Frequently Asked Questions


When does shared parental leave come in?
Regulations came into force on 1 December 2014, applying to eligible parents of babies due or, children placed for adoption, on or after 5th April 2015.
What is "Shared Parental Leave" ("SPL")?
Shared Parental Leave is part of a suite of legislation intended to provide both parents with the opportunity to consider the best arrangements to care for their child during the child's first year and incorporates Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) arrangements.
Who will it be available for?
Subject to eligibility, the right to SPL applies to employees who become parents (the child's mother and father, or spouse or partner of the child's mother (if not the father), including partner or same sex partner), who have the main responsibility for the care of the child with the other parent/partner.
How do employees qualify for SPL? 
You must have worked for the same employer for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child is due (or at the week in which the carer was notified of having been matched with a child for adoption) and be still employed in the first week that SPL is to be taken. The other parent must have worked for 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the due date and have earned above the current maternity leave threshold in 13 of the 66 weeks.
How will shared parental leave operate?
  • Up to 50 weeks' leave and 37 weeks' pay can be shared between parents if the mother brings her maternity leave and pay to an end early.
  • SPL can be taken by one parent or taken together.
  • The mother can take SPL after she has taken the legally required two weeks of maternity leave immediately following the birth of the child. The adopter can take SPL after taking at least two weeks of adoption leave.
  • The father/partner/spouse can take SPL immediately following the birth/placement of the child, but may first choose to exhaust any paternity leave entitlements (as the father/partner cannot take paternity leave or pay once they have taken any SPL or ShPP).


Impact on Paternity/Maternity/Adoption/Parental Leave:

Can both parents take shared parental leave at the same time?
Yes, parents can choose to take this together or individually as long as the collective leave is 50 weeks or less. 
What is the difference between shared parental leave and additional paternity leave? 
Additional paternity leave will no longer be available for babies born on or after 5th April 2015. The two weeks statutory/ordinary paternity leave will still remain and after this SPL would be applied.
Can employees still take statutory paternity leave once SPL is in force?
Paternity leave will continue to be available for fathers and partners. This will be a period of one or two weeks which must be used in a single block of leave and taken within 56 days of the birth. If the child is born early, paternity leave can be taken within the period from the actual date of birth up to 56 days after the expected date of birth.
Are there any changes to the regime for 18 weeks' unpaid parental leave as a result of the introduction of shared parental leave? 
Unpaid parental leave will remain, the only change is that the upper age limit will rise from 5 to 18 from April 2015.
When will the mother of a child be eligible to take SPL? 
The mother can opt to take SPL after the mandatory 2 weeks maternity leave.
How soon can SPL start?
Provided the mother or adopter has given advance notice reducing their maternity or adoption entitlements their partner can start to take SPL.
What about maternity leave entitlement? 
Maternity entitlement will remain unaffected by the introduction of SPL; the mother can choose to curtail her maternity leave or to take SPL if she chooses to do so.
Can I continue with my maternity leave whilst my partner is on SPL?
Your partner can take SPL whilst you remain on maternity leave; the combined leave will be calculated meaning your maternity leave will shorten as a result of your partner taking SPL.
How do I stop my maternity leave and start SPL?
A curtailment notice must be provided at least eight weeks before the intended date of the maternity leave stopping.
When can I curtail my maternity leave?
Maternity Leave can end 2 weeks after the birth, however, notice to curtail maternity leave can be provided before the birth along with the notice of entitlement to take SPL and request to take parental leave documents.
What happens if a woman changes her mind and wants to stay on maternity leave?

Once a mother has returned to work, she cannot restart her maternity leave. A mother can only change her decision to end her maternity leave after a curtailment notice has been given in very limited circumstances.

A mother can revoke (cancel) her maternity curtailment notice only where:

  • The notice was given before the birth - she is only entitled to revoke the notice in the 6 weeks immediately following the birth;
  • The other parent dies;
  • It subsequently transpires that neither of the parents were entitled to SPL or ShPP.
Does this apply to adoption leave?
Yes, SPL will be available to adopters and their partners. There are a number of changes to the adoption policy effective 5th April 2015 which are contained in the Adoption Policy.
Is there any difference to SPL for multiple births?
The entitlement does not change for multiple births.
What other family friendly policies are there?
The University has a number of family friendly policies, which can be found by clicking here
What about flexible working?
The flexible working policy is still applicable.


Eligibility for Shared Parental Leave:

What is the eligbility criteria?

Must have worked for the same employer for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child is due (or at the week in which an adopter was notified of having been matched with the child for adoption) and be still employed in the first week that SPL is taken.

The other parent must have worked for 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the due date and have earned above the current maternity leave threshold in 13 of the 66 weeks.

The partner could be self employed or no longer employed provided the earnings threshold is met and/or continuous service of 26 weeks was met before the end of employment.

As a non-employee, they would not be able to take the SPL themselves but the eligible partner would then be able to take the leave, for example, a mother may prefer to opt for SPL rather than maternity leave because of being able to use the leave more flexibly.

When can the father of a child, or the partner of a child's mother take SPL?

The father/partner can begin to take their shared parental leave 2 weeks after the birth, provided the following has been submitted eight weeks in advance;

  • The notification of intent form
  • Formal request for SPL has been submitted
  • The request has been approved and the mother has signed a declaration form confirming they have either returned to work or have curtailed their maternity leave
  • The father is eligible for SPL and their request has been approved.


