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Once an employee has notified their Institution of their entitlement to SPL and, if applicable, ShPP using a CHRIS75a, they must apply to take any leave using a CHRIS75b.  Applications to take leave can be given at the same time as the notice of entitlement.

Eligible employees have the right to submit up to three applications for periods of SPL within the SPL period.  This means that an employee may apply for three separate periods of SPL during their child’s first year in the family.

Each application may contain either a single period of weeks of leave; or two or more weeks of discontinuous leave, where the employee intends to return to work between periods of leave.

The employee must apply for SPL via a CHRIS 75b at least eight weeks before the date on which they wish to start the leave and, if applicable, receive ShPP.

The Institution should forward the completed CHRIS75a and CHRIS75b to their HR Schools Team as soon as possible following any discussions necessary (see discontinuous leave below) in order that the leave can be formally granted and entered onto the HR System.

Continuous leave

Continuous leave is a period of SPL that is taken in one block e.g. four weeks’ leave. An application for continuous leave cannot be refused therefore Institutions will need to consider how they will cover the employee’s absence.

It is not a legal requirement to hold a meeting to discuss arrangements for a period of continuous leave. However, as with any period of extended leave employees and managers may find it beneficial to meet to discuss the upcoming leave, cover provisions, plans to keep in touch and any hand over of work.

Discontinuous Leave

Discontinuous leave is a period of SPL arranged around weeks where the employee will return to work e.g. where an employee works every other week for a period of three months.

Institutions do not have to agree to a period of discontinuous leave. When a period of discontinuous leave is requested the Head of Institution or Institution Administrator has 14 calendar days to discuss the application with the employee and consider whether the pattern of leave requested is manageable. For example:

  • What will the impact of the leave pattern be on the Institution?
  • Is there an alternate pattern of leave which would be more manageable?
  • What is the likely outcome should the leave not be agreed?

Where there is concern over accommodating the request, the Institution or the employee may seek to arrange a meeting to discuss the application with a view to agreeing an arrangement that meets both the needs of the employee and the Institution (template letter c).

Where a meeting is arranged it should take place in private and be held well in advance of the requested SPL start date. If the initial date is problematic then a second date will be offered. If an alternative date cannot be arranged then the meeting may be held over the telephone.

At the meeting the employee may, if they wish, be accompanied by a workplace colleague or trade union representative.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss in detail the discontinuous leave pattern requested and what will happen while the employee is away from work. The discussion may also focus on how the leave proposal could be agreed, whether a modified arrangement would be agreeable to the employee and the Institution, and what the outcome may be if no agreement is reached.

The Institution will consider a discontinuous leave application but has the right to refuse it.  If the leave pattern is refused, the employee can either withdraw their application within 15 days of giving it, or can take the leave in a single continuous block starting on the start date requested (see Stage 4 section C)