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Shared Parental Leave

(27 Posts)
f1sher Mon 13-Nov-17 15:38:24


Is anyone planning to take (or has anyone previously taken) Shared Parental Leave with their partner?

How did it work for you? Would you recommend it?

My DH is quite keen and I would love for him to spend some quality time with baby once they are born, but I’m struggling to get my head around it, as it seems pretty complicated and my HR dept never seems to give me a straight answer.

Also, as much as I’d love for DH to have some dedicated time with baby, because he works such long hours, I feel conflicted about giving up some of my leave to accommodate this which feels really selfish 😕

Any advice or experience would be welcomed!

MsP0b Mon 13-Nov-17 18:33:13

We are going to do it. My HR dept told me that employers aren’t allowed to refuse it anymore. The only way they can is if you haven’t worked for that employer for long enough before it starts. I think it’s 26 weeks before the birth.

I feel mixed... we need my salary, and DP is desperate to be a hands on parent and has a fear of being a distant Dad. But the current plan would be me going back full time when DD is only 6.5 months old... what if she’s exclusively breastfeeding? What if I can’t bear to leave her??

moggle Mon 13-Nov-17 18:43:24

We're planning to do it as I'm expecting twins and we also have a 3yo DD. We're not taking it at the start though; DHis taking 3 weeks pat leave when they're born (due Jan) and then he will take 3m or so shared leave from April-June ish time. 4m plus was about when DD became more difficult, and we have plenty of family support for the early days so for us I'm hoping this will work ok.
We're both in the civil service so applying for it should be fairly straightforward but the form is still pretty complicated!
I'm probably giving up work as childcare is too expensive; I have to go back for one month to keep my enhanced mat pay and so DH will be able to use some of the annual leave / bank holidays he accumulates while on SPL to cover this period.
He's really looking forward to it...! So am I! It's going to be a nice experience I hope and not one we will repeat again I imagine.

wowbutter Mon 13-Nov-17 18:46:36

Yep, I am, and we are.
I am taking twenty weeks maternity leave.
Then ten weeks of shared leave with my DH, so five weeks actual time, ten weeks used, and then I am going back to work.
I work part time, don't intend to breastfeed.
And then DH is going to stay off for a further ten weeks to allow me a smooth transition back to work, pick up some home slack etc.
Meaning we will both be off roughly forty weeks.
It has been difficult, all the forms, and my hr department telling me that DH and I could not be off together! But it seems settled now.

The pay thing is crap though, only statuatory pay, meaning if I take shared leave I forfeit my twenty six weeks of enhanced pay.

MsP0b Mon 13-Nov-17 18:49:35

Are you using it to both be off simultaneously? That is understandable as you’re bringing your total of kids up to 3!
Congratulations by the way smile
We are using it end to end so only one of us off at a time. This is for affordability really. Would be amazing to both be off but can’t justify it money wise and it would use up the leave twice as fast.

JoJoSM2 Mon 13-Nov-17 19:02:25

My husband works crazy hours. He’s been anxious about not seeing the baby much but we don’t want to do parental leave. Instead, he’s going to roll over as much holiday as possible to use in the first few months. He also plans to leave work 2h early on a regular basis so that he can see the baby in the week and finish the work when the baby has gone to sleep (hopefully).

NimbleKnitter Mon 13-Nov-17 19:06:07

We’re doing it! His company pay the same for shared leave as for mat leave, so we’re both taking the first three months full pay.

Means both going back to work after 9 months, but figure I’ll need the help more at the beginning, and financially makes more sense to take first 3 months at full pay than last 3 months at no pay

sauceyorange Mon 13-Nov-17 19:08:51

We did it- I took 7 months then DH took 2. But you can, as PP said, take some time off together which would give you a bit longer. By 7 mos dd was ok with 6-7 hours between feeds, with meals and water/expressed milk. And every week gets easier.

The iother option is for your DH to take time off in blocks- so maybe a fortnight then back to work for a month, then another fortnight etc. It depends how flexible his job and employer are.

It’s made a massive difference to us. They always spent time together but he really understand the day to day joys and drudgery of childcare now. And it’s been so wonderful watching her get more and more excited about spending time with her dad. Their relationship definitely benefitted

BendingSpoons Mon 13-Nov-17 19:09:02

We did it. I had 9 months and DH had 3 months when I went back. I used the holiday I had accrued to work 3 days per week in this period (paid full time) and then went officially to 3 days per week after. It worked great for us. I would have had a whole year off but was ready to go back in many ways. DD was breastfeed and refused a bottle but was fine on solids and bits of water/milk from a cup and DH got some quality time with DD. For us, DH's bit was unpaid so fairly simple from that point of view (he was off from 9-12 months). I think it was really good for our relationship/family to both have an understanding of being at home all day everyday!

1Wanda1 Mon 13-Nov-17 19:13:11

I’m not pregnant but would like to be, and am interested in how this works. Let’s say I wanted to take 6 months and DP wanted to take 3 months. Would I get my company’s maternity pay for the 6 months just as I would if I was the only one taking leave? How is DP’s parental leave pay then calculated? What if we both work for the same company?

sauceyorange Mon 13-Nov-17 19:13:50

Wow nimble that’s great about the pay. Rare!

