Shared parental leave (SPL) is a statutory regime introduced in 2015 to help parents to share leave between them after birth or adoption. Both maternity and adoption leave can be shared. Shared adoption rights are available to men and women and to same sex and heterosexual couples.
The mother or 'primary adopter' must take the first two weeks of maternity or adoption leave. She can then choose to share up to 50 weeks of the leave with her partner by opting into the SPL regime. SPL must be taken within a year of the birth (or matching for adoption).