If a colleague wants to take Shared Parental Leave, here are the steps that need to be followed.

1) Complete SPL1 Form

Firstly, a colleague who has been on Maternity/Pregnant Parent or Adoption Leave needs to bring this to an end so that the remaining weeks of leave and pay can be used as Shared Parental Leave. To do this, they should complete the relevant SPL1 form (SPL1A - Maternity Curtailment and Entitlement to Shared Parental Leave Form or SPL1C - Adoption Curtailment and Entitlement to Shared Parental Leave Form) and send it to HR Services, at least eight weeks before they want to end their Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave/Adoption Leave.

Colleagues need to inform HR Services that they meet the criteria to qualify for Shared Parental Leave and that they intend to take this leave – this can also be done using the relevant SPL1 form. As well as SPL1A and SPL1C mentioned above, there are forms for a colleague who is the father or partner of a pregnant parent who has taken Maternity Leave (SPL1B) or the Co-Adopter (SPL1D).

HR Services will then send the colleague a letter to confirm they’ve received this form and enclose a copy of SPL Form 2, which should be used to request periods of Shared Parental Leave. HR Services will also notify the colleague’s manager that the colleague is entitled to take Shared Parental Leave.

2) Informal Shared Parental Leave Meeting

At this stage, it’s useful for the manager to meet with the colleague to talk about their plans for taking Shared Parental Leave before they make a formal request for a period of leave. The Shared Parental Leave Informal Meeting Guide can be used to support this meeting.

3) Complete SPL 2 Form

To book a period of leave, the colleague needs to fill in the SPL2 Form and give it to their manager at least eight weeks before the date of the first block of Shared Parental Leave they want to take.

If a colleague requests a single block of Shared Parental Leave and has given eight weeks’ notice, managers must approve this request. They should complete the Managers’ Response section of the SPL2 Form and send the form to HR Services.

If a colleague requests discontinuous blocks of leave, managers don’t have to approve this if it can’t be accommodated by the business – if so, they should state the reasons why they’re declining the request in the Managers’ Response section of the SPL2 Form. But if they’re happy to approve the request, they should send the completed SPL2 Form to HR Services.

HR Services will then send the colleague a letter confirming the dates of their leave and any pay they’re entitled to. The manager will get a copy of this letter.

4) Formal Shared Parental Leave Meeting

If the manager has any concerns about a colleague’s request for discontinuous blocks of leave, they should meet with the colleague to talk about this. There’s a template invitation letter for managers to send and also a Formal Shared Parental Leave Meeting Guide to be used in the meeting.

5) Turning down a request for leave

If the manager decides to turn down the request for leave, the colleague can withdraw their request within 14 days using the SPL2 Form – this won’t count towards their three requests for leave. But if they’ve not withdrawn their request by the 15th day after getting the decision, it will default to the total amount of leave requested being given in one block.

If the colleague tells their manager within 19 days of getting the decision when they want this single block of leave to start, they can chose the start date of their leave – so long as it’s not earlier than eight weeks after the date of their original request. Otherwise, their leave will start automatically on the date of the first period of leave that they requested.

If declining a request, managers should complete the Managers’ Response section at the bottom of the SPL2 Form before sending the form to HR Services.

6) Further requests for leave

Colleagues can submit up to three separate requests for Shared Parental Leave. After this, they can’t make any further requests to take or change their Shared Parental Leave.

To make a further request, the colleague will need to complete another SPL2 Form and give it to their manager, indicating whether it’s their second or third request for leave. Managers should then follow the process above for considering the request.

7) Changing approved leave

If a colleague wants to change their plans, they must complete another SPL 2 Form, ticking the box to say that this is a change to a previous leave request. They’ll need to give at least eight weeks’ notice of any change – this includes if they want to cancel their leave or return to work earlier than originally agreed.

8) Keeping in touch

Before starting Shared Parental Leave, managers should agree with the colleague how they would like them to keep in touch while the colleague’s away from work.

The colleague can take up to 20 paid Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days during their Shared Parental Leave. These need to be agreed in advance with their manager. There’s more information about SPLIT days in the Shared Parental Leave Policy.

Managers can use the SPLIT Day Record Form to record details of any SPLIT days that are requested and taken. And they should remember to notify HR Services using this form to make sure the colleague gets their full contractual pay for any SPLIT day worked.

9) Returning to work

Depending on how long the colleague has been on leave, managers may find it helpful to prepare a Return to Work Plan for the colleague’s first couple of weeks back in work. This could include any refresher training needed, introducing them to any new team members and updating them on any changes within the business.

If relevant to the colleague’s job, managers also need to contact IT to make sure that the colleague’s access to IT systems is restored in time for their first day back.