Employment benefits during SPL

Employees taking SPL are entitled to benefit from all the terms and conditions of their employment, (except for remuneration), as if they had not been absent from work, as is the case under the maternity and paternity rules. Whilst on SPL, employees also continue to be bound by any obligations in those terms and conditions (except that they do not need to attend work). 

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As is the case with maternity, adoption and paternity leave, employees on SPL will continue to accrue annual leave whilst on SPL. 

It is not possible for an employee to take annual leave at the same time as SPL, but departments may ask an employee to take any accrued annual leave prior to their SPL. Departments may also ask that an employee takes at least 28 days' annual leave (the annual statutory holiday requirement) before they go on SPL, if they will not return to work before the end of the current annual leave year. 

In the event that a SPL period crosses over two annual leave years, departments may ask an employee returning to work to use up the balance of their annual leave from the leave year that has ended at the end of the SPL period. Alternatively, the accrued leave can be taken at the end of SPL, if agreed with the department in advance. 

Departments retain the right to make annual leave arrangements with their employees to fit in with operational requirements. Employees must agree when they will take annual leave in advance with their department. 

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If an employee becomes seriously ill and is unable to care for the child they might not be entitled to take/carry on with SPL. In such cases, it may be appropriate to pay employees sick pay instead of ShPP. Before making any changes to an employee’s pay, departments should contact their HR Business Partner for advice on how to proceed. 

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If an employee is a member of a University pension scheme, their normal employee pension contributions will continue to be deducted at the appropriate rate while they are on full pay and when they are on statutory ShPP. The University will also continue to make its contributions at the appropriate rate. When the employee is on zero pay, no contributions are payable by either them or the University. 

If, when an employee returns to work, they would like to make up the pensions contributions that they did not pay because of reduced or zero pay during a period of SPL, the employee may do so. The University’s Pensions Office will be able to advise the employee on their individual situation. 

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If a redundancy situation arises while an employee is on Shared Parental Leave or has returned from ShPL and the child was born or placed within the past 18 months, departments must contact their HR Business Partner before initiating end of fixed term contract or redundancy procedures.

Under the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, any employee who has taken a period of ShPL that is a minimum of 6 continuous weeks will have enhanced protection from redundancy for a period of 18 months from the birth or placement of the child if they are considered to be at risk of redundancy (typically this would be during the final 3 months of a fixed term contract, or any redundancy warning period when they are considered to be a priority candidate). This protection means that they should be given priority consideration for redeployment opportunities.

Whilst every effort should be made to support redeployment, there is no guarantee that suitable redeployment will be found:  suitable alternative employment (ie where the postholder meets at least the minimum essential selection criteria for the role) may not arise during the relevant period of time.

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