How do I apply for Shared Parental Leave?

Any employee considering taking Shared Parental Leave is encouraged to contact their line manager and their HR contact as early as possible to discuss eligibility and options available.

The University has developed forms to complete that meet the eligibility criteria of “notice” (which is the terminology used in the statutory regulations) as set out below. Please ensure you use these forms. If necessary the University may seek additional evidence. The process of applying for leave is set out in the Shared Parental Leave Flowchart.

Mothers/primary adopters employed by the University

If you are the mother/primary adopter and you are employed by the University, are entitled and intending to take Shared Parental Leave and University and or statutory Shared Parental Pay, you must give notice of your Shared Parental Leave as outlined below using form PD48a (giving at least eight weeks’ notice);

  • A maternity/adoption leave and pay curtailment notice to your line manager and HRBP and;
  • A notice of entitlement and intention giving an initial non-binding indication of leave (giving at least 8 weeks’ notice) and;
  • A period of leave notice (PLN -PD48c) giving at least eight weeks’ notice of a binding agreement of the leave to be taken.

Partners employed by the University

If you are the partner and you are employed by the University, are entitled and intending to take Shared Parental Leave and Shared Parental Pay, you must give notice of your Shared Parental Leave as below using form PD48b (giving at least eight weeks’ notice);

  • A notice of entitlement and intention giving an initial non-binding indication of leave, signed by yourself and the mother/primary adopter and;
  • A period of leave notice (PLN - PD48c) giving at least eight weeks’ notice of a binding agreement of the leave to be taken.

Additional evidence

The University may request a copy of the child’s birth certificate and the contact details for the employee’s partner’s employer. In adoption cases, the University may also request contact details for the adoption agency. If requested, these details must be provided within 14 days.

Once a notice for curtailment has been given it is binding except where the limited circumstances for withdrawing are met (see above).

Further information

Shared Parental Leave is designed to offer flexibility for parents caring for children in their first year of life or the first year of placement following an adoption. It must be taken in complete weeks. It can be taken as one continuous block or separate blocks of complete weeks. It does not need to start as soon as a mother/primary adopter curtails their entitlement to maternity/adoption leave. You have the right to submit three notifications specifying leave periods you are intending to take.

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 consecutive weeks).

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 Shared Parental Leave available to you (specified in the notice of entitlement) and you have given the University 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 take two months of Shared Parental Leave, return to work for two months and then have another period of Shared Parental Leave for two months).

Where there is concern over accommodating the notification, you or the University may seek to arrange a meeting or have the discussion via telephone, email or skype (if appropriate) to discuss the notification with a view to agreeing an arrangement that meets both yours and the University’s needs.  This procedure allows for a two week discussion period.

The University 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 fifteen days of making the original request notification, or can take the leave in a single continuous block, in which case you should choose a start date that is at least eight weeks from the date on which you originally notified the University. You must notify the University of your decision (in writing) within five days of the end of the two-week discussion period. If you do not notify the University then the period of leave will begin on the date on which you had requested to start your first period of SHPL as a single continuous block.  A notice that is withdrawn before it is agreed does not count towards the three requests you can make.

All requests must be submitted to your line manager with your HRBP copied in using either Form PD48a or PD48b.

You can amend or cancel an agreed and booked period of Shared Parental Leave provided it is done in writing to your line manager and copied to your HRBP/Advisor at least eight weeks before the start of the leave period. You can

  • Vary the start or end date of any period of leave or cancel the request for leave
  • Request that a continuous period of leave becomes discontinuous
  • Request that a discontinuous period of leave becomes continuous

You must include details of the agreed leave, the changes you are requesting and it must also be agreed and signed by your partner.

This will count as one of the three notifications you are entitled to make, unless it is being done because the child was born early or if the University has requested the change (and the employee has agreed).

HR Services will confirm the change in writing.

If the child is born before their expected due date and you have booked to take SPL within the first eight weeks of the due date, you may take the same period of time off after the actual birth without having to provide eight weeks’ notice, by submitting a notice to vary your leave as soon as is reasonably practicable unlike most other variation notices, this would not count as one of the your three notifications.

Any leave arranged after the first eight weeks of the due date is still bound by the eight-week notice required to vary leave.

If the child is born more than eight weeks before their expected due date and the notice of entitlement to SPL and/or a notice to book SPL have not yet been given, then there is no requirement to give eight weeks’ notice before the period of leave starts. The notices should be given as soon as is reasonably practicable after the actual birth.

In the case of a multiple birth or the adoption of more than one child, the parents are entitled to the same benefits as if they were having one child.

If you have submitted your notice of entitlement and have booked leave you will be able to take the leave. Unfortunately, no further booking of leave can take place and you may only be allowed to submit one variation to either reduce the block or move a discontinuous block to a continuous one.

If you have not submitted your notice of entitlement then you cannot opt into Shared Parental Leave.