UCL Human Resources


Shared parental leave and pay policy

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

If you and your partner are considering entering into the Shared Parental Leave Scheme, please book a consultation as soon as possible with the Employment Policy Team to discuss the options available to you as the scheme is complicated.



1.This policy applies to all eligible UCL employees, regardless of their length of service or their funding source. 

2. Eligible birth parents/primary adopters are entitled to share up to a maximum of 50 weeks’ Shared Parental Leave (ShPL) with their partner to care for their child during the first year following the child’s birth or adoption. ShPL cannot begin before the birth, or placement for adoption, and all leave must be taken within one year of the birth or the date that the child was placed with the family (i.e. the day before the child’s first birthday or the anniversary of the placement of an adopted child).

3. The birth parent/primary adopter must take 2 weeks’ compulsory maternity/adoption leave following the birth/placement of the child

4. A UCL employee who is the birth parent or primary adopter may choose to end their 52 weeks of maternity or adoption leave early and convert their remaining leave to ShPL under this policy.

5. Under UCL’s Paternity/Partner’s Leave and Pay Policy, UCL employees who follow the correct notification process are entitled to 20 days paid leave (pro rata for part time staff). Where a member of staff wishes to take a period of Paternity/Partner’s Leave and Pay (PL) following the birth of their child or following the date a child is placed with them for adoption, this must be taken before ShPL commences. Any entitlement to Paternity/Partner’s Leave and Pay will cease once ShPL has commenced. 

6. A UCL employee may take ShPL at the same time, or at different times, as their partner, as long as the total leave taken does not exceed what is jointly available, up to a maximum of 50 week. 

Entitlement to Shared Parental Leave

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

8. UCL does not require their employees to have a minimum length of service to qualify for ShPL. However, their partner’s employer may impose minimum service requirements. To qualify for Statutory Shared Parental Pay (SSPP), employees must meet the government’s criteria (see paragraph 29 below).  

9. Further information regarding eligibility in more complex situations regarding shared parental leave entitlements, can be found here, including where one parent works overseas. 

10. If the UCL employee is the birth parent or primary adopter, they can choose to bring their 52 weeks of maternity leave/adoption leave to an end at any point after the compulsory two-week period following the birth/adoption of the child and share the remaining leave entitlement with their partner.

11. 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:

  • minimum periods of at least one week (i.e. it cannot be taken as single days/blocks of less than 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.

12. For ShPL to commence, the birth parent or primary adopter must have given at least 8 weeks’ notice to end their maternity/adoption leave, or have returned to work. The birth parent/primary adopter can give a binding notice that they will end their maternity leave or adoption leave on a future date, enabling them to share the remaining unused maternity leave or adoption leave with their partner. Once notice has been given, this date cannot normally be changed.

13. If the UCL employee is the partner of the birth parent or primary adopter, they can take ShPL once the birth parent/primary adopter has given notice that they intend to bring their maternity leave/adoption leave to an end.  UCL requires a copy of the MATB1 (or the birth certificate if the baby comes early or late) and a copy of the birth parent/primary adopter’s END1 form.

14. ShPL can be taken by each parent separately.  Alternatively, some or all of it may be taken simultaneously, meaning that both parents can be on leave at the same time.

15. ShPL can be taken by one parent whilst their partner is on another type of leave, such as maternity leave, adoption leave or paternity leave.

Interaction with other types of leave

16. Employees who are eligible for Paternity/ Partners Leave (PL) may take up to four weeks' paid PL.  PL must be taken within 52 weeks after the date of the birth or adoption (including situations where the baby is stillborn beyond 24 weeks of pregnancy). PL does not have to be taken at one time and can be spread, in whole weeks, over this 52-week period. PL must be taken in its entirety, before taking any Shared Parental Leave in relation to the same child. 

17. 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 Leave and Pay Policy and Paternity / Partner’s Leave and Pay 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 ShPL and when ShPL and Shared Parental Pay have been exhausted.

Notification Process

18. 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. 

19. If an employee is eligible for and intends to take ShPL, they must book a consultation meeting with the Employment Policy Team. The employee should bring a copy of their partner’s ShPL policy (if their partner is not a UCL employee) and Maternity leave policy (if their partner is the mother or primary adopter).  At this meeting, they will be provided with a personalised ShPL planner, which they must use to complete UCL’s online ShPL application form. The form asks the employee to confirm the date the birth parent or primary adopter intends to end their maternity or adoption leave; the employee’s confirmation of their intention to take ShPL, and details of the employee’s planned period/s of ShPL.

20. An employee can request up to three separate periods of ShPL before the child’s first birthday, or in the first year following the child’s placement with the family.

21. If a UCL employee or their partner wishes to vary the period/s of ShPL requested, or add additional dates, the UCL employee must notify their line manager using a Period of Leave Variation Notice. They must also contact the Employment Policy Team for a further consultation meeting, as any subsequent leave taken by the UCL's employee's partner may impact on how much leave and pay is left available to share.

