Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) enables people taking maternity and adoption leave to share some of that leave with the child's other parent. SPL can be complex, so please read the FAQs below to decide if it right for you and your partner.

Booking a period of SPL

Please complete the relevant SPL notice form below and book an appointment with HR Operations to discuss and confirm your entitlement and SPL dates. You must give 8 weeks notice of your intention to take SPL, so please ensure that your appointment with HR Operations to discuss your form and agree your SPL dates allows for this notice period.

If you intend to take discontinuous SPL (Q.5, below), you will need your manager's approval before submitting your notice form to HR, so please ensure you have this prior to the 8 week notice deadline.  

Contact HR via HR Service Portal or by calling 0121 415 8425 (internal ext. 58425). 

SPL Forms:

  • SPL entitlement and notice form - Mothers SPL - Mothers (to be completed by UoB staff taking maternity leave)
  • SPL entitlement and notice form - Adopters SPL - Adopters (to be completed by UoB staff taking adoption leave)
  • SPL entitlement and notice form - Partners (birth) SPL - Partners (births) (to be completed by UoB staff whose partner is taking maternity leave)
  • SPL entitlement and notice form - Partners (adoption)SPL - Partners (adoption) (to be completed by UoB staff whose partner is taking adoption leave) 

Please note: SPL can be taken by birth parents and adoptive parents. For ease of reference, the FAQs mostly refer to maternity, but the same principles will apply to adoption.

 1. What is Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and who can take it?

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) enables both parents to share a mother's maternity leave entitlement. The mother must always take the first 2 weeks of her 52 weeks maternity leave, and then all or a proportion of the remaining leave can be converted into SPL. SPL can then be taken by the partner, or shared between the mother and the partner. The total amount of maternity leave and SPL taken by the mother and partner cannot exceed the original maternity leave entitlement of 52 weeks.

There are a number of eligibility criteria that both partner's must meet for SPL. A mother must:

  • Be entitled to maternity leave and/or to statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance
  • Have curtailed, or given notice that she will curtail, her maternity leave and any statutory maternity pay/maternity allowance on a set date

A parent who intends to take SPL (partner or mother) must:

  • Be an employee (i.e. not unemployed, self-employed or retired)
  • Share the primary responsibility for the child with the other parent
  • Have properly notified their employer of their entitlement to SPL and provided the necessary declarations and evidence

In addition, a parent wanting to take SPL is required to satisfy the ‘continuity of employment test’ that they:

  • have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the baby’s due date; and
  • will still be working for the same employer at the start of each period of SPL.

Their partner must meet the ‘employment and earnings test’ that they have:

  • worked for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the baby’s due date; and
  • have earned an average of at least £30 a week in any 13 of those 26 weeks.

The full eligibility criteria are set out in the SPL application forms above. 

A notice to book a period of SPL must be submitted at least 8 weeks in advance of the start of the leave for it to be valid. 

SPL is in addition to the 2 weeks of paternity/partner leave on the birth/adoption of a child. 

 

 2. Is SPL paid leave?

SPL is paid for the first 39 weeks, minus any weeks of paid maternity leave already taken by the mother. If the mother takes less than 39 weeks maternity leave, the remaining portion of the 39 weeks is converted into paid SPL. Any SPL beyond these 39 weeks is unpaid.  

To qualify for SPL pay, an employee must meet the criteria for SPL stated above and also have earned above the Lower Earnings Limit in the 8 weeks leading up to the 15th week before the baby is due, and still be employed by that same employer at the start of the SPL. 

SPL pay rates
Where staff have a year's continuous service by the expected week of childbirth/adoption and agree to return to the University for 3 months following the end of their leave, University SPL Pay is available. This comprises of:

  • 18 weeks at full pay ('enhanced SPL')
  • 21 weeks at statutory rates
  • 13 weeks unpaid

University SPL pay entitlement is calculated as less any weeks of paid maternity leave taken by the mother. For example, if the mother intends to take 12 weeks maternity leave, University SPL pay would be calculated as 6 weeks of enhanced SPL pay, followed by 21 weeks statutory pay and 13 weeks at no pay.  

