Shared Parental Leave Policy
The Church in Wales encourages clergy to have a balance between their work and family commitments, believing that it ensures a more effective and efficient workforce.
This Shared Parental Leave Policy has been developed to provide clergy with guidance as to their entitlements and the procedure to follow for shared parental leave.
Eligible clergy can opt to take Shared Parental Leave (SPL) when they (or their partner) has ended, or given notice to end, Statutory Maternity or Adoption Leave. SPL applies to babies due to be born on or after 5 April 2015.
SPL allows the mother/adopter and her partner to share the leave.
The leave can be split in a ‘continuous’ way. This would mean that one partner would take a period of leave, and then the other partner would take the remainder of the leave. Alternatively, the leave can be ‘discontinuous’. This would mean that one partner takes some leave, then the other, and then the first partner takes some more leave, etc. It could also mean that the two partners take some leave at the same time.
The leave taken by the two partners when added together must not total more than 52 weeks. Leave must be taken in minimum units of one week.
To be eligible to take SPL the cleric must be eligible to take SAL or SML, or be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) or Maternity Allowance (MA).
In addition, the mother or adopter must share responsibility for raising the child with the child’s father or her partner.
As well as these requirements there is a ‘continuity test’ which will be applied to determine eligibility:
- One parent of the two who are applying to take SPL must have held office in the Church in Wales for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child is due to be born (referred to as the Expected Week of Confinement – EWC) or the week in which the adopter is notified of having been matched with a child. The parent must still be in office in the first week that SPL is to be taken.
- The other parent must have worked/ held office for 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the date that the baby is due /placed and must have earned above the Maternity Allowance threshold in 13 of those 66 weeks.
Entitlement to Pay
Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) will be identical to SMP. The amount will be paid to whichever partner is taking the leave. As with SMP and SAP, it will only be payable for 39 weeks, even though the total leave can be up to 52 weeks.
To be eligible for Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) the parent must pass the continuity test and have earned an average of the lower earnings limit or more for the eight weeks prior to the 15th week before the EWC/week that the adopter is notified of the placement.
Notification of taking leave
The cleric is required to give the diocese at least 8 weeks’ notice that s/he intends to take SPL. As long as there is some outstanding SML or SAL the cleric can opt to take SPL at any time.
If the request is to take a continuous period of SPL the Diocese cannot refuse. However, the Diocese can refuse a request to take a discontinuous period of SPL and ask for the leave to be taken as a continuous period of absence.
A cleric cannot make more than three requests for a block of leave.
Each parent who is intending to take SPL must give the following information to their Archdeacon when giving notice of their intention:
- how much leave is available
- how much leave they are entitled to take
- how much leave their partner is taking
- how they expect to take the leave
- their partner’s name, and confirmation that they are sharing childcare responsibility with this child
- a signed declaration from the partner stating their name, address and National Insurance number, that they satisfy the requirements for SPL and ShPP and that they agree to the employee taking SPL and ShPP.
Once this information has been given the Archdeacon can choose to ask for the following information: (The request must be made within 14 days of receiving the notice.)
- a copy of the child’s birth certificate
- the name and address of the partner’s employer.
If this information is requested the cleric must supply it within 14 days.
Withdrawing from Shared Parental Leave
The mother/adopter can withdraw from the decision to take SPL if both:
- the planned end date of SML/SAL has not yet arrived
- they have not returned to duty.
In addition, one of the following must apply:
- the cleric has discovered during the eight week notice period that neither of the couple is eligible for SPL or ShPP
- the mother/adopter’s partner has died
- the mother tells her employer/ the Archdeacon that she is withdrawing from SPL less than six weeks after the birth (this presumes that she gave notice of her intention to take SPL prior to the birth).
A request for discontinuous leave can be refused. In addition the Diocese can decide to give no response to a leave notification.
In either of these two situations the cleric can withdraw the notification of their intention to take SPL on or before the 15th day after the notification was originally made. If they do this it will not count as one of their three notifications. If they do not do this then they must take the total amount of leave that they notified in one continuous block. The cleric can choose when to start this leave period, as long as they do so within 19 days of the date and as long as the leave does not start within 19 days that the notification was given to the Archdeacon and as long as it does not start earlier than the date that the cleric initially gave as the intended start date. If the cleric does not give a new start date then it will begin on the starting date given in the original notification.
Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) Days
Those taking SML or SAL are entitled to take up to ten ‘Keeping in Touch’ days (referred to as KIT days). These days can be worked during SML or SAL with no effect on entitlement to SMP or SAP. It is not compulsory to work a KIT day, and a cleric cannot insist that the Diocese allows her to work a KIT day. The law does not state that a KIT day must be paid, but the Diocese can opt to make a payment. These KIT days will remain.
In addition, each partner taking SPL will be entitled to take up to 20 ‘Shared parental leave in touch’ (SPLIT) days. The same rules apply as for KIT days – SPLIT days are optional, and there is no right to payment.
Returning to Work
A cleric returning from a total of 26 weeks or less of SPL has the right to return to the original office held.
A cleric returning from a total of more than 26 weeks of SPL has the right to return to their old office held or, if this is not possible, to a role of the same status and with the same terms and conditions as their old role.
Advice on the application of these provisions can be obtained from the following:
HR Department 2 Callaghan Square, Cardiff, CF10 5BT
Stipends Section 2 Callaghan Square, Cardiff, CF10 5BT