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Can a mother take Shared Parental Leave instead of maternity leave?
Yes. Shared Parental Leave is not just for fathers and partners. A mother might choose to end her maternity leave early and take Shared Parental Leave instead because it can be taken more flexibly. Maternity leave can only be taken in a single block, whereas Shared Parental Leave can be taken in up to three separate blocks. So a mother could go back to work for a few weeks then decide to take more time off later on.
Mothers must take the first two weeks of maternity leave (four weeks if they work in a factory) – alled Compulsory Maternity Leave – but after that the rest of the leave can be shared.