Staff guidance on Shared Parental Leave
The College recognises the importance of providing a greater choice for parents in how they arrange parental care. Shared Parental Leave provides eligible parents with the opportunity to choose to share between them the care of their child during the first year following their child’s birth or the placement of a child with them for adoption/following surrogacy.
The College’s Shared Parental Leave Policy is in line with all of the College’s family leave policies and is inclusive. It applies to you as an eligible parent irrespective of your gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, biological sex or if you are transitioning.
The College treats equality of opportunity seriously and has an equality framework to ensure equality of opportunity. Implementation of the Shared Parental Leave policy must be clear and transparent and not subject to any unfair discriminatory practices by line managers or eligibility have any regard to an individual’s sexual orientation.
This guidance has been designed to act as a point of reference. For further details please refer to the full policy which can be downloaded from this page's sidebar.
What is Shared Parental Leave?
If you and your partner meet the eligibility requirements, you can choose to convert part of your (or your partner’s) Maternity/Adoption/Surrogacy Leave and Pay to Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Shared Parental Pay. You and your partner can then share the remaining period of SPL and pay between you, for example taking it in turns to have periods of leave, and/or taking leave at the same time.
Where one parent works for the College, they will be entitled to the leave and pay arrangements provided by the College, while their partner will be entitled to the leave and pay arrangements as set out by their own employer. Where both parents meet the eligibility requirements, and both work for the College, they will be entitled to share the leave and pay arrangements provided by the College.
What do I need to do?
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 eligibilty and pay entitlements [PDF]
- Confirm your Shared Parental Leave eligibilty 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.
- (In all cases) completing a Shared Parental Leave notificationform, 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.
- 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.
- For further details see the Keeping in Touch and Shared Parental Leave in Touch days – Guidance for Managers.
Support for you
- Your HR representative will be able to assist with any questions you have about Shared Parental Leave.
- Information on College support for staff following Shared Parental Leave is available on the HR webpages.
- Details of other initiatives for prospective and new parents can be accessed via the Parenting Network.
Need to know more?
- You can find answers to common questions and further information in the Shared Parental Leave FAQs.