I live in the UK and my company offers enhanced shared parental leave for which I get full pay for 8 weeks. My plan was to take the paid leave after my wife has taken 6 months of maternity leave. However, my company said that I can only take my shared parental leave from the time the baby is born, which effectively means at the same time as my wife (as she would need to be with the baby initially).

Is this a common rule? I was told that it's got to do with sex discrimination but still doesn't make sense to me..

  • 3
    @Killsi, To bond and spend time with their child. Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 10:55

2 Answers 2


While such a condition doesn't apply in the case of Statutory Shared Parental Leave/Pay this isn't what your employer's "enhanced" scheme is offering, therefore they can apply that condition to it.

That said I do wonder if they have misunderstood things slightly - one of the conditions for a mother's partner taking Shared Parental Leave is that they can't start it before the baby is born (unlike Maternity Leave which can start earlier), in fact if I recall correctly you can't actually start SPL until the mother's maternity pay/leave ends anyway!

What they can't do is stop you taking the aforementioned Statutory Parental Leave instead - assuming you meet the criteria and give the appropriate notice(s) and information. However this is not at full pay but rather at the statutory rate £151.20 a week or 90% of your average weekly pay (whichever is lower)


When I've had parental leave it was full pay for the first two weeks and that was it but often you could split in that you could take 1 week when baby was born and 1 week later but within a year. That's better than statuary but not by much.

Here's some more detail for you.

I have been told this period is really only for you to help your partner get back on her feet i.e. to help out in the first few weeks with getting back to normal. Honestly 2 weeks / 8 weeks that's not really enough time as you'll never get "back to normal" with a baby there are many sleepless night ahead I foresee ;).

With our second child I went back after a week and handed in my noticed as I had been given a job offer in between and the company said that technically since I was quitting I was only entitle to Statuary Paternal leave. They ended up paying me for the week I staid though so I'm not sure why they even mentioned that.

Congratulations, having children is the best thing I've ever done in life period.

  • Thank you! The gov.uk website only talks about Statuatory Shared Parental Leave, which lets you take paid leave pretty much at any time within the first year of the baby. My question was more around company-specific enhanced Shared Leave Pay, which from @motosubatsu answer seems to have arbitrary T&C that can be set by the company..
    – maupertius
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 13:44
  • @maupertius Yes to be honest fathers get very little support so anything over the Statuatory arrangements is unusual on any contract I've ever seen.
    – Dave3of5
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 8:20

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