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Topic: Work and parents

letter refusing discontinuous periods of SPL
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Letter refusing discontinuous periods of SPL

Letter refusing discontinuous periods of SPL

If you refuse an employee’s request for discontinuous shared parental leave (SPL), the default position is that they are then entitled to take the total amount of SPL requested as a continuous block. However, the statutory provisions are more complicated than that so use our letter to set out the relevant requirements.

Two choices

Whilst the default position here is that the employee can still take their SPL requested but as a single, continuous block (instead of as discontinuous periods), they actually have another choice. That is they have the right to withdraw their period of leave notice requesting discontinuous SPL on or before the 15th day after the notice was originally given. If the employee does this, the withdrawn notice will not then count towards the limit of three period of leave/variation notices that they can submit in total. So, they can then submit an entirely new request for either continuous or discontinuous SPL. However, once the 15th day after the period of leave notice was given has passed, any subsequent withdrawal of it must be done by way of a variation notice and this time it will count towards the cap of three period of leave/variation notices.

Start date

Where the default position applies, the employee must choose a start date for their SPL that falls at least eight weeks after the date on which the period of leave notice was originally given and notify you of that start date within five days of the end of the two-week discussion period. If the employee fails to choose a start date and notify it to you within that timescale, their leave will commence on the start date of the first period of SPL that was requested in their period of leave notice. Our Letter Refusing Discontinuous Periods of SPL sets out the two choices open to the employee where you have rejected their request for discontinuous SPL and what they now need to do to properly action either of those choices.

Discontinuous SPL without agreement

Assuming the first period of leave notice related to only part of the employee’s SPL entitlement, unfortunately they will still be able to take SPL in a maximum of three discontinuous blocks even if you don’t agree, simply by serving three separate period of leave notices in respect of each discrete, single block of SPL. So employees can play the system to their advantage and still take up to three discontinuous periods of SPL, but of course this will mean they cannot later submit any variation notices to vary or cancel a period of SPL if they have already exhausted the limit of three notices.

No liaison required

Where the two parents or adopters work for different employers, there’s no requirement for you to confer with the other employer or to reach agreement with them as to the pattern of discontinuous SPL proposed to be taken by the two employees. 

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