A step by step guide to applying for SPL
Step 1 - Check you are eligible
Visit our Eligibility page and use the tool on the government website to confirm you are eligible.
Step 2 - Ask your school for their SPL/ SPP policy
Confirm whether SPP includes any enhanced pay or if it is the minimum of statutory pay.
Step 3 - Work out how you can best take your blocks of leave
You will have an initial block of maternity leave, followed by up to 3 blocks of SPL. You will also need to decide whether your partner/ the child's father also wishes to take any SPL. Have a look at our case studies for examples of how other teachers have used SPL.
**NEW** Watch my new video for a step by step guide on how to plan you leave on an excel spreadsheet and how to fill in the forms ***Edit - please be aware that many schools will only accept both Maternity and SPL in whole weeks so I would advise doing this. Your return to work period does not have to be in whole weeks, so if for example you started your leave on a Wednesday, you'd need to stay on mat leave until the Tuesday in the holidays, return to work from the weds, and then you could start your first block of SPL on the Monday. If you have a choice it is always easiest to start your maternity leave on a Monday.
Step 4 - Complete the SPL paperwork
Your school/ academy may have their own paperwork, if not you can use the forms provided by ACAS. What paperwork is required will depend on whether your partner is intending to take leave. The table below indicates the paperwork that needs to be filled in:
The relevant forms can all be downloaded here:
(Sourced from the Gov website here)
You are legally entitled to take 3 blocks of SPL. If you apply in one application (one form 2) then your employer can come back to you and ask you to reconsider any blocks of discontinuous leave. However, if you submit a separate form 2 for each block of leave you wish to take, up to three, then they can not stop your application. I therefore recommend that each block of leave is applied for separately on its own Form 2 to save any discussion around whether you should be taking the leave in the way you are proposing. You are legally entitled to three blocks of leave.
Step 5 - Submit your paperwork a minimum of 8 weeks prior to the date on which you wish to curtail your maternity leave
If your school come back with any challenge to the above ask for it in writing as a formal response to your application. HR departments do not always get it right and as SPL is a relatively new area many are still unfamiliar with it. Maternity Action have an advice line you can call - 0808 802 0029. I am also happy to help where I can with applications - visit the contact section of the website.
If this advice has helped you successfully apply for, and benefit from, SPL please consider a donation to the charity that I work with in Ghana to enable us to provide scholarships for vulnerable children (details below)