Shared Parental Leave enables eligible parents to choose how to share the care of their child during the first year of birth or adoption. All eligible employees have a statutory right to take Shared Parental Leave. There may also be an entitlement to some Shared Parental Pay. This policy sets out the statutory rights and responsibilities of employees who wish to take statutory Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP).


SPL can be used by two people:

Both parents must share the main responsibility for the care of the child at the time of the birth/placement for adoption.

Additionally, if you are seeking to take SPL you must satisfy each of the following criteria:

The Shared Parental Leave entitlement

If eligible, you may be entitled to take up to 50 weeks SPL during your child’s first year in your family. If the mother/adopter reduces their maternity/adoption leave entitlement, then they and/or their partner may opt-in to the SPL system and take any remaining weeks as SPL.

SPL can commence as follows:

Where a mother/adopter gives notice to curtail their maternity/adoption entitlement then the mother/adopter’s partner can take leave while the mother/adopter is still using their maternity/adoption entitlements.

SPL must end no later than one year after the birth/placement of the child. Any SPL not taken by the first birthday or first anniversary of placement for adoption is lost.

Notifying us

If you are entitled and intending to take SPL, you must give your line manager notification of your entitlement and intention to take SPL, at least eight weeks before you can take any period of SPL.

Part of the eligibility criteria requires you to provide us with correct notification. Notification must be in writing and requires each of the following:

You must provide us with a signed declaration stating:

You must provide us with a signed declaration from your partner confirming:

We may, within 14 days of the SPL entitlement notification being given, request:

In order to be entitled to SPL, you must produce this information within 14 days of our request.

Booking Shared Parental Leave

In addition to notifying us of entitlement to SPL/ShPP, you must also give notice to take the leave. In many cases, notice to take leave will be given at the same time as the notice of entitlement to SPL.

You have the right to submit three notifications specifying leave periods you are intending to take. Each notification may contain either (a) a single period of weeks of continuous leave; or (b) two or more periods of weeks of discontinuous leave, where you intend to return to work between periods of leave.

SPL can only be taken in complete weeks but may begin on any day of the week. For example, if a week of SPL began on a Tuesday it would finish on a Monday.

You must book SPL by giving the correct notification at least eight weeks before the date on which you wish to start the leave and (if applicable) receive ShPP.

Continuous leave notifications

A notification can be for a period of continuous leave, which means a notification of a number of weeks taken in a single unbroken period of leave (for example, six weeks in a row).

You have the right to take a continuous block of leave notified in a single notification, so long as it does not exceed the total number of weeks of SPL available to you (specified in the notice of entitlement) and we have been given at least eight weeks’ notice.

You may submit up to three separate notifications for continuous periods of leave.

Discontinuous leave notifications

A single notification may also contain a request for two or more periods of discontinuous leave, which means asking for a set number of weeks of leave over a period of time, with breaks between the leave where you return to work (for example, an arrangement where you will take six weeks of SPL and work every other week for a period of three months).

Where there is concern over accommodating the notification, either you or us may seek to arrange a meeting to discuss the notification with a view to agreeing an arrangement that meets both your needs and the needs of the organisation.

The organisation will consider a discontinuous leave notification but has the right to refuse it. If the leave pattern is refused, you can either withdraw it within 15 days of giving it, or can take the leave in a single continuous block.

Responding to a Shared Parental Leave notification

Once the line manager receives the leave booking notice, it will be dealt with as soon as possible, but a response will be provided no later than the 14th day after the leave request was made. All notices for continuous leave will be confirmed in writing.

It may be helpful to arrange a meeting to discuss the leave proposed and what will happen while you are away from work. Where there is a request for continuous leave or where we can accommodate a request for discontinuous leave without any difficulty, a meeting may not be necessary. Where the application is for discontinuous leave, the discussion at the meeting may focus on how the leave proposal could be agreed, whether a modified arrangement would be agreeable to you and the organisation, and what the outcome may be if no agreement is reached.

All requests for discontinuous leave will be carefully considered, weighing up the potential benefits to you and to the organisation against any adverse impact to the organisation. Each request for discontinuous leave will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Agreeing to one request will not set a precedent or create the right for another employee to be granted a similar pattern of SPL. The request may be granted in full or in part: for example, the organisation may propose a modified version of the request.

