Updated on 24 June 2020
Outlines the University's policy and procedure on Maternity Pay and Leave and further guidance on other Maternity matters
The University wishes to support staff throughout their pregnancy and maternity leave.
This section provides guidance on the rights to the maternity benefits of members of staff following the introduction of the Work and Families Act 2006 and associated regulations. In addition, new arrangements for shared parental leave contained in the Children and Families Act 2014 have key provisions applying to parents of children expected on or after 5 April 2015.
This policy can be read in conjunction with the Shared Parental Leave Policy which provides parents with more flexibility in how to share the care of their child during the first year. You can opt to curtail your maternity leave early and to share the remaining leave and pay entitlement with your partner. This enables parents to choose to be off work at the same time and/or take it in turns to have periods of leave to look after their child.
These notes are for guidance only. All pregnant employees should contact their School/Directorate HR Business Partner or HR Officer for further information about how these provisions affect them.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP): Statutory sum paid if you meet certain qualifying conditions
Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP): Additional sum paid by the University if you meet certain qualifying conditions
Maternity Allowance (MA): Sum to which you may be entitled if you are exempt from SMP. This is payable by the Department of Work & Pensions.
Expected week of childbirth (EWC): The week during which the baby is expected to be born.
Maternity Certificate (MatB1): Certificate issued by a registered Medical Practitioner or practising Midwife confirming the expected week of childbirth.
Qualifying Week (QW): Is the 15th week before the baby is due. This week is used to identify whether or not you are eligible for SMP.
Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML): The first 26 weeks of maternity leave.
Additional Maternity Leave (AML): Additional Maternity leave (up to 26 weeks) which can be taken after the period of Ordinary Maternity Leave.
You are entitled to paid time off to attend antenatal examinations and classes. However, you must inform your line manager as soon as possible of these appointments and your line manager may request that you provide an appointment card or note from your GP or Midwife.
Health and safety
There are now statutory provisions providing either for suitable alternative work on terms and conditions not substantially less favourable than your normal conditions or suspension on full pay, where on medical grounds it is not safe for you to continue in your normal job. In these circumstances you will either be offered suitable alternative work or be suspended on medical grounds on full pay.
Your entire maternity /shared parental leave period will count towards your period of continuous employment.
Your incremental date is retained during your period of maternity/ shared parental leave.
Please contact the Pensions Office directly with any queries regarding your pension entitlements during maternity/ shared parental leave.
Annual leave entitlements
Whilst on maternity/ shared parental leave you will continue to accrue annual leave based on your contracted entitlement.
Before taking maternity/ shared parental leave you will be informed by the University of the period of annual leave which will accrue during this period.
Although your contract of employment does not allow for holiday to be carried over from one year to another, annual leave accrued during maternity leave can be carried from one leave year into the next and will allow you to add your accrued paid holiday leave to the beginning or end of your maternity leave period. There is no separate or additional provision for multiple births.
Applying for maternity leave
Maternity Leave can start on any day of the week.
You can choose to commence maternity leave at any time between the 11th week before the date of delivery and the expected date of delivery. You may not commence maternity leave prior to the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth.
However, from the beginning of the 4th week before the expected date of delivery, maternity leave will automatically be triggered if you are absent from work due to a pregnancy related illness or childbirth has occurred. If childbirth occurs earlier, then the maternity leave will start on the day after the day on which childbirth occurs.
To apply for Maternity Leave, you should complete either of the following forms, depending on your circumstances:
- Maternity Leave Application Form less than 1 year employment (please refer to form below)
- Maternity Leave Application Form more than 1 year employment (please refer to form below)
and return it to Human Resources at least 28 days before you wish to commence Maternity Leave. You are required to give 28 days notification of Maternity Leave, but it is clearly helpful if more notice can be given to make arrangements. It is, therefore, suggested that 13 weeks' notification is given to Human Resources, if possible.
The Maternity Leave application form must state the date you intend to commence leave and your proposed date of returning to duty (if you intend to return to work).
You must also submit a statement from a registered Medical Practitioner or practising Midwife (normally on the form MatB1) indicating your expected date of childbirth or a copy of letter which provides notification of approval for adoption at least 28 days before you intend to commence maternity leave.
1. Employees with more than 12 months continuous service at the expected week of childbirth (EWC)
To qualify for the University Maternity Leave Scheme you should have been continuously employed in the University's service for a minimum period of 12 months before the expected week of childbirth (EWC).
Starting Maternity Leave
You may cease work at any time from the end of the twelfth week before your expected date of delivery. A minimum period of maternity leave, however, of 2 weeks following the birth of your child must be taken. SMP/SAP and salary will not be payable for ceasing work earlier than the twelfth week.
If you are absent from work as a result of pregnancy after the start of the 4th week before the expected week of childbirth, the University reserves the right to require you to start your maternity leave. In such a case sick pay will cease and maternity pay will start to be paid.
Notification of pregnancy and leave
You should discuss the date you will be starting Maternity Leave on with your immediate supervisor as soon as is reasonably practicable. It is requested that Human Resources receive the following no later than 13 weeks before the expected week of childbirth (EWC).
- A medical certificate (MAT B1 form) obtainable from your GP or clinic, stating the expected week of childbirth.
- A completed 'Application for Maternity Leave' form.