HolyShmoly Mon 13-Nov-17 19:14:28

We aren't, partly because DHs employer doesn't even offer enhanced paternity, never mind enhanced parental leave, whereas my employer offers a decent maternity package. Dh also earns more than me. Financially it just wouldnt work for us.
Unfortunately the guidance when it was first introduced was so flaky that a lot of HR departments basically hope that they never get asked about it! It's worth you both asking your employees whether they offer above the statutory and, if so, what.
Most of the other details are statutory, it's just the payments that can differ.

Ausparent Mon 13-Nov-17 19:17:31

With DC 1 I went back to work after 10 weeks for financial reasons. DH worked from home so looked after DS from then on. It was tough being away from him but it made DH confident in his parenting and made it much easier to share parenting.

sauceyorange Mon 13-Nov-17 19:17:47

The guidance is here. It’s not very clear but does give some helpful examples

PippleBang Mon 13-Nov-17 19:27:48

We are doing it next year! We are adopting so it's especially important for DH to be at home as much as he can. We will both be off at the same time - he will go back to work after a couple of months, I'll have almost a year off by the time my annual leave and TOIL is added to the end of my SPL.

CoffeeAndCupcakes85 Mon 13-Nov-17 19:41:35

We did it and I highly recommend it. DH took "my" last 2 months off. It was fantastic for helping him be hands on and get quality time with DC, as well as helping me transition back to work knowing DC was safe. It was tough financially (after SMP ended at 9 months, we were entitled to nothing and DH earns more so it was quite a hit having him lose his salary for 2 months) but we thought it was a hit worth taking for him to get that quality time! Neither of our HR departments had a clue how it worked and we had to query so much of what they said (they got a lot wrong and clearly couldn't be arsed to find out what they needed to do!).

Enwi Mon 13-Nov-17 20:36:00

We are planning to do it. I'm a self-employed childminder, as is my partner. He also has a full time employed job meaning that 'we' as a couple are eligible for the shared parental leave, but I can only take 2 weeks of it!
I am going to have to return to work after 2 weeks, and he is going to have the other 50 weeks off helping around the house, looking after the baby, walking the dog etc to make my transition as easy as possible.
I earn quite a bit more than my partner so we couldn't have survived if I'd have claimed maternity allowance and he'd continued to work.

f1sher Mon 13-Nov-17 22:28:29

Thanks to all for the replies - you've given me plenty of food for thought. Think I'm going to do some more research and go back to HR to make sure I - and they - properly understand everything and then I can make an informed decision!

Swan8 Tue 14-Nov-17 06:49:35

We are also doing it - splitting it 50/50. We are both self employed so only entitled to statutory parental leave (I haven’t even looked at the form filling yet but hear from colleagues that it is horrendous even if you aren’t splitting the leave). He earns more than me but is determined to have that time with the baby and I think it is a great idea (although part of me also wishes I could take it all!!)

Twinnypops Tue 14-Nov-17 09:23:23

We did it with our twins. My husband took 2 weeks off after his paternity leave finished (I.e while I was on maternity leave), and then took another four and a half months of leave once I'd had seven month leave. It worked really well, both in terms of me not having a huge career break and in terms of us both being hands on parents, understanding what it's like to be the stay at home parent etc

TonicAndTonic Tue 14-Nov-17 11:27:36

Really interesting thread as DP and I are just in the process of planning SPL for next year. For us, his enhanced SPL package is actually better than mine, but because I don't think I'm going to want to go back to work too soon, what we will probably do is have me take 9 months then DP take the last 3 months (which will be totally unpaid as the statutory pay will have finished by then).

His salary is only a bit higher than mine, so we will take a slight financial hit by having him take unpaid time off instead of me. We think it's worth it though to give both of us the opportunity to have one-on-one time with the baby. I'll probably use accrued annual leave to create a couple of weeks overlap between my leave and his, so we get a 'handover'!

springer24 Tue 14-Nov-17 13:19:47

We did it with DD1 and will be doing it again this time round. I did 10 months and DH did 2 at the end. I had to just sign something provided by HR no less than 8 weeks before my return date. As it was the end of maternity there was no statutory pay so the only difference was that DH was on no money rather than me (but it worked fine as I was slightly higher earned).
Would recommend it without a shadow of a doubt. It really helped us balance things out more with DH taking on the mental load of kids stuff. As I was going back to work full time it really helped. Plus DH has a great 2 months off during summer time with a pretty settled little un - in fact I sometimes get annoyed thinking he probably had the best bit!!
Good luck making your decision.

Queeniebed Tue 14-Nov-17 14:28:13

Totally worked for us. There are different ways of takings it so you decide what you want to do and tell your HR. They sort out the paperwork. I did my own and handed it over but I like the HR lady and wanted to make it easy for her. Absolutely no regrets. I went back to work FT and DH had 4 months plus another month off with baby.

afrikat Tue 14-Nov-17 17:53:32

We did it and it was great. I took 9 months then DH took 3. He absolutely loved spending all that time with her and it allowed me a smoother transition back to work. There was a part of me that felt slightly sad that I didn't use the full 'allowance' for myself as I did the first time round but he had as much right to that time off as I did and he has such a strong bond with the kids. It was also great that he fully appreciates how tough it can be to look after a baby all day (although he was much better than me at doing housework etc!)
The forms were a bit complicated but once we read through them a few times it was fine

EddyMerckx Tue 14-Nov-17 19:56:26

We also did it. I took five months and he did four.

Worked brilliantly for us both financially (we both got full pay, but I think that's pretty unusual - his employer based it on their mat leave policy and started him at week one when he took over) and more generally - he loved it, I loved it and our daughter loved it. We would do it again in a heartbeat.

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