If a discontinuous leave pattern is refused, then you may withdraw the request without detriment on or before the 15th day after the notification was given; or may take the total number of weeks in the notice in a single continuous block. If you choose to take the leave in a single continuous block, you have until the 19th day from the date the original notification was given to choose when you want the leave period to begin. The leave cannot start sooner than eight weeks from the date the original notification was submitted. If you do not choose a start date, then the leave will begin on the first leave date requested in the original notification.

Variations to arranged Shared Parental Leave

You are permitted to vary or cancel an agreed and booked period of SPL, provided that you advise us in writing at least eight weeks before the date of any variation. Any new start date cannot be sooner than eight weeks from the date of the variation request.

Any variation or cancellation notification you make, including notice to return to work early, will usually count as a new notification reducing your right to book/vary leave by one. However, a change as a result of a child being born early, or as a result of us requesting leave be changed, and you being agreeable to the change, will not count as further notification. Any variation will be confirmed by us in writing.

Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)

Eligible employees may be entitled to up to 37 weeks statutory shared parental pay while taking SPL. The amount of weeks available for the parents to take between them will depend on the amount by which the mother/adopter reduces their maternity/adoption pay period or maternity allowance period.

ShPP may be payable during some or all of SPL, depending on the length and timing of the leave.

In addition to meeting the eligibility requirements for SPL, where you are seeking to claim ShPP, you must further satisfy each of the following criteria:

Where you are entitled to receive ShPP, you must, at least eight weeks before receiving any ShPP, give your line manager written notice advising of your entitlement to ShPP. To avoid duplication, if possible, this should be included as part of the notice of entitlement to take SPL.

In addition to what must be included in the notice of entitlement to take SPL, any notice that advises of an entitlement for ShPP must include:

It must be accompanied by a signed declaration from your partner confirming:

Any ShPP due will be paid at a rate set by the Government at the relevant time.

Terms and conditions during Shared Parental Leave

During the period of SPL, your contract of employment continues in force and you are entitled to receive all your contractual benefits, except for salary. In particular, any benefits in kind will continue and annual leave entitlement will continue to accrue.

Pension contributions will continue to be made during any period when you are receiving ShPP but not during any period of unpaid SPL. Employer contributions will be based on your normal salary, in accordance with the pension scheme rules. Employee contributions you make will be based on the amount of ShPP pay you are receiving.


While you are on Shared Parental Leave, your holiday entitlement continues to accrue. We reserve the right to require you to take blocks of annual leave either immediately before or immediately after periods of Shared Parental Leave to minimise disruption.

Shared Parental Leave in Touch days

You can agree to work for us (or attend training) for up to 20 days during SPL without bringing your period of SPL to an end or impacting on your right to claim ShPP for that week. These are known as “Shared Parental Leave In Touch” or “SPLIT” days.

We have no right to require you to carry out any work, and we are under no obligation to offer you any work, during your SPL. Any work undertaken is a matter for agreement between yourself and us. If you take a SPLIT day you will receive full pay for any day worked. If a SPLIT day occurs during a week when you are receiving ShPP, this will be effectively ‘topped up’ so that you receive full pay for the day in question. Any SPLIT days worked do not extend the period of SPL.

Returning to work after Shared Parental Leave

You will have been formally advised in writing by us of the end date of any period of SPL. You are expected to return on the next working day after this date, unless they notify your line manager otherwise. If you are unable to attend work due to sickness or injury, our normal arrangements for sickness absence will apply. In any other case, late return without prior authorisation will be treated as unauthorised absence and dealt with in accordance with our disciplinary policy.

If you wish to return to work earlier than the expected return date, you may provide a written notice to vary the leave and must give us at least eight weeks’ notice of your date of early return. This will count as one of your notifications. If you have already used your three notifications to book and/or vary leave then we do not have to accept the notice to return early but may do if it is considered to be reasonably practicable to do so.

On returning to work after SPL, you are entitled to return to the same job if your aggregate total statutory maternity/paternity/adoption leave and SPL amounts to 26 weeks or less. The same job is the one you occupied immediately before commencing maternity/paternity/adoption leave and the most recent period of SPL, on the same terms and conditions of employment as if you had not been absent.

If your maternity/paternity/adoption leave and SPL amounts to 26 weeks or more in aggregate, you are entitled to return to the same job you held before commencing the last period of leave or, if this is not reasonably practicable, to another job which is both suitable and appropriate and on terms and conditions no less favourable.