Can an employee change his or her mind about when he or she intends to take shared parental leave, for example if his or her partner's employer does not agree to the requested pattern?

Yes, an employee can change his or her mind about when he or she intends to take shared parental leave at various stages in the procedure.

The employee can vary or cancel his or her proposed shared parental leave dates after submitting a notice of entitlement and intention, which gives an indication of the leave pattern that he or she intends to take but is non-binding until he or she provides a period of leave notice in relation to the particular period of leave. There is no limit on the number of variations of notice of entitlement and intention that the employee can make.

Once the employee has submitted a period of leave notice, he or she can vary or cancel his or her shared parental leave dates by providing his or her employer with at least eight weeks' written notice. An employee can submit a maximum of three separate period of leave notices and a variation notice counts towards this total.

Where the employee has submitted a period of leave notice requesting discontinuous leave and the employer has refused the request or no agreement has been reached within a two-week period as to when the leave will be taken, the employee may withdraw the period of leave notice. A notice for discontinuous leave that has been withdrawn before it is agreed does not count towards the maximum of three requests for leave that an employee can make.

Therefore, if an employee submits a request for a discontinuous period of leave, having planned a leave pattern with his or her partner, if the employee has to change his or her plans because the partner's employer does not agree to the leave pattern, the employee will be able either to withdraw the notice and submit an amended request, or, if his or her employer has already agreed to the request, to submit a variation notice, provided that he or she has not already submitted the maximum three leave or variation notices.