What employers need to know about shared parental leave

The new shared parental leave (SPL) regulations have come into force and apply to your business now. Although they only affect your employees if their baby is due to be born or adopted on or after 5 April 2015, if a baby is born prematurely the new regulations will apply and so you need to be up to speed now. There are many changes to get to grips with but are you ready for the biggest of them all: discontinuous periods of SPL where employees can take their entitlement in broken up blocks? Here’s an example to show you how it might work in your business.

The situation
Your employee, Sarah, is due to have a baby in June and has given notice that her maternity leave will start in May. Sarah serves you with a “curtailment notice”, a “notice of entitlement” and then a “period of leave notice” which together notify you that Sarah wishes to take SPL from August and, from then on, to work one month on and one month off so that she can continue working on an important project. You are concerned that the project needs continuity and that working on and off in this way will be problematic.

Do you have to agree to this request and what should you do next?

Next steps
You need to start a two-week discussion period with Sarah. You will therefore need to arrange a meeting with Sarah to discuss the reasons for her request, how she thinks she could make her request work and to discuss any concerns you might have.

Your options
Option 1 – Make no response. You are not obliged to do so and this will be treated as a refusal (see below).
Option 2 – Agree to the proposal.
Option 3 – Agree to a modified proposal.
Option 4 – Refuse the proposal; you have the absolute right to do this. You should confirm to Sarah that:

  • She can agree a modified proposal
  • She can withdraw the proposal and submit a new proposal
  • If agreement can’t be reached then, by default, the period of SPL requested will be agreed as one continuous period.

Sarah can submit up to three “periods of notice” making requests for or to vary SPL. Any requests withdrawn during or within one day of the discussion period will not count.

Discontinuous SPL requests may seem complicated but with knowledge of the process and your options for dealing with staff requests it can be straightforward. Ensure that you have an SPL policy in place so that everyone, managers and staff alike, know their rights and obligations.

Get a shared parental leave policy for your business for only £80 + VAT.
Contact Alison Close to find out more on 01625 531676 or email

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