Can I share my partner’s maternity leave?

Yes, as long as both of you qualify for shared parental leave, and as long as your partner agrees.

Your partner must take the first two weeks of maternity leave after giving birth (four weeks if she is a factory worker). This initial part of maternity leave is compulsory because of the need to take care of mother and baby’s health and safety. The remaining leave can be split between you as long as she agrees, and as long as you are both eligible for Shared Parental Leave.

To be eligible to share your partner’s leave, you must:

  • have you partner’s agreement;
  • be an employee;
  • share primary parental responsibility (i.e. be the child’s father or the mother’s partner) at the time of the birth;
  • have 26 weeks’ service at the end of the 15th week before the due date.

In addition, your partner must:

  • be employed, an agency worker, or self-employed in Great Britain for at least 26 out of the 66 weeks up to the due date; and
  • have average weekly earnings of not less than £30 per week in 13 of these 66 weeks.

You can find out more information in workSMART's Shared Parental Leave section or by visiting SPLASH, a web portal devised by charities Maternity Action and Working Families, as well as legal specialists.

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.

What is WorkSmart?

A career coach that works for everyone.


Enjoy bite-sized activities delivered to you every week.

Lightbulb brain

Equip yourself with essential skills to be the best you yet.


Get the guidance you need to stay focused and reach your goals.

Worksmart circle