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 Services 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 Services 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:

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 up to 50 weeks of a mother’s 52 weeks of maternity leave. The mother must take the first 2 weeks of maternity leave and then all or a proportion of the remaining leave can be converted into SPL, which can be shared between both partners. 

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.  The mother and her partner cannot receive more than 39 weeks paid maternity leave and paid SPL between them, i.e. they cannot receive any more weeks of paid leave than the 39 weeks the mother would receive on maternity leave. 

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. 

The current SPL statutory pay rate is £139.58/week, or 90% of your average weekly earnings if you earn less than £139.58 a week. The University does not enhance statutory SPL pay. Please note that the higher statutory maternity pay rate of 90% of average weekly earnings does not apply to SPL. 

Comparison of SPL, Maternity and Adoption Pay

Statutory Maternity/Adoption Pay

39 weeks paid leave (6 weeks at 90% salary, 33 weeks at flat statutory rate)

13 weeks unpaid leave

 

University Maternity/Adoption Pay

18 weeks at full pay

21 weeks at flat statutory rate

13 weeks unpaid leave

 

Statutory SPL Pay

Maximum of 37 weeks at flat statutory rate (39 weeks, less weeks of paid maternity/adoption leave, of which 2 weeks are compulsory)

Maximum of 13 weeks unpaid leave (less any unpaid maternity/adoption leave)

 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, meaning a maximum of 50 weeks SPL 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 Services. Please note that your manager's approval must be in place before the 8 week deadline for giving notice to HR Services 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. What are the disadvantages of SPL? 

UoB maternity leave is enhanced to 18 weeks at full pay (University Maternity Pay or UMP) where staff have 1 year’s continuous service and are able to return to work for 3 months on completion of their leave. SPL is paid at statutory rates only. This means if you are on maternity leave and qualify for 18 weeks UMP, you will be at a financial disadvantage if you switch to discontinuous SPL before 18 weeks, as you will only be entitled to statutory SPL pay from that point onwards. For this reason, we recommend staff on UMP do not switch to SPL until after 18 weeks. From weeks 18-39 maternity and SPL are paid at the same statutory rate.  

This advice does not affect your partner being able to take SPL during your first 18 weeks of maternity leave, provided you have given notice to curtail your maternity leave at a later date, (as detailed in questions 4 and 6). 

If you do need to temporarily return to work during the first 18 weeks of maternity leave, please see FAQs 10 and 11. 

10. What if I need time in work early on in maternity leave?

If you feel you need to be in the workplace during the first 18 weeks of maternity/adoption leave, but do not wish to switch to SPL for the reasons detailed in question 9, 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.

Provided you have given notice to curtail your maternity/adoption leave at a future date, your partner can 'draw down' and take SPL to provide childcare whilst you are on KIT days, as detailed in FAQ 4 above. 

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. 

11. 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.

 12. 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. 

13. 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). . 

 14. 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.