UCL Human Resources


Shared parental leave and pay policy

UCL's policy for entitlements to Shared Parental Leave and Pay.


1. Purpose and Scope

2. Scope

3. Definitions

4. Policy

4.1 Entitlement to Shared Parental Leave

4.2 Interaction with other types of leave

4.3 Notification Process

4.4 Entitlement to Shared Parental Pay

4.5 Keeping in contact during Shared Parental Leave and Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days

4.6 Continuity of Employment

4.7 Annual Leave

4.8 Authorised Deductions from Pay

4.9 Returning to Work

4.10 Ending Employment

4.11 Financial Assistance for Departments

5. Monitoring of Policy

6. Appendices

1. Purpose and Scope

1.1 This policy sets out the entitlements and support available to employees who wish to take shared parental leave (SHPL).

1.2 For further information on other types of leave available for parents, guardians and carers please see the relevant policy A-Z section on the policy page.

2. Scope 

2.1 This policy applies to all eligible UCL employees, regardless of any protected characteristic (including sexual orientation and/or gender reassignment), their length of service or their funding source.

2.2 Employees who wish to bring their adoption leave or maternity leave to an end are entitled to take SHPL under this policy.

2.3 If a secondary adopter or partner of an employee who has given birth wishes to take leave during the first two weeks following the placement/birth of a child, they should request to use Paternity/Partner's Leave

3. Definitions


Adoption Leave


Average Weekly Earnings

Calculated by totalling the gross earnings in the relevant period and dividing by the number of weeks in that period


Split days: Days during which an employee on SHPL can, with prior management approval, attend work, undertake training or keep in touch with work developments through other means, without bringing the leave period to an end


Maternity Leave


Occupational Shared Parental Pay .A full pay enhancement to SSPP and paid to staff on SHPL


Statutory Shared Parental Pay

4. Policy

4.1 Entitlement to Shared Parental Leave

4.1.1 To qualify for SHPL, an employee must have, or expect to have responsibility for caring for the child.

4.1.2 If the UCL employee is the partner or secondary adopter, their partner must also be eligible for SHPL. Further eligibility information for more complex situations regarding shared parental leave entitlements, can be found here, including where one parent works overseas. 

4.1.3 If the UCL employee is the person giving birth, or the primary adopter, they can choose to bring their ML/AL to an end at any point after the compulsory two week period following the birth/adoption of the child and share the remaining entitlement with their partner.

4.1.4 The remaining maximum amount of leave that can be shared between the parents is 50 weeks. The leave must be taken during the 12 months following the birth or adoption of a child, as follows:

  • a minimum period of at least one week;
  • in multiples of complete weeks;
  • one continuous period of ShPL or as up to 3 discontinuous periods, for example taking ShPL in blocks of 2 weeks at a time, and returning to work for 2 weeks at time, then taking leave again – repeating this pattern three times. See 4.2.3

4.1.5 For ShPL to commence, the parent or primary adoptive parent must have given notice to end their ML or AL, or have returned to work.

4.1.6 If the UCL employee is the partner or secondary adopter, they can take SHPL when their partner chooses to bring their ML/AL to an end as detailed in 4.1.3-4.1.5. UCL may request a copy of the birth certificate (or copy of MATB1/declaration from the parents if the birth certificate is not yet available).

4.1.7 SHPL can be taken by each parent separately.  Alternatively, some or all of it may be taken simultaneously, providing the correct notice has been served.

4.1.8 ShPL can be taken by one parent whilst their partner is on another type of leave, such as Paternity Leave or Ordinary Parental Leave.

4.2 Interaction with other types of leave

4.2.1 Employees eligible for Paternity/ Partners Leave (PL) are allowed to take up to four weeks' paid PL.  PL must be taken within 3 months after the date of the birth or adoption (including situations where the baby is sadly born stillborn beyond 24 weeks of pregnancy). PL does not have to be taken at one time and can be spread over this 3 month period. However, PL cannot be taken if the employee has already taken a period of ShPL in relation to the same child. Therefore, the period of PL must come first, to ensure that the employee is not disadvantaged.

4.2.2 Eligible employees are entitled to an additional period of paid neonatal leave , should their baby be hospitalised for at least 7 days after birth. These entitlements are set out in the maternity and paternity/ partner’s leave policies, respectively. There are no additional entitlements to neonatal leave under the Shared Parental Leave Policy, however neonatal leave can be taken if maternity leave has already been converted to shared parental leave and shared parental leave and pay have been exhausted.

