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Shared Parental Leave: Notice and booking

Last updated: 15 Apr 2021

This article gives detailed guidance on how to give notice and book Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Pay (ShPP). For more information, see our other articles on sharing leave with a partner or splitting up leave and eligibility for leave.

Note: The provisions for adopters and parents of a child born through surrogacy are very similar so for simplicity we only refer in this article to parents (birth parent and partner), which includes same-sex couples. For more information, see our article on Shared Parental Leave for parents using adoption or surrogacy.

How to take Shared Parental Leave

If you have checked your eligibility for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and decided that you intend to take SPL, there are a number of notification requirements.

To take SPL, there are three notices that you and your partner must give:

  1. Curtailment Notice: The birth parent must give at least 8 weeks’ notice that she will end her maternity (or adoption) leave early and ‘curtail’ her maternity pay (if necessary). This notice is binding.
  2. Notice of Entitlement and Intention: The partner taking SPL must give their employer written notice that they are entitled to SPL, and how much they intend to take. This notice is non-binding.
  3. Booking Notice: The partner taking SPL will need to give their employer at least 8 weeks’ notice of the SPL they will take. This notice is binding, and is called ‘booking’ SPL.

More information on each of these types of notices is set out below. We have also included sample notices for you to use to take SPL, but you should check with your employer – they may have forms they would like you to use to book SPL.

Curtailment Notice

The first type of notice is the ‘notice of curtailment’. The birth parent (who is entitled to maternity leave, adoption leave, Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) or Maternity Allowance (MA)) must notify her employer that will end her leave early and ‘curtail’ her pay (if necessary). If receiving MA, the birth parent must curtail her pay with Jobcentre plus.

This notice should be given at least 8 weeks before the date the birth parent plans to return to work. Remember that you cannot curtail maternity leave until at least two weeks after birth (or four weeks if you work in a factory).

If you submit the notice before birth, you can change your mind up to six weeks after birth (or before the curtailment date, whichever is sooner). You should give this notice in writing. After this time period, the birth parent cannot cancel it except in very limited circumstances, e.g. if neither partner is entitled to SPL.

Remember that leave and pay can only be curtailed by whole weeks. You cannot curtail leave or pay less than one week before the entitlement period.

Sample Curtailment Notice

[INSERT DATE]

Dear [employer],

I am writing to advise you that I would like to end my maternity leave / adoption leave / Statutory Maternity Pay / Statutory Adoption Pay early in order to take Shared Parental Leave and Pay OR in order for my partner to take Shared Parental Leave and Pay.

I would like my maternity leave / adoption leave to come to an end on [INSERT DATE].

I would like my Statutory Maternity Pay / Statutory Adoption Pay to come to an end on [INSERT DATE].

I am submitting a Notice of Entitlement and Intention to take SPL with this notice.

OR

My partner is submitting a Notice of Entitlement and Intention to take SPL to his/her employer and I have completed the necessary declarations on that notice.

Sincerely,

[SIGNED]

Curtailing Maternity Allowance

If you are on MA and your partner is eligible for SPL or ShPP and want to access this scheme, contact the Jobcentre Plus.

You must give at least 8 weeks’ notice that you want to end your MA early. The end date must be the last date of your benefit week. For example, if your MA began on a Tuesday, the benefit week will end on the following Monday, if it began on a Wednesday, it will end on the following Tuesday.

Notice of Entitlement and Intention

The second is the ‘notice of entitlement’. You must notify your employer that you are entitled to, and intend to take, SPL. This notice must be given at least 8 weeks before the first block of SPL is taken.

The notice should include the following:

  • How many weeks of maternity leave the birth parent has taken, or intends to take;
  • How many weeks of SPL and pay is available to the birth parent and her partner;
  • How many weeks each parent intends to take as SPL; and
  • An indication of how you will take the SPL (this indication is not binding)

The notice should be signed by both parents; and include a declaration from the other parent that confirms that, at the time of the birth, they will share responsibility for the care of the child, meet the employment and earnings test and agree to the amount of SPL given to the employee.

Sample Notice of Entitlement and Intention

[INSERT DATE]

Dear [employer],

As you know, my partner and I are expecting a baby on [DATE]. This is my notice of entitlement and intention to take Shard Parental Leave and Pay.

My name: [give your name here and state whether your relationship to the babe and/or the birth mother or primary adopter]

My partner’s name: [give the other parent’s name here and their relationship to the baby]

Start and end dates for maternity/adoption leave: [give the intended start and end dates of maternity or adoption leave]

Start and end dates for maternity/adoption pay: [give the intended start and end dates of maternity or adoption pay]

Total amount of Shared Parental Leave available: [this will be 52 weeks minus the number of weeks of maternity leave/SMP/MA the mother intends to take]

Amount of Shared Parental Leave we intend to take: [you should indicate how much SPL you each intend to take]

Total amount of Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) available: [this will be 39 weeks minus the number of weeks of SMP/MA the mother intends to take]

Amount of ShPP we intend to take: [explain how much ShPP you each intend to take]

Indication of dates you will take leave and pay: I intend to take Shared Parental Leave from [INSERT START DATE] to [INSERT END DATE]. I intend to take Shared Parental Pay from [INSERT START DATE] to [INSERT END DATE].