The combined maternity leave and SPL taken by a couple cannot in total exceed 52 weeks leave, and the paid component of these 52 weeks cannot in total exceed 39 weeks, (i.e. the leave and the paid leave is not more than would have been received on maternity leave).  If the mother and her partner both work at UoB, the amount of enhanced maternity/SPL pay  taken by the couple cannot in total exceed 18 weeks, and the total maternity/SPL statutory pay period cannot exceed 21 weeks.

Where staff have 1 years continuous service but a contract end date that either i) expires during their SPL or ii) expires within 3 months of their return to work date, then the 3 month return rule will not be applied. In these situations, staff will receive their enhanced SPL pay either in full, or up to the end of their contract if the contract ends during the enhanced pay period. Staff on fixed term contracts may still be entitled to statutory SPL pay after their contract ends. 

University SPL Pay arrangements are based on a continuing contract of employment. If your contract ends during the  enhanced pay period, any new contract must begin immediately (i.e. with no break in service) for you to continue to receive your enhanced pay entitlement.

The 3 month return rule will still apply to staff on open contracts, staff on contracts that end before they begin their SPL and staff on fixed term contracts that allow them to return to work for 3 months following their SPL.

If a staff member does not qualify for University SPL pay, they may qualify for statutory SPL pay, as described above. 

 3. When can SPL be taken?

By law, a mother must take her first 2 weeks of maternity leave. From week 3 onwards, she can choose to end her maternity leave and convert the remainder to SPL. In practice, this means a maximum of 50 weeks SPL (37 weeks paid) will be available to a couple. 

SPL is taken in blocks of weeks, not single days. There is no limit to the amount of SPL a person can take, provided that the total amount of maternity leave and SPL taken by the mother and her partner does not exceed 52 weeks, and is completed within 12 months of the birth/adoption. This 52 week period does not include any annual leave/bank holidays/closed days accrued during maternity leave or SPL, which can be taken after the 52 week period.

The deadlines for giving notice to end maternity leave and to take SPL are set out in the SPL application forms at the top of the page. 

4. Who can take SPL?

SPL can only be taken by the parents of the child. It cannot be taken by grandparents or other relatives or associates.

The mother and her partner can take SPL at the same time, at different times, or a combination of both. For example:

  • The mother ends maternity leave, permanently returns to work and her partner takes SPL
  • The mother gives notice to curtail her maternity leave at a future date and her partner ‘draws down’ that leave as SPL and takes it whilst she is still on maternity leave
  • The mother moves straight from maternity leave to SPL, and her partner takes SPL at the same time
  • The mother and/or her partner alternate between being at work and on SPL (see question 5 on discontinuous SPL)

The mother does not have to return to work for her partner to take SPL, provided she has given notice to curtail her maternity leave at a future date.

5. Can I alternate between SPL and being in work?

You can give up to 3 notices of your intention to take SPL. These 3 notices can be for a single, continuous block of leave, or requests for discontinuous periods of SPL, where you alternate between weeks of being on leave and weeks of being in work. However, there is no automatic right to discontinuous SPL, and you will need your line manager to approve your proposed arrangement before it can be processed by  HR Operations. Please note that your manager's approval must be in place before the 8 week deadline for giving notice to HR Operations that you intend to take a period of SPL.

If you are on maternity leave and considering discontinuous SPL to gain extra flexibility, please see questions 9 and 10 to ensure this is the right arrangement for you. 

