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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.