You are required to give 28 days notification of maternity leave, but it is clearly helpful if more notice can be given to make arrangements. It is, therefore, suggested that 13 weeks' notification is given to Human Resources, if possible.
Provided that the requirements specified are met, you will qualify for the University Maternity Leave Scheme and you will be entitled to:
- 8 weeks on full pay
- plus 16 weeks on half pay in addition to SMP (but not exceeding full pay in total)
- plus 15 weeks SMP
- plus if you wish, up to 13 weeks on unpaid leave thereafter.
Please note that full pay will include any statutory allowances payable and half pay will exclude any statutory allowances payable.
Returning to work
If you have already stated that you wish to return to work, you may do so at any time up to the end of 52 weeks from the date your maternity leave commences, except that you may not return within 2 weeks of the birth of your child.
You must give at least 8 weeks’ notice, in writing, of the date on which you intend to return to work.
If you do not return to work and continue in employment with the University for at least 3 months after your maternity leave, you will still receive your statutory maternity pay but the University will reclaim the non-statutory element of your maternity pay from you.
Postponing your date of return for medical reasons
If you are unable to return at the end of your maternity leave for medical reasons, please send in medical evidence and you will be treated as an employee on sick leave.
2. Employees with less than 12 months continuous service at the expected week of childbirth (EWC)
If you do not have sufficient service with the University to qualify for the University Occupational Maternity Leave Scheme you may be entitled to two separate maternity benefits - Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Leave.
Statutory maternity leave
Regardless of your length of service or hours of work you will be entitled to up to 52 weeks maternity leave, with the right to return to work before or at the end of this period.
You will be entitled to accrued benefits such as annual leave and pension contributions but no remuneration will be paid unless you have at least 26 weeks' continuous service by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
Provided that you have 26 weeks' service by the beginning of the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth, i.e. provided that you have at least 41 weeks' continuous service by your EWC, you will be entitled to SMP provided that your average earnings are above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance Contributions.
You will receive 6 weeks pay at 90% of your normal week's pay and 33 weeks at the current rate of SMP. If you return to work at the end of the period of Ordinary Maternity Leave (i.e. 26 weeks) you will only be eligible for SMP for 20 weeks rather than 33 weeks.
Maternity Allowance (MA)
Employees with less than 26 weeks continuous service by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth may be entitled to receive Maternity Allowance (MA) which is paid by the Department for Work and Pensions.
In such cases your MATB1 form will be returned to you by Human Resources in order that you may progress a claim for Maternity Allowance with the Department for Work and Pensions. You must still complete an 'Application for Maternity Leave' form.
Employees not returning to work after Maternity Leave
If it is your intention not to return to work following maternity leave then you should complete section 2 of the 'Application for Maternity Leave' form. Your employment with the University will terminate with effect from the date on which the last payment of SMP is made to you (where applicable). If you have 12 months' service prior to the EWC then you will receive SMP only.
Contact during Maternity Leave - 'Keeping in Touch' (KIT) days
Employees on maternity leave can, if agreed, go into work for up to 10 days (separate or in block) without losing entitlement to maternity leave or pay. KIT days are optional and can only take place if both the employer and employee agree.
KIT days are paid but it should be noted that if maternity pay plus pay for KIT days exceed your weekly pay, pay will be capped at a normal week’s pay. This means that if you are on half or nil pay you will receive additional pay however if you work KIT days during maternity leave on full pay you will not receive additional pay.
If you work for less than your normal full day, this will count as one KIT day for the purposes of the maximum of 10 KIT days permitted, although payment will only be made (or time off in lieu accrued) for actual hours worked. It is not possible for you to receive more than a full day’s pay.
Your line manager will record the dates that you attend work for a KIT day and submit these dates (and the hours worked) to Payroll once these days have been worked, (please refer to the form below).
Alternatively instead of receiving a payment for hours worked, by agreement with the manager, you may instead accrue time off in lieu for these hours.
Advantages of keeping in touch days
KIT days can provide a number of advantages for both the University and the member of staff for the smooth transition back after maternity leave. Important projects can benefit from continued input from staff with valued skills, particularly with projects nearing completion.
Training and development can continue during maternity leave. (For example, a training course could take place during the maternity leave that might be important to the member of staff’s role or it may allow the member of staff to attend a conference).
Staff can stay in touch with workplace issues and changes.
KIT days should not be used to cover annual leave, sickness or staff shortages.
In addition to these ‘Keeping in Touch’ days, the employer may maintain reasonable contact with employees on maternity leave to discuss the employee’s plans for returning to work, to provide an update on developments in the workplace or for the purposes of employment engagement activities. To help facilitate this you may wish to discuss with your line manager, prior to commencing your leave, the best form of contact for you. We would encourage you also to keep up to date through the University’s website and through informal contact with your colleagues.
Facilities at work for women who are breast feeding
The University provides suitable facilities at work for employees who are breastfeeding (please refer to the document below) at home to express and store their milk at work. Please contact your School/Directorate HR Business Partner or HR Officer, in the first instance to establish the arrangements in place in your area.
When you return to work your line manager will meet with you to re-orientate you back into the workplace, conduct a risk assessment and establish if there are any particular arrangements you may require. A staff member’s need to breastfeed will be taken into account when scheduling work and this may include changing working conditions or hours of work in addition to providing the facility for breaks to express milk or rest.