What can employees request?
Eligible employees can request SPL for up to 50 weeks, this time can be taken in one continuous block or discontinuous blocks. Employees have the right to submit up to three separate notifications specifying leave periods.
Employees can request a period of continuous leave, which means a number of weeks taken in a single unbroken period of leave (for example, six consecutive weeks).
- The University must agree to a continuous block of leave (as per maternity/adoption leave) notified in a single notification, so long as it does not exceed the total number of weeks of SPL available to them and they have given the University at least eight weeks’ notice.
- Employees can submit up to three separate notifications.
A request can also be 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 the employee returns to work (for example, an arrangement where they take two months of SPL, return to work for two months and then have another period of SPL for two months).
- The University will consider these requests but they do not have to agree to them. Please ensure that you follow the Shared Parental Leave Flowchart.
- Where there is concern over accommodating the notification, you should arrange a meeting to discuss the notification with a view to agreeing an arrangement that meets both University’s and the employee’s needs. This does not have to be a physical meeting, but can be a telephone, email or skype (if appropriate). You know your employees and what can be accommodated and it is your decision as to whether this is appropriate. This procedure allows for a two week discussion period.
- If the leave pattern is refused,
- an employee 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 they should choose a start date that is at least eight weeks from the date on which they originally notified the University.
- They must notify the University of their decision (in writing) within five days of the end of the two-week discussion period. If they do not notify the University then the period of leave will begin on the date on which they had requested to start their first period of SPL as a single continuous block. A notice that is withdrawn before it is agreed does not count towards the three requests they can make. Employees can submit up to three separate notifications.
- All requests must be submitted to you as their line manager and copied to your HRBP/HR Advisor using either Form PD48a or PD48b.
Discuss the request
We have encouraged employees to begin discussions early, especially if they are considering requesting a discontinuous period of leave.
Employee submits a Shared Parental Leave request form
Once the employee has submitted the notice of curtailment/entitlement (PD48a/b) and the booking form (PD48c) you can begin to have formal conversations. Please ensure you follow the Shared Parental Leave Flowchart including any relevant dates.
If the request is for continuous leave this must be agreed and therefore a meeting may not be necessary.
Meeting to discuss the request
Why: The purpose of the meeting is to provide both parties with the opportunity to discuss the requested working arrangements in depth and consider how feasible they are. This could include discussions around alternative arrangements that might meet the needs of both parties. A meeting should only be necessary where there is a discontinuous leave request as continuous leave requests must be agreed.
Who: The meeting should be arranged by the line manager. Attendees should include: the employee making the request, the line manager, and where possible, the relevant HR Services contact.
When: The meeting should take place within the 14 days (the discussion period) of the date of the formal request at a time and date that should be convenient for all parties. If you are unable to arrange a meeting in this time, you should agree the delay with the employee.
Where: The meeting may be face to face or if all parties are happy, it can take place over the telephone, email or another way such as Lync or Skype (if appropriate).
Consider the request (discontinuous)
When looking at a discontinuous leave request, you should consider the following things:
- Important events/dates planned
- Challenging or busy periods
- How will the role be covered
- Staffing issues during the period requested
- Customer impact
It is also important to consider if you turned down a request, does the employee still have enough notifications to take the SPL as they initially wanted to? For example if the employee requested a period of 3 months on SPL, back to work for one month, on SPL for another month, back for a month and then off for a final month, they could do this by submitting three separate leave notifications of single continuous leave by giving you 8 weeks’ notice each time. Therefore if the request can be taken in this manner anyway, it is arguably better to agree up front, if it includes all the leave an employee can take. However, if an employee requested every other week on and off SPL and this could not be accommodated then it should be refused as the employee would not be able to submit this working pattern as it would be more than three requests.
Practical implications for the role: consider the effect of the request if approved on workloads. Does the role need to be covered in some way during the Shared Parental Leave? If you wish to recruit a SPL fixed term cover post please discuss this with your HRBP/ HR advisor.
Practical implications for the team: consider the impact of the requested arrangement on other members of the team.
Financial implications: consider if there are any costs associated with the requested arrangements and whether there are ways that these costs can be minimised.
Grant implications: Grant implications must be discussed with the relevant Research Accounting team.
- Externally funded post – the terms and conditions of the funding agreement should be checked. For example, what are the regulations relating to this grant? Is it possible to cover the work?
Visa implications: you must discuss the visa implications of the requested arrangements with your HR Business Partner. The International Employment Officer is also available for advice.
Making a decision
As highlighted in the Considering a request tab, if the request is continuous, it must be agreed. However, if the request is for discontinuous you need to take account of all the issues discussed in the previous tabs. You need to ensure that you follow the timescales in the Shared Parental Leave Flowchart
Confirming the arrangements
Please ensure that the details are clear and communicated to HR Services so that a letter can be sent to your employee. This letter will be copied to you. If you are requesting cover during this period it is important that HR Services know that the contracts are linked.