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Shared Parental Leave and not returning to work

(26 Posts)
SPARKS17 Tue 13-Mar-18 21:07:10

We have just found out DH gets 26 weeks fully paid shared parental leave.

I work in a job where I get basic SMP no extras. I had originally planned to take 52 weeks off and not return to work (it's not financially viable for me to return to work and pay childcare).

I am a little confused by SPL if I take the first 26 weeks off on maternity leave and then transfer the rest of my "leave" to DH can I then "return to work" but in reality take unpaid leave from my job for the remaining 26 weeks whilst DH takes his 26 weeks SPL. Or do I need to hand in my notice at 26 weeks, if so will that invalidate DHs SPL.

Can we Share parental leave if I don't return to work?

dementedpixie Wed 14-Mar-18 07:50:40

Can he not have the leave at the same time as you?

ClareB83 Wed 14-Mar-18 07:53:02

I'd call Citizens Advice for some help because I'm not sure if your husband needs to take the first six months to get the full pay or not. Get as much info as possible from his HR and then ring them.

dementedpixie Wed 14-Mar-18 07:56:24

I'm sure both of you can be off at the same time. You have to curtail your leave by 6 months in order to give it to him and could then resign

reddressblueshoes Wed 14-Mar-18 08:00:02

My understanding is you can only have shared parental leave if you are either back at work while he is taking it, or at least intend to return but I am not 100% sure on that point - basically, I looked into this because my husband works in the UK (Northern Ireland) and I now work across the border in the Republic. We were told because Im not working in the UK he can't take the shared parental leave as I won't count as being back at work as I'm working in another jurisdiction (I would love if that was wrong btw, but I don't think it is!)

I would also check as other posters said about whether it has to be the first six months - the way it worked in my old office when they first introduced it was that women who took maternity or men who took shared parental leave got full pay for the first six months, then it dropped - but those men had to take that leave in the first six months of the child's life, it wasn't that it just started whenever they went on leave. Which is fair as otherwise it would be companies doubling entitlements rather than allowing you to share them.

dementedpixie Wed 14-Mar-18 08:02:57 you can be off at the same time. OP could shorten her leave period i.e. entitled to 12 months but will only take 6 months which leaves 6 months to share with her dh.

DaisyLand Wed 14-Mar-18 08:10:43

I guess as others have said it’d need to be the 1st 6 months but you’d better check with his company.

Also remember that if he gets 26 weeks full pay you’d only be 13w entitled to payment and not 26. The other 13 would not be paid.

Finally many times companies accept enhanced payments if after you come to work ,if you don’t then you’d need to return the enhanced money. As it’s your husband the one that gets the enhanced package it should be fine but again double check with his company or acas

In my situation I’ve got the enhanced package and I’m going to shared the leave with my husband , he’ll have the last 26w off. My plan is to return to work for at least 3 months that I believe is what they ask you.

SPARKS17 Thu 15-Mar-18 17:19:03

Thanks for your thoughts everyone.

I ended up speaking to ACAS yesterday who couldn't help and the Maternity Action line today, who were excellent.

Given DH is enhanced and I am SMP we were advised for DH to take 26 weeks fully paid and for me to take 13 weeks SMP and 13 weeks unpaid which brings us to the 52 weeks leave entitlement.

As for when DH can take his leave that is down to his employer some will stipulate it has to be done in the first 26 weeks others anytime that suits us. The key is we don't go over the 39 weeks of paid leave and leave is all taken in the first 52 weeks.

Simpler than I thought and the lady at Maternity Action was brilliant!

Colourmeblind Thu 15-Mar-18 17:24:25

Me and my partner are doing shared parental leave.
I'm having the first 6 months off and he is having the last 6 months off, with one month overlap in the middle.
I get SMP till I go back to work but he only gets his paid leave until 9 months of both our leave is taken, the final 3 months are unpaid just like Maternity pay.
In regards to returning to work, I would double check this but my understanding is once your leave has finished, you can work your notice and leave and your partner will continue to get his SPL payments until 9 months of pay is paid.
Unless you have the funds for you both to have 3 months off - when you've left and he's on unpaid leave, I would overlap it by 3 months. So you have the first 3 months, both of you have the next 3 months together and him have the last 3 months.
Then when you leave your work, you will have his income coming in.
Hope that makes sense, sort of. Sorry for ranting.

SPARKS17 Thu 15-Mar-18 17:47:15

@colourmeblind yes you do make sense!

I am not too worried about the 13 weeks unpaid for me.

With DH receiving full pay for his 6 months but no commuting/work related costs it should even out over the year.

I'm going to get DH to double check everything with HR, but I think I can give notice on my job 4 weeks before I return to work as my contract still stands through my Maternity Leave. Who knows after 6 months looking after a newborn I might be delighted to return to work, but also I think having a further 6 months as a family will be amazing especially when we didnt think SPL would work for us at all!

Colourmeblind Thu 15-Mar-18 18:07:18

It's amazing to think that not many people know about this. We are in the same boat really DH gets fully paid leave for 4 months where as I only get SMP but we can survive better on my wage than his, which is why I'm going back to work.

