Are there any circumstances in which Shared Parental Leave might not be suitable for us?

Yes. In particular, Shared Parental Leave may not be suitable if:

  • your partner would prefer to take her whole 52 weeks' maternity leave;
  • your partner has a contractual right to enhanced maternity pay (statutory parental pay is paid at a flat rate throughout);
  • you are not an employee (only employees can take Shared Parental Leave);
  • other statutory employment rights – such as the right to request flexible working or to take unpaid parental leave – would suit you better;
  • you have asked for discontinuous leave (i.e. leave divided into chunks of time) and your employer has not agreed; or
  • there are wider financial and family implications, e.g. the threat of redundancy.

Shared Parental Leave is paid at a flat weekly rate throughout, whereas the first six weeks of statutory maternity and adoption pay is paid at 90% of earnings if greater than the flat weekly rate of £140.98 from April 2017. So where weekly wages exceed the flat weekly rate, under the basic statutory scheme there will usually be a financial advantage to taking maternity leave for at least the first six weeks before switching to statutory parental leave.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.