Law guide: Workplace

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Terms and conditions during shared parental leave

Terms and conditions during shared parental leave

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Terms of employment contact

If you're an employee, during shared parental leave (SPL) you should receive all your contractual benefits that you're entitled to under the terms of your employment (except wages or salary). These benefits include those such as gym memberships or medical insurance, but not commission payments.

Your rights will accrue for any employment-related benefit schemes.

Pension contributions

Your employer should continue to pay its contributions towards any workplace pension scheme while you're on SPL. However, usually your employer's obligation to pay these contributions will end once you can no longer receive statutory shared parental pay (SSPP), unless your employment contract says otherwise.

If your pension scheme rules state that you must do so, you must continue to pay your pension contributions. This must be based on the amount of SSPP (or contractually enhanced SSPP if this is available) that you receive during any period that you're receiving SSPP. However, you can still make voluntary contributions if your pension scheme allows you to do so.

Annual leave

You'll continue to accrue your statutory 5.6 weeks' annual leave entitlement during SPL, as well as any contractual entitlement that you might have.

Your employer should allow you to take annual leave before and/or after your SPL.

If your employer's holiday year ends while you're on SPL and you have unused holiday entitlement, you can only carry this over if your employment contract or a collective agreement allows you to. In this case, you can carry over up to a maximum of 1.6 weeks.

Your employer can't pay you in lieu of any untaken statutory annual leave unless your contract is ended.

Contact during leave

The general rule is that if an employee works for their employer during their SPL, this will bring their SPL and SSPP to an end. This doesn't include 'keeping in touch' days (see below). However, your employer can still contact you and you can still contact them, whether by telephone, email, letter or a meeting in the workplace.

'Keeping in touch' days

An employee can come to work for up to 20 days during their SPL to keep in touch with the workplace without affecting their right to SPL or SSPP. These 'keeping in touch' (KIT) days must be agreed between you and your employer. Therefore, you're not obliged to take a KIT day, nor is your employer obliged to offer, request or agree to you working a KIT day.

The KIT days will be in addition to any 'keep in touch days' taken by you during maternity leave.

During KIT days, you can carry out your normal day-to-day work, but you can also take part in other activities that would help you keep in touch with your workplace, such as attending conferences, training days or team meetings.

Any work done on a KIT day will count as one KIT day. So, if you came into your workplace to attend a training session or meeting for 30 minutes, you'll have used up one of your KIT days.

Payment for KIT days

Your employer must continue to pay SSPP if you're receiving it when you work a KIT day.

The SSPP can count towards any contractual pay you agree with your employer for working a KIT day.

Any KIT days that you work won't extend your SPL period, nor your entitlement to SSPP.

Returning to work

You will have a right to return to a job with the same seniority and pension rights. You'll also have the right to return to a job with similar rights and the same terms and conditions (including remuneration) that are as favourable as they would have been had you not taken leave.

After taking shared parental leave (SPL), you'll have a right to return to work to the same job that you had before you took a period of SPL. However, this might not be the case if you take a period of SPL that:

  • followed 2 or more consecutive periods of leave that included a period of additional maternity leave or adoption leave, or a period of more than 4 weeks' parental leave; or
  • when combined with a period of other leave, such as paternity, maternity or adoption leave, equals more than 26 weeks.

In these cases, you will be able to return to the same job unless it isn't reasonably possible for your employer to allow you to do so. If it's not, you'll still be entitled to return to another job that is both suitable and appropriate for you to do.