Falkirk Council is committed to providing flexible working opportunities for employees, and this flexibility includes Shared Parental Leave (SPL). SPL is designed to give parents more flexibility in deciding how to share the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption.

Eligibility criteria can be found in the Family Leave Policy. If you are eligible you can share up to 50 weeks leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between both parents during the child's first year. You can take it in turns or take time off together to look after your child.

If you intend to take SPL you should contact your manager to arrange an informal discussion as early as possible about your leave request.

Your manager should arrange a meeting with you to discuss how you plan to use your SPL entitlement.

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Informing of planned shared parental leave

If you wish to take SPL you must send a copy of the Notice of Shared Parental Leave form to the HR Helpdesk giving a minimum of 8 weeks notice.

This informs us of your intention to take SPL and provides information on when the mother/adopter wishes to end (curtail) their maternity leave, which will allow SPL to take place.

If you are the mother/main adopter, you also need to complete the 2nd page.

Notice of Shared Parental Leave Form

The partner can start their SPL whilst the mother/main adopter is on maternity/adoption leave, as long as they have confirmed the date they will curtail their maternity/adoption leave.

A separate notice to book leave is required once you wish to request specific dates of leave.

Adoption or surrogacy

In addition to the notice of entitlement and intention, adoptive parents must also confirm:

  • the date the parents were notified as having been matched with the child
  • the date the child is expected to be placed with the parents and
  • a declaration from the parents and consent to the amount of time the other parent intends to take

Evidence of eligibility in this case will be copies of documents issued by the adoption agency confirming the date the parents were matched with the child.

For surrogacy arrangements, if the intended parents have applied, or intend to apply, for a parental order then, subject to meeting qualifying conditions, the nominated primary adopter will be entitled to take adoption leave and pay and to end their adoption leave early and move onto SPL.

Booking notice

You must use the booking notice to book SPL at least 8 weeks before the start date of the first period of SPL to be taken by you. However, the earlier you inform your manager of your intentions, the more likely it is that they will be able to accommodate your request, particularly if you want to take periods of discontinuous leave.

Shared Parental Leave Booking Notice

Within 14 days of receiving a booking notice from you, whether the mother/adopter or partner, we will require the following information from you:

  • a copy of the child's birth certificate (or, if the child has not been born, a copy of the birth certificate within 14 days of the birth - if the birth certificate has yet to be issued after this period, we can accept a signed declaration stating the date and location of the child's birth or a copy of the MATB1) and
  • the name and address of the other parent's employer (or a declaration that the other parent has no employer)

You have 14 days from the date of the request to send us the required information.

You can provide a total of up to 3 booking notices per pregnancy (including the original request).

Withdrawal of shared parental leave

If you wish to withdraw your notice to end (curtail) your maternity leave, this must be in writing. The notice to curtail maternity can be withdrawn if:

  • the mother/adopter has not returned to work
  • it is discovered that neither the mother/adopter nor the partner are entitled to SPL or statutory shared parental pay (ShPP) and the mother withdraws her notice to curtail her maternity within 8 weeks of providing her Notice of Entitlement and Shared Parental Leave Form
  • The Notice of Entitlement and Shared Parental Leave Form was provided before the birth of the child and, and the wish is to withdraw this within 6 weeks of the child's birth
  • the partner has died

If a mother and her partner have already started a period of SPL or agreed a period of SPL which is due to start within 8 weeks following the withdrawal, they may be required to be absent from work on unpaid leave for some or all of this period. We are under no obligation to accept an employee back to work with no notice.

Variation or cancellation of notice of entitlement and intention

You can vary or cancel your proposed SPL dates after you have submitted a booking notice. You must provide us with written notice not less than 8 weeks before any period of leave varied or cancelled by the notice is due to commence. The written notice can:

  • vary the start date or the end date of any period of SPL or cancel a request for leave
  • request that a continuous period of leave become discontinuous periods of leave or
  • request that discontinuous periods of leave become a continuous period of leave

If you indicate that you wish to take leave using a variation notice, this is non-binding until you provide a booking notice in relation to the new period of leave being requested.

Continuous period of shared parental leave

If you submit a booking notice requesting one continuous period of leave, you will be entitled to take that period of leave as long as you have followed the correct notification process. You should discuss this with your manager before you submit a leave request.

Discontinuous periods of shared parental leave

If you submit a notice requesting discontinuous periods of leave, in the 2 weeks beginning with the date the notice was submitted, we can:

  • consent to the pattern of leave requested
  • propose an alternative pattern of leave or
  • refuse the pattern of leave requested. If the decision is taken to refuse the leave, your manager must provide clear reasons for this to you.

Any response to you should be in writing. If agreement is reached within those 2 weeks, you are entitled to take the leave on the dates agreed.

If no agreement has been reached within that 2 week discussion period, you are entitled to take the leave as one continuous period of leave. In that event, you must choose a start date for the leave that is at least 8 weeks from the date on which the leave notice was originally submitted. You must notify us of that date within 5 days of the end of the 2 week discussion period. If you do not choose a start date within this time frame, the period of continuous leave will start on the date of the first period of leave originally requested.

Alternatively, if your manager has refused the request or no agreement has been reached during the 2-week discussion period, you may withdraw your booking notice requesting discontinuous periods of leave. You can withdraw this at any time on or before the 15th day after the notice was submitted. A notice for discontinuous leave that has been withdrawn before it is agreed does not count towards the total number of requests for leave that you can make (maximum 3 requests).

Shared parental pay (ShPP)

Only ShPP is payable to either party for the duration of the SPL period.

ShPP is available for eligible parents to share between them while on SPL. The number of weeks ShPP available to the parents will depend on when the mother has curtailed her maternity leave and how much statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance the mother/adopter has been paid when her maternity leave or pay period ends.

A total of 39 weeks statutory pay is available to the mother/adopter. As there is a compulsory maternity leave period of 2 weeks, this means that a mother who ends her maternity leave at the earliest opportunity could share up to 37 weeks ShPP with her partner.

It is up to the parents to identify the periods of leave they are taking as SPL in order that the appropriate rate of ShPP is paid. In all cases SPL will be paid at the ShPP only (maximum 37 weeks). If the mother ends her maternity leave before any occupational maternity/adoption pay has ended, this will be lost once the mother commences SPL.