4.3 Notification Process

4.3.1 An employee wishing to take ShPL must ensure the necessary notifications and declarations are completed and submitted to their line manager within the timescales specified. 

4.3.2 If an employee is eligible for and intends to take ShPL, they must provide their line manager with the following:

i) Notice indicating an intention to end ML or AL (form END1), if the employee is the Birth-Parent/primary adopter or a separate notice of a partner's intention to do so;

ii) A notice of entitlement to take ShPL .The notice of entitlement must be submitted at least eight weeks before the employee intends to take a period of ShPL;

iii) A notice of their planned period/s of ShPL using a Period of Leave Notice (PLN) form

4.3.3 An employee is entitled to submit three separate PLNs. This means that an employee could book three separate periods of ShPL during the child's first year in the family. A PLN is usually binding and cannot typically be withdrawn.

4.3.4 If an employee wishes to vary the period/s of ShPL requested, they must notify their line manager using a Period of Leave Variation Notice

4.3.5 Once the manager has signed and approved the forms, they should be sent to HR Services.

4.4 Entitlement to Shared Parental Pay

4.4.1 There is no qualifying length of service requirement for Shared Parental Leave (ShPL) or Occupational Shared Parental Pay (OSPP) however staff need to fulfil Statutory Shared Parental Pay (SSPP) qualification requirements (www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay/eligibility-for-birth-parents) to receive statutory pay.

4.4.2  An employee will be eligible for SSPP if they have been continuously employed by UCL for 26 weeks up to and including the 15th week before the EWC, or week in which they are matched for adoption; and

  • remain continuously employed in the week before any ShPL is due to start; and
  • have earned above the ‘lower earnings limit' in the relevant period. 

Additionally, their partner must:

  • have, or expect to have, responsibility for caring for the child;
  • have been an employed or self-employed earner in Great Britain for a total of 26 weeks (not necessarily continuously) in the period of 66 weeks leading up to the week the child is due (or matched for adoption);
  • have earned an average of at least £30 a week in 13 of those 26 weeks; and consent to the employee taking ShPL

4.4.3 If ShPL is taken immediately following the two week period of compulsory ML/AL, an employees is eligible to receive up to 16 weeks Occupational Shared Parental Pay (OSPP). OSPP will only be paid up to the 18th week after the birth/adoption. If the parents are sharing leave during this period they should nominate which partner will claim  enhanced occupational pay – or part thereof if they are sharing. The actual payment is not transferred between organisations so if a non-UCL partner is claiming the enhanced element the partner’s organisation will pay this, subject to eligibility.

If both employees work for UCL then the 16 weeks, or part of the OSPP will be shared between them..

4.4.4 An employee on ShPL will also be eligible for Statutory Shared Parental Pay (SSPP) if they have at least 26 weeks' service at the Notification Week (15th week before the EWC) and their average earnings are above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions. 

4.4.5 SSPP is payable for a maximum of 37 weeks (as the Birth-Parent/primary adopter must take the first 2 weeks following birth/adoption). SSPP is included within the weeks of OSPP.

4.4.6 SSPP is paid at a rate fixed by Government, or 90% of average weekly earnings if this is lower.  The remaining 13 weeks entitlement to ShPL, for employees entitled to SSPP, are unpaid.

4.4.7 Payment of Shared Parental Pay commences simultaneously with the beginning of the ShPL period and is paid monthly in arrears (in the same way salary is paid). Pay slips will be sent to the employee's home address when they are on ShPL.

4.5 Keeping in contact during Shared Parental Leave and Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days

4.5.1 UCL is permitted to maintain contact with employees on ShPL, providing the contact is reasonable.

4.5.2 Employees should discuss with their line manager, prior to commencing their ShPL, how often they would like to keep in touch, and by what means of communication – for example email updates on what is happening at UCL or within their immediate department or faculty.

Employees on ShPL should be kept informed (and consulted with, where appropriate) regarding any important business changes or announcements which may affect them.

4.5.3 Employees on ShPL should have access to any internal job vacancies which may be of interest to them and should not be disadvantaged in any way when making an application.

Employees on ShPL should also be included in invitations to social events, training and conferences that they may wish to attend during their time off.

Employees on ShPL should have the same access of opportunity in terms of training and career progression as other employees and should not be disadvantaged in any way by their absence. Employees should be supported to participate remotely in activities, events and training courses.

4.5.4 An employee and their manager can agree up to 20 Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days which can be used during ShPL, without bringing the leave to an end.  