Only downside I've found is which may not bother you if you're not going back to work is that once its in writing and you have signed a binding agreement you cannot change your leave dates. If you don't sign this you have 6 weeks after little ones born to put it place.

Don't know if it's helpful but your partner could take 2 blocks of leave (if his work allows.) 3 months at the beginning with you and 3 months before 52 weeks.

Good luck!

AssassinatedBeauty Thu 15-Mar-18 18:15:21

@Colourmeblind I think people know about shared parental leave, but many many men are only given 2 or 3 weeks enhanced pay by their employers. Which combined with many women not getting a very generous enhanced maternity pay package means that it just isn't financially viable for both parents to take time off. This is made worse by the fact that often men have the higher salary, particularly if it's a second baby and many women have gone part time already.

The whole policy is really not helpful, and women shouldn't have to give up leave in order for their partner to have any.

Colourmeblind Thu 15-Mar-18 18:47:29

I never really thought of that, we are just very lucky I think. My partner gets a better policy than me. I get 6 weeks full pay and he gets 12.

I do make a considerable amount more than him though which is why we decided on SPL as it means we can live more comfortable.

I agree, I hate the idea of giving up my maternity leave for my partner but needs must.

Pinkprincess1978 Fri 16-Mar-18 06:22:23

Wow there are some generous employers out there! I've worked for NHS and Education and they only get 2 weeks full paid leave so the rest of shared parental leave would be paid at lower rate SMP.

In this instance it's only financially viable if the husband earns less than the female which isn't often the case especially with the ladies who have asked in my work.

Mind there was no way I was giving up my year off work for my husband to have it - not when I went through the pain of childbirth 😂😂😂

ohamIreally Fri 16-Mar-18 07:02:40

I think the move towards shared parental leave is one which will effect change in society and promote more fairness in paid and unpaid work. It isn't "giving up" our maternity leave but sharing it with the other parent which will be amazing for a child to experience. OP surely if your DH gets fully paid leave you can go back to work freed from your concern around childcare costs at least for six months and use that time to build up your savings? Please don't fall into the trap of mentally offsetting childcare costs against your salary alone - childcare costs should be half each.

MaverickSnoopy Fri 16-Mar-18 08:02:41

@SPARKS17 I just wanted to add that if you both plan to take 6 months, you'd both need to be off at the same time. Your only eligible for shared parental leave if you're both employed. Once you are no longer employed you will no longer be entitled.

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 16-Mar-18 08:04:06

It is giving it up to share it. You actually have to formally advise that you are giving up your leave for your partner to take.

A really progressive system would give men the same paternity leave as women's maternity, with the same level of pay to be taken at the same time.

LisaSimpsonsbff Fri 16-Mar-18 08:09:00

A really progressive system would give men the same paternity leave as women's maternity, with the same level of pay to be taken at the same time.

Well, yes, but that would also double the total cost to the tax payer of the birth of every baby, so you can see why it was a political non-starter. And the pay is the same, apart from the first six weeks. I think there's a bit of a danger of the perfect being the enemy of the good here - of course SPL isn't perfect and there should be work to improve it (just as paid maternity leave has improved since it was first introduced) but it should still be recognised as a really positive step in the right direction.

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 16-Mar-18 08:12:19

It's a small positive step, that has had very limited impact. Take up is tiny, due to the features described. I worry that the low take up could be taken as evidence that there is no demand for it, and any improvements will therefore be a very low priority.

LisaSimpsonsbff Fri 16-Mar-18 08:16:57

I personally don't think that anything other than a 'use it or lose it' systen, where a portion of the leave can only be used by the partner, will encourage high male take up. Read any thread on this on Mumsnet and you'll see that there's as much cultural as financial resistance to shared leave - including from women who 'wouldn't give their leave up'.

Dreamingofkfc Fri 16-Mar-18 08:25:59

I see it as giving up my leave to share it. It would massively effect breastfeeding so my husband and I have agreed that I will take the year off.

bluechameleon Fri 16-Mar-18 09:01:19

I think it's a shame that so many women see it as "giving up their leave". IMO sharing leave is an excellent way to move away from women being the default parent and taking on the full mental load. If both parents experience periods of being at home in sole charge then you will not get the situation so many posters complain of where the father doesn't know where the socks live/what the the baby eats etc.

Colourmeblind Fri 16-Mar-18 09:06:41

We see it as I'm giving up my leave for him to spend time with our little one. In an ideal world we would both have a year off but my partner is so excited to care for our little one when he is so young, a lot of family have said I'm crazy but in my opinion our little one deserves time with both of us.

ohamIreally Fri 16-Mar-18 09:14:27

Germany has moved to a system of shared parental leave on a use it or lose it system- this is a culture where women had to have their husbands' permission to work until 1977. I'm told it's effecting real change there.

LisaSimpsonsbff Fri 16-Mar-18 09:55:05

Yes, ohamI, I've also read that it makes a huge, huge difference to have it on a 'use it or lose it' basis. In Sweden they saw the amount of leave taken by men double when they moved from a system like ours, where men 'could' take leave, to their current system where there are months reserved for them, and if they don't take it the time is just lost.

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