22. Once signed by the Line Manager, this will automatically be sent to HR Services for processing.  

Occupational Shared Parental Pay (OSPP)

23. Eligibilty for UCL's OSPP is very different to eligibilty for statutory ShPP and statutory SPL.

 UCL’s OSPP is considered a shared entitlement. This applies whether both parents work for UCL, or where only one parent works for UCL.

UCL's OSPP scheme ensures that one parent can receive full pay during the 16 weeks that immediately follow the compulsory two-week period of adoption/maternity leave.

24. UCL requires that any OSPP is taken in the first 18 weeks after the child is born or placed for adoption. If a UCL employee is in receipt of occupational maternity pay (OMP) or occupational adoption pay (OAP), they may not simultaneously receive OSPP.

25.  Starting from the first day of ShPL, the UCL employee may be entitled to up to a maximum of 16 weeks’ OSPP, during which they will receive their normal rate of pay. The number of weeks of OSPP available will depend on the number of weeks of occupational paid leave taken by either parent within the first 18 weeks following the birth/adoption, whether this be occupational maternity pay, occupational adoption pay or occupational shared parental pay. Depending on the number of weeks of occupational paid leave taken, this will reduce the number of weeks paid leave the UCL employee is entitled to under UCL’s occupational scheme.

26. Any Statutory Shared Parental Pay (SSPP) which an employee may be entitled to is included in OSPP. No combination of payments during this period will exceed the employee’s normal full pay.

27. To calculate an employee’s potential entitlement to OSPP, UCL will require both partners to confirm how much occupational paid maternity/adoption/shared parental leave they intend to take. This applies whether one or both parents work for UCL. A failure to disclose this information may result in an application for OSPP being refused.

28. Payment of OSPP commences simultaneously with the beginning of the ShPL period and is paid monthly in arrears (in the same way salary is paid).

Statutory Shared Parental Pay (SSPP)

29. 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 Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC), or week in which they are matched for adoption; and they

  • 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 

30. SSPP is paid up to a maximum of 37 weeks. SSPP may be claimed after the compulsory two-week period of maternity leave immediately following the birth of the child. The number of weeks’ SSPP available will depend on the number of weeks of paid leave that has already taken by either partner as maternity/adoption/shared parental leave. For example, if the birth parent has taken 22 weeks’ paid maternity leave, their partner will be entitled to a maximum of 17 weeks’ SSPP.

31. SSPP is a shared entitlement. In order to calculate an employee’s potential entitlement to SSPP, UCL will require both partners to confirm how much paid maternity/adoption/shared parental leave they intend to take. This applies whether one or both parents work for UCL.

32. SSPP is paid at a rate fixed by Government, or 90% of average weekly earnings if this is lower.  

33. The final 13 weeks of ShPL are unpaid.

34. Payments of OSPP and SSPP are not transferred between organisations and any OSPP or SSPP due to either parent will be paid by the respective employer. 

Keeping in contact during Shared Parental Leave

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

36. 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.

37. 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.

Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days

38. 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 can work 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.

39. 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 the activities to be completed during a SPLIT day should be agreed in advance.

40. 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

41. 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 OSPP or SSPP they are receiving at the time the SPLIT day is taken. Payment for SPLIT days is funded by the relevant departmental budget.

42. 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 the Pensions Team for further information.

43. Employees should complete the online KIT/SPLIT Day form, with the dates worked and if this was a full or half day. Once signed by the Line Manager, this will be sent to the Departmental Administrator/Local HR Contact who will raise this payment via Departmental Transactions using the “KIT Day Payment” pay element. This should be submitted on, or after the SPLIT day has been worked.

Continuity of Employment

44. 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.

Annual Leave

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

46. 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.

Authorised Deductions from Pay

47. 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.

48. 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.

Returning to Work

49. 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.

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

51. 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.

52. 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 Flexible Working 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 3 months, therefore as much notice as possible should be given when requesting a change in working hours.

Ending Employment

53. 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.

54. There is no requirement to repay any OSPP or SSPP if an employee resigns during their Shared Parental leave. Employees will be paid in lieu of any accrued untaken holiday, bank holidays and closure days.

55. If an employee's post is potentially at risk of redundancy or their contract is due to end during their shared parental leave, they will be consulted as appropriate in accordance with the Termination Procedure or Organisational Change Procedure. Consultation meetings can be held online or via telephone calls as agreed between the employee and their line manager.

If an employee who is on shared parental leave, or has recently returned from shared parental leave, is potentially at risk of redundancy or their contract is due to end, they will have priority status for redeployment opportunities in line with the Redeployment Procedure.

UCL will pay the appropriate OSPP entitlement until the last day of employment. After this date, if an employee is entitled to any SSP, this will be paid as a lump sum in their final payslip, plus any outstanding annual leave.

Financial Assistance for Departments 

56. 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.

Monitoring of Policy

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


Shared parental leave flowchart

HR Policy Team

April 2024