SPLIT days are not mandatory and should be mutually agreed between the manager and the employee. Both parents have up to 20 SPLIT days each, which can be taken as single days or in blocks of days. This is in addition to the 10 keeping-in-touch (KIT) days available to the mother or primary adopter during maternity leave or adoption leave.

4.5.5 SPLIT days can be used for any activity that the employee would normally undertake if they were at work. Examples of activities are: attendance on training courses, meetings, briefings, conferences and remote participation in events. The time should be used productively and agreed in advance.

4.5.6 Any work undertaken on a SPLIT day will be treated as a whole SPLIT day irrespective of the actual amount of time spent at work and will count as a whole day's entitlement. For example, going into work for a 2 hour meeting will count as 1 SPLIT day from the 20 day entitlement.

4.5.7 Employees will be paid their normal rate of pay to the nearest half or full day for any SPLIT days they take, in addition to any SSPP and OSPP they are receiving at the time the SPLIT day is taken. Payment for SPLIT days is funded by the respective department budget.

4.5.8 Payments for SPLIT days will be subject to deductions for tax and NI but will not be eligible for salary sacrifice. Whether payments for SPLIT days are pensionable is dependent on the particular pension scheme. Please contact pensions for further information.

4.5.9 Department Administrators should select "KIT Day Payment" in the payment elements section of Department Transactions in MyHR, for the date the SPLIT day is taken. This should be submitted on, or after the SPLIT day has been worked.

4.6 Continuity of Employment

4.6.1 The employment contract with UCL continues during ShPL, and the period of continuous employment for the calculation of superannuation, benefits, accrual of annual leave and entitlement to statutory rights, is not affected.

4.7 Annual Leave

4.7.1 Statutory and Contractual Annual leave (including bank holidays and UCL closure days) is accrued throughout the whole period of ShPL.

4.7.2 Part Time employees are entitled to a prorated entitlement to any bank holiday and closure days that occur during their period of ShPL, added to their overall holiday entitlement.

4.8 Authorised Deductions from Pay

4.8.1 Where an employee has authorised salary deductions (e.g. Trade Union membership subscriptions or Give as You Earn) these payments will continue to be deducted during ShPL. Unless instructed otherwise, UCL will continue to pay all of an employee's authorised deductions during periods of unpaid ShPL and these contributions will be recovered from future salary payments.

4.8.2 If an employee wishes to cancel any authorised salary deductions or contributions whilst on ShPL, they should contact the HR Payroll Team to notify them. For details of how ShPL affects pension contributions, employees should contact the HR Pension Services Team or refer to the following information.

4.9 Returning to Work

4.9.1 Employees returning from ShPL will usually return to the same job unless there has been a restructure in their absence, following staff consultation.  See Organisation Change Policy and redeployment policy for further details.

4.9.2 Line managers should ensure employees returning from ShPL are supported and integrated back into the business with a return to work plan.

4.9.3 Employees wishing to take any additional periods of leave such as unpaid parental leave or carer’s leave should refer to the relevant policy on the A-Z section of the policy page on the staff intranet.

4.9.4 Employees who take ShPL may wish to amend their working pattern on their return to work, either on a permanent or temporary basis. Please see the Work Life Balance Policy for details on how these requests will be handled.

It is important to note that the process to request flexible working can take up to 13 weeks, therefore as much notice as possible should be given when requesting a change in working hours.

4.10 Ending Employment

4.10.1 Employees with open-ended appointments who decide not to return to work, during or following a period of ShPL, should give the correct amount of notice to resign in line with their contract of employment.

Their employment will end once their notice period comes to an end.

There is no requirement to repay any OSPP or SSPP if an employee resigns during their Shared Parental leave.

4.10.2 Employees will be paid in lieu of any accrued untaken holiday, bank holidays and closure days.

4.10.3 If an employee’s contract is terminated by UCL during their ShPL, for example the end of fixed term contract or redundancy situation, UCL will pay the appropriate occupational pay entitlement until the last day of employment. After this date, if an employee is entitled to statutory pay, this will be paid until the end of the 37-week period, plus any outstanding annual leave.

4.11 Financial Assistance for Departments 

In the event that an employee applies to take ShPL under this policy, the Department may request financial assistance to cover the duties of the absent employee which need to be undertaken within the period of absence and which cannot be covered by other staff in the department within their usual working week.

5. Monitoring of Policy

The Employment Policy Team will keep the monitoring of adoption leave and the operation of this policy under review.

6. Appendices

Intention to end maternity or adoption leave form (END1)

Notice of entitlement to take shared parental leave form

Period of leave notice form (PLN)

Period of leave variation notice

Shared parental leave flowchart

HR Policy Team

July 2023