Call our free helpline0808 808 3555
Call our free helpline
0808 808 3555
As an employee you may also be entitled to time off if you or
your partner has either had a baby or adopted a child in the last
Please note that if your average earnings are less than the
lower earnings limit for national insurance you may not qualify for
statutory maternity pay, statutory adoption pay or statutory
paternity pay. Seek further advice if this applies to you. Other
support may be available such as maternity allowance or certain
All pregnant employees are entitled to 12 months of maternity
leave. As long as you have worked for your employer for at least 26
weeks by the fifteenth week before your baby is due, you will also
be eligible for statutory maternity pay (SMP) or maternity
allowance. You can be paid this for the first 39 weeks of your
Fathers are also entitled to paternity leave for either one week
or two consecutive weeks. To qualify for paternity leave you must
have worked for an employer for 26 weeks by the fifteenth week
before the baby is due, and be the baby's biological father or the
mother's husband or partner.
Those who adopt children are entitled to up to 52 weeks'
statutory adoption leave. If you have worked for your employer for
at least 26 weeks by the date you are matched with a child, you can
be paid statutory adoption pay for the first 39 weeks. There is
also the option of taking a further 13 weeks' leave, usually
unpaid. Leave may be taken by either partner if a couple adopt.
If a mum who is entitled to maternity leave or pay or maternity
allowance decides to return to work early, they can share some of
the unused leave with their partner under rules known as statutory
shared parental leave (SPL).
You may also able to take SPL if you and your partner have
jointly adopted a child, and your partner returns to work before
they have used up all of their Statutory Adoption Leave.
A working mum must take at least two weeks maternity leave
immediately after a child's birth, but she has the option of
swapping all or part of the remaining 50 weeks of her maternity
leave for SPL which she can then share with her partner.
This means that you and your partner have more flexibility in
how you share the care of your child in their first year of birth
or adoption. For instance you may decide to both be off at the same
time or to take turns in having periods of leave to look after your
In order to be eligible for statutory shared parental leave your
baby must be due, or your child placed for adoption, on or after
the 5 April 2015.
Statutory shared parental pay
Depending on your circumstances you may be entitled to Statutory
Shared Parental Pay while you are on SPL. However shared parental
pay is paid at a flat rate of £139.50 a week (or 90% of earnings if
this figure is lower). Contact our helpline for further
advice about whether you would qualify for SPL and Statutory Shared