Policy

This guidance has been designed to act as a point of reference. For further details please refer to the full shared parental leave policy.

Shared Parental Leave Policy [pdf]

Shared parental leave provides the opportunity for parents to share the care of their child between the two parents during the year following the birth or placement of their child. 

Parents can convert part of their other family leave and pay to shared parental leave, sharing the remaining period of leave between them. Family leave types that can be converted include:

Who can take shared parental leave?

Shared parental leave is for staff who are:

  • the birth parent
  • the primary adopter
  • the spouse, civil partner or partner of the birth parent / primary adopter
  • Shared parental leave will not normally apply to casual workers or agency workers.

Both parents work at the College: If you both meet the eligibility requirements, you are both eligible for the leave and pay entitlements set out by the College. 

One parent works at the College: If the parent who works at the College meets the full eligibility requirements, you are eligible for the leave and pay entitlements set out by the College. Your partner will be eligible for the entitlements set out by their own employer.

Staff guidance

Before giving notice of your intention to take Shared Parental Leave

  • Check if you and your partner are ‌eligible to take Shared Parental Leave - see Shared Parental Leave eligibility and pay entitlements [PDF]
  • Confirm your Shared Parental Leave eligibility and pay entitlements [PDF] should you choose to apply for Shared Parental Leave.
  • Think about how you and your partner want to share your leave and pay:
    • In the case of maternity or adoption/surrogacy the birth parent must take the compulsory 2 weeks’ Maternity or Adoption/Surrogacy Leave immediately following the birth or adoption. 
    • Where you are eligible for Paternity/Maternity Support Leave, this must be taken before you commence Shared Parental Leave.
    • You and your partner can convert up to 50 weeks’ Maternity or Adoption/Surrogacy Leave and 37 weeks’ Maternity or Adoption/Surrogacy Pay (or a part of this leave and pay) to Shared Parental Leave and Shared Parental Pay.
    • You can take Shared Parental Leave in multiples of a week.
    • You and your partner can take Shared Parental Leave at the same time, or at different times, or all the Shared Parental Leave and Pay can be taken by one parent. 
    • All Shared Parental Leave must be taken by your child’s first birthday, or before the first anniversary of the placement of the child with you for adoption/following surrogacy.
    • See the Shared Parental Leave pattern examples‌ for illustrations of how Shared Parental Leave can potentially operate.

Discuss your plans with your manager as early as possible

  • Such discussions (particularly if you and your partner are having conversations with separate employers) will help you understand what options are available, and what considerations your manager(s) may have in mind.

Give notice of your intention to take Shared Parental Leave by

  • (Where you are the birth parent or primary adopter) bringing your Maternity/Adoption/Surrogacy Leave and Pay to an end. You can do this by:
    • Providing written confirmation to your manager and HR contact that you wish to end your Maternity Leave and Pay/Adoption/Surrogacy Leave and Pay at least eight weeks before you wish to start Shared Parental Leave (this can be by e-mail or letter); or
    • By returning to work.

AND

  • (In all cases) completing a Shared Parental Leave notification form, confirming that you and your partner, meet the eligibility requirements, at least eight weeks before you wish to start Shared Parental Leave, and send this to your manager and HR representative.
    • If you and your partner both work for the College, you will both need to complete a form.  

Make requests for Shared Parental Leave by

  • Completing a Shared Parental Leave notification form with the details of the leave you wish to take and send this to your manager and HR representative at least eight weeks before you wish to start your period of leave. You can complete your Notification Form at the same time as your Notice of Entitlement Form, or at a later date.
  • For details of how leave patterns can potentially operate, see our Shared Parental Leave pattern examples‌.

Remember:

  • If you are requesting leave under the “College Scheme”, the pattern of leave you wish to take over the full Shared Parental Leave period must be agreed with your manager before you start your leave.
    • Where your requested pattern includes up to three start and end dates, no further approval will be required.  Where your requested pattern includes more than three start and end dates, your manager will need to approve your request.
  • If you are requesting leave under the “Statutory Scheme”, you can submit up to three requests for leave during your Shared Parental Leave period.
    • Where your request under the statutory scheme includes one start and one end date, no further approval will be required.  Where your request includes more than one start and one end date, your manager will need to approve your request.
  • If your manager is not able to agree your leave request, they will discuss the reasons with you, and will explore alternative patterns of leave with you before confirming their decision.
  • In the event that your requested pattern is not approved, you will be given details of options available, and can discuss these with your manager / HR representative. 

