Shared Parental Leave Policy and Procedure
Last Updated 19 Aug 2019 in Family Friendly
If you’re having a baby or adopting a child you’ll want to read through the Shared Parental Leave Policy. Our shared parental leave policy applies to all colleagues, regardless of their length of service.
Key points covered:
Shared parental leave entitlement
Opting in to shared parental leave
Shared parental pay
How your terms and conditions and benefits will be affected while you’re on shared parental leave
About this Policy
The Society understands that having a baby or adopting a child is an important and exciting time for colleagues and we want to support you. Shared parental leave gives parents the flexibility to share the care of their child in the first year. This policy sets out guidance for your entitlement under shared parental leave and how it works in practice.
This Policy applies to all employees (whether employed on a full-time, part-time, fixed term or permanent basis). It does not apply to agency workers or self-employed contractors. Whether you are entitled to take shared parental leave depends on the eligibility requirements set out in the policy.
This policy does not form part of any colleague’s contract of employment and we may amend it at any time.
Who is Responsible for this Policy?
All colleagues who are eligible for shared parental leave in accordance with this policy are required to adhere to the timescales for notification.
Colleagues are encouraged to speak with their line manager in good time regarding the proposed shared parental leave so that the policy can be applied effectively.
All managers must treat colleagues eligible for shared parental leave fairly and consistently in accordance with this policy. If managers require support or assistance they should contact the relevant HR advisor in PSG.
You are entitled to shared parental leave if you are having or adopting a child.
In relation to the birth of a child you are entitled to shared parental leave if:
a) you are the child's mother, and share the main responsibility for the care of the child with the child's father or with your partner;
b) you are the child's father and share the main responsibility for the care of the child with the child's mother; or
c) you are the mother's partner and share the main responsibility for the care of the child with the mother (where the child's father does not share the main responsibility with the mother).
In relation to adoption, you are entitled to shared parental leave if an adoption agency placed a child with you and/or your partner for adoption, or where a child is placed with you and/or your partner as foster parents under a "fostering for adoption" or "concurrent planning" scheme. You must intend to share the main responsibility for the care of the child with your partner.
In a surrogacy case colleagues may qualify for shared parental leave providing you qualify for adoption leave and pay. Please refer to the Adoption Policy for further details.
The following conditions must also be fulfilled:
you must have at least 26 weeks continuous employment with us by the end of the Qualifying Week (the fifteenth week before the expected week of childbirth/the week you are notified you have been matched with a child for adoption) and still be employed by us in the week before the leave is to be taken;
your partner must have worked (in an employed or self-employed capacity) in at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the expected week of childbirth/matching week (week beginning on a Sunday) and had average weekly earnings of at least £30 during 13 of those weeks; and
you and your partner must give the necessary statutory notices and declarations as summarised below, including notice to end any maternity leave, statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance periods, adoption leave, or statutory adoption pay.
How Much Shared Parental Leave Can We Take?
The total amount of shared parental leave available is 52 weeks, less the weeks of maternity/adoption leave taken by either you or your partner (or the weeks in which you or your partner have been in receipt of statutory maternity pay, statutory adoption pay or maternity allowance periods).
You or your partner cannot start shared parental leave until after the compulsory maternity/adoption leave period, which lasts until two weeks after birth, or the first two weeks of adoption leave. Please refer to our Maternity Leave or Adoption Policy for further details.
If your partner is taking maternity/adoption leave or claiming statutory maternity/adoption pay, you should consider using your two weeks' paternity leave before taking shared parental leave. Once you start shared parental leave you will lose any untaken paternity leave entitlement. Shared parental leave entitlement is additional to your paternity leave entitlement. Please refer to our Paternity Policy for further details.
If you and your partner both qualify and choose to opt in to shared parental leave, you will be able to choose how to split the available leave between you and can decide to be off work at the same time or at different times. You may also be able to take leave in more than one block.
You need to take all shared parental leave by your child’s first birthday or within 52 weeks of your child being placed for adoption.
Opting in to Shared Parental Leave and Pay
To opt in to shared parental leave you must notify the Society in writing no less than eight weeks before the date you intend your shared parental leave to start.
To do this, you must complete the relevant SPL1 curtailment opt in notice form (please note there are different versions of this form for different circumstances) and send it the Payroll Department & MaternityPaternity@midcounties.coop.
