UK government initiative to give the Mother’s or adoptive parent’s partner an opportunity to share the leave entitlement.
For a Daddy like me, it can take the standard two weeks of Paternity leave up to a the maximum maternity leave, by sharing the hours between both parents.
What are you entitled to?
With Shared Parental Leave, you can share 50 weeks of leave, and 37 weeks of pay, similar to that of maternity leave.
It begins by opting to end maternity leave and then the remaining leave can be shared between both parents. Parents can either take the time off together or apart. Taking it together however, means half the total time off as it tots up for both parents.
At this point whomever takes the leave moves to Shared Parental Leave pay, which is equal to the lowest level of statutory maternity pay (SMP) at £151.97 a week, or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).
For us, we decided that the wifey, Natalie, would take the first 6 months and I would take the final 3. This meant we would get the same pay entitlements as when we move to shared parental pay as it is equal to the statutory maternity pay, which is what Natalie would be receiving in these three months. It also meant Natalie returned to work at an ideal time for her career at the start of a new teaching term.
Our experience with Shared Parental Leave
The process was simple, as long as your employer agrees. There’s is just lots of calculations and forms to complete.
In September 2019 I began SPL and my three months of leave and it’s fair to say it was a rocky start. Munchkin was fully breast fed for the first 6 months. So when I took over at 6 months, this also meant the beginning of bottle feeding, the start of weaning and a change from Mummy to Daddy. This was, naturally, a huge change and the resulting Munchkin bottle hunger strike was a fair response. But we made it through…
Regarding SPL, the whole process can be a tad confusing and, as per anything like this, there is a lot of forms to complete. At the time of writing it was also a new-ish process that naturally that comes with unknowns. Hopefully that has improved since 2019 however.
If you have any questions feel free to ask me and I’ll try my best to answer them. or visit https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay.
Why I write this blog
Some of the forms didn’t even exist in my company when I applied for SPL, and because it was atypical way of taking leave to traditional parental leave, I realised we were doing something different. I also though it would be good to give a Daddys perspective, of being the sole nappy changer, entertainer, walker, feeder and rhyme timer and blogging kept my brain cells alive, when singing twinkle twinkle little star for the 1000th time.
Thanks for reading,
Daddy and Munchkin