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From the outset, employees are encouraged to consider what leave arrangements will work best for them and their family. This may involve consideration of: the family leave policies available to both parents from their respective employers (in cases where both parents do not work for the University); whether the mother is prepared to reduce their maternity/adoption leave; whether both parents are eligible for SPL; and how they would like to care for their child during its first year with their family.

Should an employee have any queries regarding the family leave available to them and their eligibility they should discuss this with their Head of Institution, Institution Administrator, line manager or HR Schools Team.

The family leave available to University employees are:

  • Maternity Leave;
  • Adoption Leave;
  • Paternity Leave;
  • Shared Parental Leave;
  • Graduated Return;
  • Flexible Working;
  • Parental Leave.

In the first instance, employees remain entitled to take maternity, adoption and paternity leave before taking SPL. However, a mother may then choose to reduce their maternity/adoption leave and opt to transfer the remaining leave into SPL.

When can SPL start?

A birth mother or adopter must take a minimum of two weeks maternity/adoption leave directly following the birth or placement of the child but can then opt into SPL as soon as they wish.

When parents have not initially considered taking SPL, this option remains open to them for the duration of the maternity/adoption leave period provided that they are still eligible and give the required 8 weeks’ notice. For example, 20 weeks into her maternity leave the mother may inform her employer that she intends to return to work after 30 weeks and allow her partner to take the remaining time as SPL.

SPL can:

  • Start on any day of the week, but can only be taken in complete week blocks;
  • Start for the partner when the mother is still on maternity/adoption leave;
  • Be taken using up to three separate applications over the course of the SPL period.

Having early conversations about an employee’s plans for family leave is encouraged as it will allow the Institution time to plan how the leave can be covered. However it should be noted that SPL is a statutory right and, where an employee is eligible, as with maternity and adoption leave the dates requested as continuous leave must always be agreed.

Determining eligibility

To be eligible for SPL for one or both parents, the mother must:

  • Have a partner;
  • Be entitled to maternity/adoption leave or statutory maternity/adoption pay or maternity allowance;
  • Have returned to work or given notice that they will be reducing their maternity/adoption leave.

A parent who intends to take SPL from the University must:

  • Be an employee or the University;
  • Share primary parental responsibility for the child with the other parent at the time of the birth/placement;
  • Have given the University notice of their entitlement, including the necessary declarations and evidence (this can be done by completion of the CHRIS75a);
  • Have been employed by the University for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the child’s expected due date/matching date and;
  • Have worked for at least 26 weeks and earned an average of £30 a week in any 13 week period, in the 66 weeks leading up to the child’s due date/matching date.