Taking your Shared Parental Leave

  • Before you go on leave, you should discuss with your line manager arrangements for staying in touch, e.g. updates on what’s happening at work and promotion opportunities.
  • With your manager’s agreement, you may also attend work or training for up to 20 days during your Shared Parental Leave. 

Support for you

  • Your HR representative will be able to assist with any questions you have about Shared Parental Leave.
  • Details of other initiatives for prospective and new parents can be accessed via the Parenting Network.
  • You can find answers to common questions and further information in the Shared Parental Leave FAQs.

 

Managers guidance

Discuss your member of staff’s leave plans with them as early as possible

  • You should arrange an informal meeting with your member of staff when they submit their “Shared Parental Leave Notice of Entitlement Form”, or earlier if they have indicated that they are planning to opt in to Shared Parental Leave.
  • Such discussions will help you to understand at an early stage the leave plans your member of staff is considering, and provide an opportunity to explore with them how their plans might be accommodated.   

Providing formal notice of intention to take Shared Parental Leave

 Your staff member will need to:

  • (Where they are the birth parent or primary adopter) bring their Maternity/Adoption Leave and Pay to an end. They can do this by:
    • Sending you and your HR contact written confirmation that they wish to end their Maternity/Adoption Leave and Pay at least eight weeks before they wish to start Shared Parental Leave (this can be by e-mail or letter); or
    • By returning to work.

AND

  • (In all cases) complete a Shared Parental Leave notification‌, to confirm that they and their partner meet the eligibility requirements, and send this to you, and their HR contact at least eight weeks before they wish to start Shared Parental Leave.

 What you need to do:

  • Arrange to meet with your staff member informally to discuss their leave plans. 

 Your HR contact will:

  • Be available to you, and your staff member, if you have any questions about entitlements to Shared Parental Leave.
  • Following receipt of the Notice of Entitlement, check the information provided by your staff member, and provide written confirmation of their entitlements. 

 

 

Submitting requests for Shared Parental Leave

Your staff member will need to:

  • Complete a Shared Parental Leave notification form with the details of the leave they wish to take and send this to you and your HR representative at least eight weeks before they wish to start their period of leave.

 What you need to do:

  • Where your staff member requests leave under the “College Scheme”they must confirm their leave pattern for the full period of Shared Parental Leave with you (and in some circumstances must obtain your approval) before they start taking Shared Parental Leave.
    • Where the requested pattern includes up to three start and end dates, no further approval will be required.  You will just need to sign the form and forward it to your HR representative. 
    • Where the requested pattern includes more than three start and end dates, you will need to consider whether you can agree to their request.
  • Where your staff member requests leave under the “Statutory Scheme”, they can submit up to three requests for leave over the course of their Shared Parental Leave period. 
    • Similar to the College Scheme above, whether your agreement is required will depend on requested pattern of leave (i.e. up to three start and end dates, or more than three start and end dates).   
  • Where your agreement is required:
    • If you are able to accommodate the request, sign the Notification Form, and send it to your HR representative.
    • If you are not able to accommodate the request, there are a number of options, including exploring alternatives with your staff member.  You can speak to your HR representative if you need advice and guidance in this situation. 

Your HR contact will:

  • Be available to provide policy advice and support.
  • Will write to the staff member to confirm their leave arrangements, or the next steps if their requested pattern is not approved.

Taking Shared Parental Leave

You will need to:

  • (Before your staff member starts Shared Parental Leave) discuss with them arrangements for staying in touch (for example the best way to make contact, and how often), and the types of things they want to be kept up to date about.
  • With your agreement, your staff member may also attend work or training for up to 20 days during their Shared Parental Leave. 

 

What support is available to me?

1. Support for you:

  • Your HR representative will be available to provide advice, and will assist you with administration related to Shared Parental Leave.

 Support for your staff member:

  • Your HR representative will assist with any queries relating to Shared Parental Leave.
  • Information on College support for staff following Shared Parental Leave is available on the HR webpages.

Need to know more?