Form SPL1A (colleagues who have been on or intend to take maternity or adoption leave)
Form SPL1B (colleagues who are the father/co-adopter or partner of the mother/main adopter)
Ending your Maternity Leave or Adoption Leave
If you are taking or intend to take maternity/adoption leave and want to opt into the shared parental leave scheme, you must give the Society at least 8 weeks’ notice to end your maternity/adoption leave. To do this, you must complete the SPL1 curtailment opt in notice form (please note there are different versions of this form for different circumstances) and send it to MaternityPaternity@midcounties.coop, or a written declaration that the other parent has given their employer an opt-in notice and that you have given the necessary declarations in that notice.
The curtailment notice is binding and you cannot change your mind and withdraw it. You can only withdraw a curtailment notice if maternity leave has not yet ended and one of the following applies:
if you realise that neither you nor the other parent are in fact eligible for shared parental leave or shared parental pay, in which case you can withdraw the curtailment notice in writing up to eight weeks after it was given;
if you gave the curtailment notice before giving birth, you can withdraw it in writing up to six weeks after birth; or
if the other parent has died.
The other parent may be eligible to take shared parental leave from their employer before your maternity leave ends, provided you have given the curtailment notice.
Once you have revoked a curtailment notice you will be unable to opt back into the shared parental leave scheme, unless you gave the curtailment notice before giving birth and evoked it in writing up to six weeks after birth.
Ending your Partner’s Maternity/Adoption Leave or Pay
If your partner is taking maternity/adoption leave or claiming statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance, you will only be able to take shared parental leave once she has either:
returned to work; or
given their employer a curtailment notice to end maternity leave/adoption leave.
Evidence of Entitlement
To show that you are entitled to shared parental leave, you may be asked to provide:
A copy of the birth certificate (or if you have not yet obtained a birth certificate, a signed declaration of the child's date and place of birth) or one or more documents from the adoption agency showing the agency’s name and address and the expected placement date; and
The name and address of your partners employer (or a declaration that they have no employer).
Notifying the Society of your Shared Parental Leave Dates
Having opted into the shared parental leave system, you will need to complete and return a Period of Leave Notice Form (SPL2 form). This may be given at the same time as the opt-in notice (SPL1 form) or later, provided it is at least eight weeks before the start of shared parental leave.
You can give up to three period of leave notices and leave must be taken in blocks of at least one week.
If your period of leave notice gives a single continuous block of shared parental leave you will be entitled to take the leave set out in the notice.
You can also ask to take your shared parental leave in more than one discontinuous block. For example, take four weeks leave then return to work for four weeks and then take another four weeks leave. This can be done as up to three separate blocks of shared parental leave.
We will need to consider the impact on the business of taking the leave in discontinuous blocks. You should discuss this with you manager before submitting your period leave notice where possible. If we have any concerns about your request for blocks of leave, we will arrange to meet you during a two-week discussion period. At the end of the period the agreement will be confirmed in writing.
If we cannot agree to your request for leave in blocks, you will be entitled to the full amount of requested shared parental leave as one continuous block. That will commence on the start date given in your notice (for example, if you requested three separate periods of four weeks each, they will be combined into one twelve-week period of leave). Alternatively, you may:
choose a new start date (which must be at least eight weeks after the date you submitted the notice requesting split periods of leave), and tell us within five days of the end of the two-week discussion period; or
withdraw the notice and tell us within two days of the end of the two-week discussion period (in which case it will not be counted as a period of leave notice, and you may submit a new one if you choose).
Making Amendments to your Shared Parental Leave
You can cancel a period of leave by notifying the Society in writing at least eight weeks before the start date in the period of leave notice.
You can change the start date, end date or combine discontinuous periods of leave you will also need to complete and return a SPL2 period of leave notice form at least eight weeks before the original start date or the new start date, whichever is earlier.
A notice to change or cancel a period of leave will count as one of your three period of leave notices, unless:
it is a result of your child being born earlier or later than the expected week of childbirth or your child is placed with you earlier or later than the expected placement date;
you are cancelling a request for discontinuous leave within two days of the end of the two-week discussion period;
it is at our request; or
we agree otherwise.
