Shared Parental Leave
Outlines the University's policy and procedure on Shared Parental Leave - a way for parents to share leave and pay
Shared Parental Leave is a way for parents to share leave and pay. It is intended that this allows partners to play a greater role in raising their child, and helps birth parents and the nominated first carer for Adoption Leave return to work when they want to without losing leave entitlement, and allows them to return to work temporarily for a busy period or an important project. The University is fully supportive of Shared Parental Leave and every effort will be made to accommodate the timing of the request for Shared Parental leave.
The right allows the birth parent and the nominated first carer for Adoption Leave to choose to bring their maternity/adoption leave to an end at any point after the initial two week compulsory maternity/adoption leave period following the birth/matching date of the child. The parents can choose how to split up the remaining weeks of leave between them. Shared Parental Leave can be taken by each parent separately or at the same time. The intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement will also be entitled to take advantage of Shared Parental Leave.
Shared Parental Leave does not replace the current arrangements for maternity/adoption pay and leave and it is separate from the right to Unpaid Parental Leave.
The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 was laid before Parliament in accordance with Section 236(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996(1) and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament; the regulations came into force on 1 December 2014.
SPL: Shared Parental Leave.
ShPP: Statutory Shared Parental Pay.
UoDShPP: University of Dundee Shared Parental Pay.
Continuous leave: a period of leave that is taken in one block e.g. four weeks’ leave.
Discontinuous Leave: a period of leave that is arranged around weeks where the employee will return to work e.g. an arrangement where an employee will work every other week for a period of three months.
SPLIT day: Shared Parental Leave in Touch Day.
Unpaid Parental Leave: separate to SPL, entitles employees to take up to 18 weeks off work to look after a child’s welfare, this leave is normally unpaid.
Match: when an adopter is approved to adopt a named child or children.
Curtail: where an eligible mother or the nominated first carer for Adoption Leave brings their maternity/adoption leave and, if appropriate, pay or allowance entitlement to an end early. This is sometimes referred to as reducing the maternity/adoption leave period or reducing the maternity/adoption pay or Maternity Allowance period.
Length of leave
The maximum amount of leave that can be shared between the parents is 50 weeks.
The leave can be taken separately or at the same time subject to the following requirements (and provided the required notification has been given):
- The minimum period of leave must be one week,
- the leave must be in multiples of complete weeks, and
- the leave may be taken, normally as one continuous period.
- only 3 periods of leave notices in total can be given by each parent including requests to vary a period of leave that has already been arranged.
Timing of leave
The leave can be taken during the 12 months following the birth of the child, but cannot begin earlier than the two weeks following the birth of the child.
To qualify for Shared Parental Leave a birth parent or the nominated first carer for Adoption Leave must:
- have a partner
- be entitled to either maternity/adoption leave or to statutory maternity/adoption pay or maternity allowance
- have curtailed, or given notice to reduce, their maternity/adoption leave, or their payment/allowance (if not eligible for maternity/adoption leave)
A parent intending to take Shared Parental Leave must:
- be an employee
- share the primary responsibility for the child with the other parent at the time of the birth or placement for adoption
- have properly notified their employer of their entitlement and have provided the necessary declarations and evidence
In addition, a parent wanting to take Shared Parental leave, is required to satisfy the ‘continuity of employment test’ and their partner must meet the ‘employment and earnings test’.
Continuity of employment test
The individual has worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks before the end of the 15th week before the child’s expected due date/matching date and is still working for the employer at the start of each leave period.
Employment and earnings test
The individual must have worked for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the baby’s expected due date/matching date and have earned above the maternity allowance threshold of £30 week in 13 of the 66 weeks.
Firstly, a request to curtail Maternity leave must be made by the mother or nominated first carer for Adoption Leave giving at least 8 weeks’ notice. The Applicant should complete the Maternity/Adoption Leave and Pay Curtailment Notice (see downloads at bottom of this page).
A request for Shared Parental Leave must also be made (giving at least 8 weeks’ notice) by completing the Shared Parental Leave - Notice of Entitlement request (see downloads at bottom of this page).
Lastly, the parents must also provide their employer with a written ‘Period of Leave’ notice (see downloads at the bottom of this page), giving the start and end dates of the periods of leave requested. This can be given at the same time as the ‘Notice of Entitlement’ or can be given later. The notice can request one or more periods of leave but only three periods of leave notices in total can be given by each parent (including requests to vary a period of leave that has already been arranged).
The forms should be sent to the Human Resources (for record keeping and payroll purposes).
If an employee requests one period of continuous Shared Parental Leave, the employee is entitled to take the period of leave provided they meet the eligibility criteria.
If discontinuous periods of Shared Parental Leave are requested, agreement must be reached with the employer. The employer may:
- agree, in exceptional circumstances to the periods of leave requested
- propose, in exceptional circumstances alternative dates
- refuse the leave without proposing alternative dates.
The default position is that leave should be taken in a single block commencing on the date specified by the employee but with at least 8 weeks’ notice to the employer.
Every effort will be made to accommodate the timing of the request for Shared Parental leave, and any refusal must be justifiable, for example, by the business needs of the Discipline/Directorate/School.
The employee will maintain their employment rights, including those to continuity of service, while on Shared Parental Leave.
University of Dundee Statutory Shared Parental Pay (UoDShPP)
To qualify for the University of Dundee Shared Parental Leave Pay a parent must have been continuously employed in the University's service for a minimum period of 12 months before the expected week of childbirth (EWC).
It is mandatory that the first two weeks are taken by the birth parent as maternity leave and by the nominated first carer for Adoption Leave but thereafter the birth parent/first carer and co-parent may be eligible for University of Dundee Shared Parental Pay (UoDShPP) at the rate of 6 weeks full pay and 16 weeks half pay.
Where both are employed by the University this entitlement is shared across both parents and not applied individually.
The week’s pay is based on each individual parent’s salary when they are on UoDShPP. UoDShPP must be taken within 24 weeks of the child’s birth or placement. The co-parent can still take 2 weeks paid Paternity/Partner Support Leave while the first parent is on Maternity/Adoption leave before they move to UDShPP.
Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)
To qualify for Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) a parent must have been continuously employed in the University’s service for a minimum period of 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC)/matching date. Eligible employees may be entitled to take up to 37 weeks Statutory Shared Parental Pay while taking Shared Parental Leave.
The amount of weeks available will depend on the amount by which the birth parent/adopter reduces their maternity/adoption pay period or maternity allowance period. If the maximum amount of Shared Parental Leave available (50 weeks) is taken, 13 weeks will be unpaid.
Statutory Shared Parental Pay is paid at the statutory rate or 90% of the average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Statutory Shared Parental Pay increases on an annual basis on 5 April.
If the birth parent or nominated first carer for Adoption Leave curtails their entitlement to maternity/adoption pay or maternity allowance before they have used their full entitlement then Shared parental pay can be claimed for any remaining weeks.
Frequently asked questions
Can a partner take Shared Parental Leave if a birth parent or nominated first carer for Adoption Leave is still on maternity or adoption leave?
A partner can take SPL at the same time as the birth parent or nominated first carer for Adoption Leave is on maternity or adoption leave, provided that the birth parent or nominated first carer for Adoption Leave has given notice to curtail their maternity or adoption leave.
What happens if both the birth parent or nominated first carer for Adoption Leave and the partner work for the University and want to take a period of SPL?
Both employees will be entitled to take SPL provided that they meet the general eligibility and notice requirement.