Can an employee change their mind about when they intend to take shared parental leave, for example if their partner's employer does not agree to the requested pattern?

Yes, an employee can change their mind about when they intend to take shared parental leave at various stages in the procedure.

The employee can vary or cancel their proposed shared parental leave dates after submitting a notice of entitlement and intention, which gives an indication of the leave pattern that they intend to take but is non-binding until they provide 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, they can vary or cancel their shared parental leave dates by providing the 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 A notice for discontinuous leave that has been withdrawn before it is agreed does not count towards the maximum of three requests for leave that an employee can make.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 their partner, if the employee has to change their 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 their employer has already agreed to the request, to submit a variation notice, provided that they have not already submitted the maximum three leave or variation notices.