Shared parental leave FAQs
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Who is eligible to take Shared Parental Leave?
All employees of the College are eligible to take advantage of its Shared Parental Leave provisions provided they meet the eligibility criteria stated in the Policy. This includes employees on indefinite, fixed-term, and part-year contracts, but not casual staff, agency workers or contractors.
Can I still take Paternity Leave/Maternity Support Leave as well as Shared Parental Leave?
Yes. If you are eligible, you will still be able to take up to two weeks’ Paternity Leave/Maternity Support Leave in addition to any entitlements you may have under Shared Parental Leave.
If you intend to take both Paternity Leave/Maternity Support Leave and Shared Parental Leave, the period of Paternity/Maternity Support Leave must be taken first, otherwise you will lose this entitlement. Further details are available in the College’s Paternity/Maternity Support Leave Policy.
Can I take Shared Parental Leave even if my partner does not wish to?
Providing they meet the College’s eligibility criteria, a member of staff can take Shared Parental Leave on their own. However, both parents must still meet the eligibility criteria and the “joint test” stated in the policy.
Will my partner be required to make a declaration regardless of whether they also work at the College or for another employer?
Yes: in either situation, your partner will be required to make a declaration confirming that they share responsibility for the care of the child, meet the employment and earnings test and agree to the amount of Shared Parental Leave and pay requested.
Can I take Shared Parental Leave if I am adopting a child?
Yes. Subject to meeting the eligibility requirements, Shared Parental Leave is available to parents who are adopting a child.
Will the amount of Shared Parental Leave I can take increase in the event of a multiple birth?
No: in the event of a multiple birth, there is no increase in leave entitlement.
I am currently employed by the College on a fixed-term contract. Can I take Shared Parental Leave?
Yes. If you and your partner satisfy the eligibility requirements, you can take Shared Parental Leave in the same way as any comparable member of staff who is employed on an open-ended contract.
What happens if my fixed-term contract ends during Shared Parental Leave?
In the event that your fixed-term contract comes to an end during your Shared Parental Leave period, you will continue to receive any enhanced College Shared Parental Pay due to you up until the end of your employment. Where you have pre-booked Shared Parental Leave that falls after the end of your contract but within the Statutory Shared Parental Pay period, you will receive Statutory Shared Parental Pay only for these periods of leave. This would be paid to you in a one-off payment.
If my partner is self-employed, can I still take Shared Parental Leave?
If your partner is self-employed, you may be eligible to take Shared Parental Leave. You and your partner must be able to satisfy the relevant eligibility criteria and the “joint test” stated in the policy.
My partner is not currently employed. Will I still be able to opt into Shared Parental Leave?
You may still be able to take Shared Parental Leave. Please refer to the eligibility criteria and the “joint test” stated in the policy. If your partner does not meet the criteria stated in the “joint test”, they will not be eligible, which will also mean that you are not eligible for Shared Parental Leave.
Can couples who aren’t married take Shared Parental Leave?
You can take Shared Parental Leave with your spouse, civil partner or partner. Partner is defined as someone (of any gender) who lives with you in an enduring family relationship (but who is not your child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew).
Are agency workers entitled to Shared Parental Leave and Pay?
You must be classed as an employee to qualify for Shared Parental Leave and Pay, i.e. you must work under a contract of employment. As an agency worker, you may have a contract of employment with the agency you work for, in which case you may qualify for Shared Parental Leave through the agency.
My partner doesn’t work for the College. Who would be responsible for paying my partner’s Shared Parental Pay?
If you opt into Shared Parental Leave, your partner would be entitled to the Shared Parental Leave arrangements set out by their own employer, and any payments they are entitled to would be paid by their own employer.
You and your partner cannot exceed 37 weeks of paid leave and 50 weeks of leave in total between you both (this can be taken after the birth parent has taken the first two weeks of compulsory maternity leave, or the primary adopter has taken at least two weeks adoption leave after the birth or placement of the child).
Can a birth parent convert their Maternity to Shared Parental Leave and Pay, even if the partner does not take any SPL?
Provided that the eligibility requirements are met by both parents, the birth parent can bring their Maternity Leave and Pay to an end and take Shared Parental Leave and Pay instead. There is no requirement for the partner to take a period of Shared Parental Leave.
A birth parent might choose to do this so that they can take leave in a more flexible way than would be possible if they remained on Maternity Leave. For example, they may wish to take two or three periods of Shared Parental Leave interspersed with periods back at work. However, this must be taken within the 52-week period from the date of birth or placement of the child.
How will the pay and leave structure work for shared parental leave?
If you and your partner both meet the eligibility requirements (including the joint test), then you will be entitled to 50 weeks’ shared parental leave between you both, up to 37 of which will be paid leave (shared between the both of you). You cannot exceed the shared parental leave allowances between you. You and your partner may choose to take shared parental leave at the same time or at different times (as long as the total leave taken does not exceed what is jointly available).
