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Shared Parental Leave

HMRC has recently launched tools to help parents understand their eligibility for shared parental leave. The launch on 17th June should make it easier for parents to decide how to share available leave. The detailed rules have been simplified with basic guidance. The tools are also useful to employers for eligibility checks. Even though it is understood that parents can share statutory shared parental pay (ShPP) and leave (ShPL), it is less understood that mums/primary adopters can cut back their statutory maternity or adoption pay (SMP or SAP) and leave (SML or SAL) and receive ShPP and ShPL instead – there is no need to share with anyone as long as their partner would have been eligible. Importance of the difference: - Both SMP/SAP and ShPP pay out for 39 weeks and SML/SAL and ShPL provide 52 weeks’ leave. However, these statutory benefits differ in that for the first six weeks SMP/SAP can be paid at a higher rate if mum/primary adopter is eligible before dropping to a flat rate, whereas ShPP is payable at the same flat rate throughout, and SML/SAL has to be taken as one continuous block whereas ShPL can be taken in weekly blocks within the 52 weeks. The ability of mum/the primary adopter to change from SMP/SAP & SML/SAL to ShPP & ShPL means that they can take SML/SAL and if entitled receive the higher rate of SMP/SAP for six weeks and then switch to ShPP and ShPL and agree with their employer which weeks within the 52 weeks to take as ShPL. This enables mums/primary adopters to go back to work (as long as it’s for at least a week at a time) and arrange for other family members, say, grandparents, temporarily to look after the child(ren) whilst earning money to fund the next chunk of shared parental leave. Link:

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