Shared Parental Pay
To qualify for Statutory Shared Parental Leave Pay (SSPLP), you and your partner both need to meet the eligibility criteria for shared parental leave detailed above.
SSPLP of up to 39 weeks (less any weeks of statutory maternity pay/statutory adoption pay or maternity allowance claimed) may be available provided:
you have at least 26 weeks continuous employment with the Society at the end of the qualifying week (the fifteenth week before the expected week of childbirth/the matching week); and
your average earning are not less than the lower earnings limit set by the government each tax year.
SSPLP is paid at a rate set by the government each tax year. The rate therefore increases on 1 April each year.
For those colleagues who qualify for SSPLP, it is currently (April 2022) paid at the rate of £156.66 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.
This is the same as Statutory maternity/adoption pay except that during the first 6 weeks statutory maternity/adoption pay is paid at 90% of whatever you earn.
If the average weekly earnings are below the lower earnings limit set by the government, such colleagues will not qualify for SSPLP.
Terms, Conditions and Benefits During Shared Parental Leave
Apart from any conditions relating to salary and pay, all your other contractual terms and conditions will continue during shared parental leave. That means you will continue to receive benefits which applied to you as if though you are still in work. However, salary will be replaced by SSPLP (if eligible), and you will be paid via payroll as usual.
You will continue to accrue annual leave during shared parental leave. You should agree with your manager any leave you want to take and aim to take holidays during the holiday year. If that isn’t possible due to your return date being too close to the end of the holiday year, please discuss carrying over holidays with your manager.
For details of how pension is treated during shared parental leave please contact the Pensions office on 01926 516009.
Keeping in Touch
We want to ensure you are kept informed about any important changes or things you need to know while away from work. To do this we may make reasonable contact with you from time to time during your shared parental leave, although we will keep this to a minimum.
You may, with the agreement of your line manager, carry out up to 20 ‘shared parental leave in touch’ (SPLIT) days. That may include training or attending meetings. You will be paid at your normal basic rate of pay for time spent working on a SPLIT day and this will be inclusive of any shared parental pay entitlement.
You can take a SPLIT day at any time during your shared parental leave, provided it is agreed with your line manager. A SPLIT day form must be completed and can be found here.
We won’t ever make you take a SPLIT day as they are not compulsory.
Returning to Work
If you intend to return to work at the end of your full shared parental leave period entitlement, you are not required to give notice of your return.
If you want to extend your shared parental leave (assuming you still have unused shared parental leave entitlement), return earlier than a date previously specified or are planning not to return, you are required to give 8 weeks’ notice of this intention.
Colleagues who return to work within 6 months of giving birth are required to complete a Health and Safety Risk Assessment for New and Expected Mother’s Form (form ML2). A copy of the completed form should be sent to your HR Advisor.
If you have already given three period of leave notices you will not be able to extend your shared parental leave without the Society’s agreement. You may instead be able to request annual leave or ordinary parental leave (see our Parental Leave Policy), subject to the needs of the Society.
You may be able to return from shared parental leave by graduated steps, and/or part-time, provided that your line manager can make arrangements to cover your duties at no extra cost to the Society. If you wish to discuss any change in working arrangements on your return to work, you should contact your line manager at the earliest opportunity and no later than eight weeks before you return to work.
If you wants to change your hours or other working arrangements on return from shared parental leave you should make a request under our Flexible Working Policy. It is helpful if such requests are made as early as possible.
The Society is committed to support any colleagues who wish to breastfeed or express milk following their return to work. The Society will ensure that appropriate facilities are made available to colleagues who require them, wherever possible.
Colleagues should inform their line manager of their intention to breastfeed or express milk on Society premises when they notify their Manager of their return to work. That is so that a risk assessment can be carried out, using the Health and Safety Risk Assessment for New and Expected Mother’s Form (form ML2). A copy of the completed form should be sent to the HR advisor for your business group.
If you have any questions regarding this policy or require additional support, you should speak to your line manager. Alternatively, you can contact the HR advisor for your business group, contact the HR advice line on 01926 516469 or email MaternityPaternity@midcounties.coop.
|Policy Name:||Shared Parental Leave Policy||Date of last review:||August 2019|
|Policy Owner:||PSG||Issue Number||PSG-SM-001|