Please note that these dates should be treated as non-binding until I give a booking notice OR I am enclosing a booking notice herewith.

DECLARATIONS

Partner: I confirm that I am [RELATIONSHIP TO BABY] and/or [RELATIONSHIP TO PARTNER], and I will be sharing childcare responsibility with my partner. I satisfy the conditions to take Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay, and my partner intends to curtail her maternity leave / adoption leave and Statutory Matenrity Pay / Statutory Adoption Pay. The information I have given in this notice is accurate and I will inform you immediately if I stop caring for the child or if my partner informs me that she has not ended her entitlement to statutory leave and/or pay.

Signed: [give your signature]

Birth parent: My name is [INSERT NAME], my address is [INSERT ADDRESS] and my National Insurance number is [INSERT NI NUMBER]. I am [INSERT RELATIONSHIP TO CHILD] and [INSERT RETLATIONSHIP TO PARTNER]. I confirm that I satisfy the conditions to enable my partner to take Shared Parental Leave and/or Shared Parental Pay. I am entitled to maternity leave / adoption leave and Statutory Matenrity Pay / Maternity Allowance / Statutory Adoption Pay and will be giving notice to end my leave and pay early. I give my consent to my partner to take this amount of Shared Parental Leave and/or Shared Parental Pay. I confirm that my entitlement to leave will start on [DATE] and I intend to reduce it by [NUMBER OF WEEKS]. I confirm that my entitlement to pay will start on [DATE] and I intend to reduce it by [NUMBER OF WEEKS]. I will inform my partner immediately if I stop meeting the condition that my statutory leave and pay are reduced. I consent to you processing this information so that you can give my partner Shared Parental Leave and Shared Parental Pay.

Signed: [give your signature]

Booking Notice

In order to take SPL, you must submit a ‘booking notice’ to your employer at least 8 weeks before you intend to take your leave. Each partner who wants to take SPL must submit a booking notice to their employer. You may submit up to a maximum of 3 booking notices (or variation notices) unless your employer agrees you can submit more.

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) can be taken in up to 3 blocks (or more with your employer’s agreement). You can book one block of SPL, or you can book up to 3 blocks. The blocks can be continuous or discontinuous.

It is important to note that employers do not have to agree to discontinuous leave if it is booked in one notice. It is a good idea to have a discussion with your employer early about what they might agree to, or to submit your booking notices separately for discontinuous leave. They do have to agree if you discontinuous blocks of leave in separate booking notices.

Sample Booking Notice (one block, continuous)

[DATE]

Dear [employer],

My entitlement to Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is [NUMBER] weeks. This notice is to book a period of [NUMBER] weeks of SPL.

I will be taking a continuous period of leave from [DATE] to [DAATE].

My entitlement to Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) is [NUMBER] weeks.

During my period of SPL I would like to receive [NUMBER] weeks ShPP.

I would like this paid from [DATE] to [DATE].

I understand this counts as 1 of my 3 notices to book leave and I have [NUMBER] notices remaining.

Yours sincerely,
[SIGNATURE]

Sample Booking Notice (two blocks, discontinuous)

[DATE]

Dear [employer],

My entitlement to Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is [NUMBER] weeks.

I would like to take Shared Parental Leave in the following blocks:

  • from [DATE] to [DATE], and
  • from [DATE] to [DATE]

I understand that you do not have to agree to this and that if we do not reach an agreement within 14 days of the date I gave this notice, I must either withdraw the notice 15 days after the notice date or take the total amount of SPL requested in this booking as one continuous leave.

I understand my leave will begin on the start date of the first block of leave I requested unless I notify you within 19 days of the notice date of a different start date. A new start date must be at least 8 weeks after the notice date.

My entitlement to Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) is [NUMBER] weeks. During my SPL I would like to receive [NUMBER] weeks of ShPP.

I would like to be paid ShPP:

  • from [DATE] to [DATE], and
  • from [DATE] to [DATE]

I understand this counts as 1 of my 3 notices to book leave and I have [NUMBER] notices remaining.

Yours sincerely,

[Signature]

Sample Notice to Vary Leave

[DATE]

Dear [employer],

A. I am writing to cancel Shared Parental Leave (SPL) I’d booked for the following dates: from [DATE] to [DATE].

I understand I have [NUMBER] of my 3 notices left to use.

To my understanding, I have [NUMBER] of weeks of my total SPL entitlement remaining.


B. I am writing to change the dates of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) I have booked. The original dates were from [DATE] to DATE for [NUMBER] of weeks of leave.

The new date/s I wish to book are [DATE] to [DATE].

I would like my Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) to be paid from [DATE] to [DATE].

I understand this counts as 1 of my 3 notices and that I have [NUMBER] notices left to use.

To my understanding, I have [NUMBER] of weeks of my total SPL entitlement remaining.

Yours sincerely,

[Signature]

If you need more information on notice and booking SPL, see model booking notices on the gov.uk website. The ACAS website also has a number of forms and templates.


This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.

If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.

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The information on the law contained on this site is provided free of charge and does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. If you are not a solicitor, you are advised to obtain specific legal advice about your case or matter and not to rely solely on this information. Law and guidance is changing regularly in this area.