Procedure for Applying:

What does the University need to be told?
Employees need to provide at least 8 weeks' notice, by giving your line manager a 'notice of entitlement' from which details information about your partner, leave periods intended etc., this must be accompanied by your partner's signed declaration form.
Are there any circumstances where the 8 week role wouldn't be enforced?
In exceptional circumstances employees may negotiate with their manager on returning early from SPL, this would need to be approved by the School/Departmental manager in consultation within the HR Department.
What notices need to be given by the employee? 
  • Notice of Entitlement
  • Curtailment of maternity leave (where appropriate)
  • Partner's declaration
  • Request for SPL
Can different periods of leave be taken?
You can request continuous leave, which must be approved or discountinous leave, which must be considered. You can give up to three separate notices in relation to SPL. 
Can the SPL period be changed?
All SPL must be taken in the child's first year, or the first year of adoption.
Can the request be refused?
Requests for discontinuous leave can be declined. You then have the option to withdraw your notification on or before the 15th day after you made the notification and it won't count as one of your three notifications. If you don't then you will need to take the total amount of leave requested in one continuous block. You can choose when that period will begin within 19 days of the notification being submitted to the university so long as it doesn't start before the start date set out in the notification. If you don't choose a different date then the leave will start on the date you included in the notification form.
How many blocks of leave can be taken?
There is no limit on the blocks within the 50 weeks available SPL, however discontinuous block requests can be declined. You can make 3 separate requests for SPL.
Can an employee change their mind?

Yes, you can request to vary or cancel Shared Parental Leave, giving eight weeks' notice, which will count as one of your three requests.

You can revoke your maternity leave curtailment notice if you have provided this before the baby is born and revoke the notice in writing in the six weeks after his/her birth. 

Will the University always get 8 weeks' notice before an employee takes SPL? 

In majority of cases it will. However, this may not be observed in the following circumstances;

  • In the case of the father/partner, where the mother dies
  • In the case of the mother, where the father/partner dies
  • Where the baby is born more than 8 weeks early
What information do we need from employee's partners?
  • Name of partner
  • National insurace number
  • Address
  • Name of Child
  • Signed declaration they have responsibility for caring for the child
  • Signed declaration they satisfy the eligibility criteria
  • Signed consent to the employee taking Shared Parental Leave
  • (for mother's signed declaration that they are entitled to Statutory Maternity entitlements and that maternity leave has or will be curtailed or they have returned to work)


What is the difference between continuous and discontinuous leave?
You can apply for one period of continuous leave i.e. four weeks or; you can apply for one period of discontinuous leave i.e. in blocks of one week SPL in June, one week SPL in July, two weeks SPL in August.
Where can employees seek more advice?
You can talk to your line manager about your circumstances or by contacting HR who will be able to advise you on your individual circumstances and options.
Who will confirm entitlements, pay and schedules?
HR will confirm your entitlements, pay and schedule.
What is a binding and non-binding notification?
Binding (a decision that cannot normally be changed) notifications are the Curtailment notices and the request for SPL. Your non-binding notifications are the intention to take SPL notification.
What happens if a pattern of leave was approved before a baby's birth and my baby arrives earlier than expected? 
You should notify your manager as soon as possible with a revised date which will then be confirmed to you by the HR Department.


What about Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)?

What pay entitlements are there for SPL? 
There are two types of ShPP - Statutory and enhanced.
How do I know what I will be eligible for?

To qualify for Statutory ShPP as well as having the appropriate continuity of service you must have earned an average salary of the lower earnings limit or more for the 8 weeks prior to the 15th week before the child's due date or placement.

To qualify for Enhanced you must meet the criteria for statutory ShPP and meet a number of other conditions outlined in the SPL policy.

Are there any other conditions associated with enhanced pay?
Yes, you will need to take your SPL in one block of leave to get your enhanced pay.


Contact during SPL:

Can employees on shared parental leave take keeping-in-touch days?

Yes they are called Shared Parental Leave in Touch days (SPLiTs) and each parent can take up to 20 SPLiT days.

Can the employee work during SPL?
Yes, either through separate blocks of SPL where there is a return to work period in between the SPL, or for continuous SPL, take agreed SPLiT days. 
How do these work with KiT days?
KiT days are associated with maternity leave and are unaffected by SPL.


Employment Rights during SPL:

Does an employee made redundant while on SPL have any special rights?
If a redundancy situation arises while an employee is on SPL, they, like a mother on maternity leave, must be offered suitable alternatives if available, including having access to the redeployment register.
Can an employee take sickness absence while on shared parental leave?
If an employee cannot return to work at the end of SPL because of illness, they should follow the normal sickness notification procedures, it shall be dealt with under the University's Sick Pay Scheme and will count against the normal entitlement to paid sick leave.
Is an employee entitled to statutory shared parental pay if they are claiming sick pay?
Where an employee who is claiming statutory shared parental pay for a week does not have the intention at the beginning of that week to care for the child (for example because that person is too sick) then statuory shared parental pay will not be payable for that week. Statutory shared parental pay will also not be payable in any week where the employee became entitled to statutory sick pay for any part of that week. If they have already received statutory shared parental pay in respect of a week where they are also claiming statutory sick pay, the employer may be able to recover the overpayment from the employee as an overpayment of wages.


What happens after Shared Parental leave has finished?

What will happen to my annual leave during SPL?

You will accrue annual leave during your shared parental leave at the contractual rate, in addition to Bank Holidays and University closure days (pro-rata for part-time staff).

 If your SPL period is likely to cross two annual leave years and it is impractical to take all the leave in the year in which it was accrued (in line with the Annual Leave Policy) you may carry over the accrued annual leave, but must use these days within three months following your return to work, except where an alternative timescale is agreed with your manager due to operational requirements.

Can I come back from SPL part-time? 
Flexible working requests can be made and should be approached in line with the flexible working policy.


Last edited May 14, 2022