6. Can both partners be on leave and receive pay at the same time?

Both you and your partner are entitled to a combined total of 39 weeks paid maternity leave and SPL, i.e. as a couple you cannot exceed the 39 weeks of paid leave that the mother would normally receive on maternity leave. If the mother intends to take less than 39 weeks maternity leave, the remaining period of paid maternity leave is converted into paid SPL. In this scenario, you may both receive payments at the same time if:

  • The mother is on paid maternity leave (which she has given notice to curtail at a future date) and the partner is on SPL: the partner would receive statutory SPL pay if the mother intends to end her maternity leave between weeks 2 and 39. For example, if she intends to end her maternity leave at 35 weeks, the partner would be entitled to 4 weeks paid SPL, which he/she could take at the same time that the mother is receiving maternity pay.
  • Both partners are on SPL at the same time: if the mother has taken less than 39 weeks paid maternity leave and the remainder is converted into paid SPL, the mother and her partner can choose to receive SPL pay at the same time. For example, if maternity leave ended at 35 weeks, both partners could have two weeks of paid SPL at the same time, or one partner could have 4 weeks of SPL and the other unpaid SPL. 

 7. How does SPL work if my partner is self-employed?

A self-employed parent cannot take SPL themselves. However, if they meet the 'eligibility criteria' and ‘employment and earnings’ test set out in question 1, their partner could still qualify for SPL.

For example, if the mother is self-employed she may not be entitled to Maternity Leave and pay, but may be entitled to Maternity Allowance. If she gives notice to curtail her Maternity Allowance and meets the ‘employment and earnings’ test, her partner (UoB employee) could be eligible for SPL, provided they meet the eligibility criteria and ‘continuity of employment test’, as set out in question 1. 

 8. Do I accrue holiday whilst on SPL?

Yes, you accrue annual leave, bank holidays and University closed days pro-rata to your period of SPL. The accrued holiday will be automatically added to the end of your SPL and will be paid at your normal rate of pay. Accrued holiday is separate to maternity leave and SPL, and does not count as part of the 52 week combined maternity/SPL entitlement.

If you do not want your accrued annual leave to be added to the end of your SPL, and would prefer to take it later in the year, this will need to be in agreement with your line manager as per normal annual leave request procedures. 

9. Are there alternatives to SPL?

If you feel you need to be in the workplace during your maternity/adoption leave, but do not wish to switch to SPL, you can make use of Keeping in Touch Days (KIT days). Staff on maternity/adoption leave can take up to 10 KIT days. These are days when you can be in work, or undertake work-related duties, without having to end your maternity/adoption leave, provided that you and your line manager agree to this arrangement. Find out more about KIT days.

KIT days form part of your maternity/adoption leave, i.e. if you took the full 10 KIT days, they would count as 2 of the 52 weeks of your leave. KIT days are paid at your normal salary pro-rata the hours worked and less any maternity pay you are receiving. If you are on UMP (i.e. full salary) when you take a KIT day, you will not receive any additional payment for being in work. 

10. What if I need time in work whilst on SPL?

If you plan to return to work for periods of a week or more whilst on SPL, it may make sense for you to discuss a discontinuous SPL arrangement with your line manager, (see question 5).

Alternatively, you can make use of Shared Parental Leave In Touch Days (SPLIT days). Staff on SPL can take up to 20 SPLIT days. These are days when you can be in work, or undertake work-related duties, without having to end your SPL, provided that you and your line manager agree to this arrangement. Further information about SPLIT days is available in the Family Leave Guidelines and the SPLIT Application Form.

SPLIT days form part of your SPL, i.e. if you took the full 20 SPLIT days they would count as 4 weeks of your SPL and not be in addition to your SPL. SPLIT days are paid at your normal salary, less any SPL pay you are receiving.

 11. Can I take SPL if I am on a fixed-term contract?

Yes you can provided you and your partner meet the criteria and requirements set out in Q.1. 

12. How do I change or cancel my SPL?

You need to give written notice of the change/cancellation at least 8 weeks in advance of any change. Notice should be sent to HR via HR Service Portal or by calling 0121 415 8425 (internal ext. 58425). . 

 13. What are the return to work arrangements after SPL?

If you are an academic member of staff on a three-legged contract and you take 6 months or more SPL (or 6 months or more SPL and maternity/adoption leave combined), you can have remission from one element of your contract for a term. Please see the Guidance for academic staff for more information.