The London School of Economics and Political Science


What contractual pay is offered to mothers* on maternity leave? 18 weeks
What contractual pay and leave is being offered to fathers/other parent who opt to take SPL? 16 weeks (plus 2 weeks paternity leave)
Does contractual pay have to be repaid if the employees does not to return? No
Will entitlement to SPL be reduced according to SML already taken? Yes
Is your contractual Shared Parental Pay reduced by the number of weeks of SMP received by the mother? Yes
Can SPL be taken from day one of employment? No
Is it tied to the date of the child’s birth? No
Are there any limitations on how SPL can be taken ie minimum continuous block? No
Do you incentivise certain patterns of leave? No
Do you offer a bonus on return from SPL if minimum period it taken? No

*or primary adopter

How are you communicating and encouraging people to take SPL?

  • An article in ‘Staff News’ which was sent to all employees on the 9th April 2015:

Shared Parental Leave

In line with recent legislation, a new Shared Parental Leave (SPL) Policy and Procedure, applicable to parents who had a baby or adopted a child on or after 5 April 2015, can be found on the HR website.

Following a minimum two weeks’ compulsory maternity or adoption leave immediately after the birth or adoption, a mother or primary adopter can choose to bring their maternity or adoption leave to an end and share any remaining entitlement with their partner. This means that parents can take time off together to care for their family and also take separate blocks of leave to share responsibility for child care between them. This should help staff to ‘bring up baby’, manage their careers and promote gender equality at LSE.

As with the arrangements put in place for maternity leave pay and Additional Parental Leave (APL) (APL ceased to be available for parents of babies or children matched/placed for adoption after 4 April 2015), SPL pay is enhanced for mothers and fathers providing they meet the qualifying criteria. Entitlement to enhanced pay is related to the qualifying service for statutory payments.

Employees may find it useful to read the good news stories in ‘Media articles about LSE support for parents‘ and the Best Practice Report to see how some parents successfully used APL to share childcare and maintain their careers. SPL allows even more flexibility for parents.”

  • A ‘Family Friendly Benefits’ webpage ,which includes information on the policy and procedure, which can be accessed through the HR webpage
  • Inclusion in the A-Z list on the HR webpage
  • HR Advisors provide one-to-one advice and support to prospective parents and parents-to-be.

Can you describe what wider cultural changes needed to support SPL are being implemented?

The LSE offers academic employees, who are absent for more than 18 weeks, a teaching- and administrative-free term on full pay to catch up on research. This Research Leave can be an enormous support to the careers of academic staff. It was introduced at the time that Additional Paternity Leave was in place and was taken up by academics who have publicly expressed their appreciation and the made it clear that it benefits the LSE as well as themselves:

“It’s a challenge in your mid-career when many women are having children these days, often in academia because they want to wait until they have a stable position. You get more opportunities as you become more successful in your career, but juggling opportunities you feel you can’t refuse with young children can be hard. You want to look after your child, but don’t want to put your career on hold”.  Furthermore, she stated: “I signed up to conferences when I was pregnant and was preparing conference papers on research leave. Maternity leave is such a short time in a career and because the conference cycle is often annual I did not feel I had been out of circulation and could keep up to date. The research leave policy has so many benefits to both parents and employers. Other institutions should implement similar policies.”

“It’s a win-win for us and LSE”  “and it’s something LSE should be proud of. If employers help staff during moments of change it makes them more productive. When I talk to colleagues at other institutions I realise that what LSE is doing is very pioneering and off the radar.” Also, he stated “This makes an enormous difference to our wellbeing as a family. The childcare is genuinely shared. If employers are genuinely committed to equality this kind of scheme is a must. It has allowed us to institutionalise a fair childcare system and keep both our careers on track.”

What do you expect take up of SPL amongst fathers to be? Have you surveyed your employees about SPL and uptake?  Other surveys have shown that mothers may be unwilling to relinquish maternity leave: have you detected similar?

It is a little early to say what the expected take up will be for sure. What can be stated is that, before the 5th April, the HR advisors were approached for advice from fathers-to-be and it is anticipated that positive experiences will be spread through word-of-mouth, particularly from those academics that can show tangible benefits of taking SPL and Research Leave. We have not surveyed our employees about SPL and uptake. We have not detected that mothers will be unwilling to relinquish maternity leave, our experience of academic couples who have taken maternity leave and APL suggests that women employees are pleased that their partners have taken leave to look after their children

Do you have any insight into how parents might like to take SPL? Which is best for your business in terms of planning?

If the experience of the uptake by academic employees of APL is mirrored, parents will take SPL in a way that helps with their research output, which is mutually beneficial for both parties (i.e. good for the careers of the employees and the research reputation of the LSE).