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Shared Parental Leave

(8 Posts)
lineandsinker Sun 07-Jul-19 13:32:51


Baby due end of August and will be taking maternity leave on my EDD.

Have recently seen lots of talk on Twitter about teachers using Shared Parental Leave to ‘return to work’ during the holidays and to get full pay before going back on mat leave on the first day of term to bolster their maternity pay as obviously we don’t accrue holiday pay in the normal way whilst on mat leave.

Had a look on NEU and NASUWT websites but struggling to understand how the SPL system works and how it can be ‘used’ to earn full pay during holiday periods. I was of the understanding that the father has to be using the Shared Parental Leave whilst the mother returns to work but others have suggested this isn’t the case.

My husband is the higher earner of the two of us, so it wouldn’t be worth it financially for me to ‘return to work’ during the holidays if he would only earn SMP in that time.

If anyone has experience or understanding of using SPL in this way and could explain it to me, I’d be really grateful.


OP’s posts: |
MrsPandigital Mon 08-Jul-19 22:10:02

That sounds too good to be true. I'm all ears and would also love to know.

MrsMiggins37 Mon 08-Jul-19 22:11:44

You have to curtail maternity leave to take shared parental leave so not sure how that would work

lineandsinker Mon 08-Jul-19 23:18:19

Bear with me... this is as I understand it. My husband was doing some research into this today and found some info on the ACAS website.

Apparently, the father doesn’t actually have to take any SPL, even if the mother curtails her mat leave for a short time for the father to have SPL.

You can take up to 3 blocks of SPL, and in other professions, the woman would have to ‘return to work’ during these blocks of SPL as most other professions only get 4 weeks of holiday per year. In teaching, SPL can be manipulated because of the 13 weeks holiday so that the mother ‘returns to work’ during school holidays for father to have SPL, but the father doesn’t actually have to take the SPL, thus two full-time wages coming in during the holiday period. There appears to be no communication between mother and father employers - one simply needs to give notice that they intend to use SPL and that isn’t shared any further.
So in theory, the system could be gamed to increase mat pay, but only by teachers because of our longer holidays.

I think SPL has to be approved - it’s not a legal right as far as I’m aware? - so theoretically it could be refused by school. Also think it probably risks creating bad blood with the school as well, which is not beneficial if you want to go back part-time following mat leave.

Think / hope that makes sense.

OP’s posts: |
lineandsinker Mon 08-Jul-19 23:27:04


I agree - and I guess it’s all down to timing/ length of mat leave to really feel benefit. If you’re planning to take less than a year anyway, it’s probably do-able. Similarly, for someone having a late summer holiday baby, you could theoretically curtail mat leave by 4 weeks to benefit from SPL / increased pay over Christmas and Easter holidays and return from mat leave 4 weeks earlier during the summer holidays without really actually losing any time off.

Now we understand it better, we’ve decided it’s more hassle than it’s worth - rather keep the school on side for part-time working than jeopardise it for the sake of an extra 4 weeks full-time pay.

OP’s posts: |
Ohrobin Mon 08-Jul-19 23:38:26

I think I'd agree it's not worth the aggro. I have known teachers use it towards the end of the year and they come back to work 1 week before the end of the year so get paid over summer, plus father takes spl so also getting paid but then meant they got the summer off work together before both returning to work in September.

MrsMiggins37 Tue 09-Jul-19 00:25:01

If you put in one notice to take it all in one block like mat leave they can’t change the dates

If you ask to take it in the 3 blocks they can but I’m rusty on the minutiae!

BarcelonaFreddie Tue 09-Jul-19 23:05:27

They expect the father to be off work on the dates that the mother is classified as 'working' - even if that time is during the summer holidays and you're actually 'off'

We had to submit a timetable to both employers as to who would be on / off and when. We did manage to maximize my teaching maternity pay and have some time off together - but we certainly didn't have two wages coming in simultaneously at any point during the year.

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