The available amount of paid leave for you to take will depend on the number of weeks of paid leave your partner has already taken or intends to take.
Can my manager refuse to approve my request for Shared Parental Leave?
This will depend on the pattern of leave you have requested on your form, and the Shared Parental Leave Scheme that applies to you.
If you are requesting leave under the College Scheme, and your requested pattern of leave includes up to three start and end dates, no further approval is required, and the College cannot require you to take the leave at a different time. Where your requested pattern of leave includes more than three start and end dates, this will be subject to your manager’s approval.
If you are requesting leave under the Statutory Scheme, and your leave request includes one start and one end date, no further approval will be required. Where your request incudes more than one start and one end date, this will be subject to your manager’s approval.
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. You also have the option of withdrawing your request. If you have neither withdrawn the notice nor agreed new dates within two weeks of the date of submitting your notification, you can either withdraw the request at that point or take the total amount of leave requested in your notification as a continuous period of leave. You can choose a start date for the continuous period of leave that is no less than eight weeks from the date you originally submitted your notification.
Can my manager ask me to change my Shared Parental Leave arrangements once they have been approved?
Where, for example, there are changes in work requirements, or unplanned absences, your manager may ask you if you would be prepared to change your Shared Parental Leave pattern. In such circumstances, there is no obligation on you to agree to such a request. However, in the event that you do agree to change, this would not count as one of your three requests under the Statutory Shared Parental Leave Scheme and would not affect your entitlements under the College Shared Parental Leave Scheme.
Can the College ask me for evidence that I am entitled to Shared Parental Leave?
When the College receives notice from an employee that they intend to take shared parental leave, the HR Staff Hub can request a copy of the MATB1 certificate or the child’s adoption Matching Certificate or the surrogacy Parental Order. If the HR Staff Hub request this, you must provide this within 14 days of the request. Where the request is received before the actual birth, the birth certificate must be provided within 14 days of the birth.
The College will rely on the declaration provided by you and your partner confirming that you both meet the eligibility requirements. If your partner works for another employer, the College will not contact that other employer unless there is good reason to doubt the declarations that have been made. In the event that the College is contacted by your partner’s employer for verification of your employment and earnings history, this information would only be provided with your consent.
Where declarations made in respect of entitlements to Shared Parental Leave and Pay are found to be false, this will be treated as a disciplinary matter.
What evidence will I need to provide if I take SPL as an adopting parent or a parent entering into a surrogacy agreement?
If you are adopting a child and wish to take Shared Parental leave, you will need to provide your manager and the HR Staff Hub with a ‘Matching Certificate’, which you should receive from the adoption agency; or if it is an overseas Adoption, a Certificate of Eligibility from the UK Authority which confirms the suitability to adopt.
If you are having a child via a surrogate arrangement, you also have the right to adoption leave. This will apply if you have either a parental order with your partner or intend to apply for one (and expect it to be granted). This is in addition to also providing the College with a copy of the MATB1 certificate issued to the surrogate.
In addition to supplying the above information (whether you are adopting or expecting a child via a surrogate arrangement), you will still also need to complete Shared Parental Leave Request Form.
Further information can be found in the Adoption/Surrogacy Policy.
Will employees on Shared Parental Leave be able to take Keeping In Touch Days?
Yes, you and your manager can agree up to 20 Shared Parental Leave In Touch Days (“SPLIT” days) during your period(s) of Shared Parental Leave, without bringing your leave to an end. These can be used to undertake work or, for instance, to attend meetings, team events or training.
For further information on SPLIT days, see the Keeping in Touch and Shared Parental Leave in Touch days guidance.
Can I use periods of Shared Parental Leave to reduce my hours over a period (for e.g. to have a part time working pattern alongside SPL)?
No. Shared Parental Leave must be taken in blocks of at least a week (a complete week covering 7 calendar days e.g. Monday to Sunday or Wednesday to the following Tuesday) and it cannot be taken as odd days. However, with the agreement of your manager you can use Shared Parental Leave In Touch (SPLIT) days to carry out work during Shared Parental Leave without bringing your period of Shared Parental Leave to an end.
What happens to my annual leave when I take Shared Parental Leave?
Your entitlement to annual leave will continue to accrue during Shared Parental Leave as you are entitled to continue to benefit from all your contractual terms and conditions (with the exception of remuneration) for the duration of any period of Shared Parental Leave.
In addition to the above, you will also continue to accrue any mandatory College closure days and UK Bank Holidays which fall in the period of Shared Parental Leave you are taking. This should be added onto your annual leave entitlement when you return to work and can be taken at the discretion of your line manager.