Maternity leave policy

The legislation and practice surrounding maternity arrangements can be complex and the table below provides a useful explanation of the terminology used:

Term Definition
Expected Week of Confinement (EWC) The week, beginning on a Sunday, in which it is expected that the baby will be
Qualifying Week This is the 15th week before the expected week of confinement (EWC)
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) The amount of money an employee is legally entitled to if they meet the qualifying criteria
Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) The amount of leave an employee is legally entitled to regardless of length of service
Additional Maternity Leave (AML) The amount of leave in addition to OML an employee is legally entitled to regardless of length of service
Keeping in Touch Day (KIT) A day on which the employee works during maternity leave, agreed between the employer and employee

We apply current maternity legislation and statutory entitlements to maternity leave and pay, the provisions for which are covered below. Please note that maternity leave and maternity pay are separate entitlements.

Telling us about your pregnancy

Please tell us you are pregnant as soon as possible to enable us to carry out the necessary risk assessments as part of our duty under Health and Safety legislation. There are certain notification rules that you must follow to secure your right to statutory maternity leave and pay and these are detailed in the section ‘Notification and Qualification”.

Time off for Antenatal Care

You are entitled to paid time off for antenatal care, regardless of the amount of time you have been employed with us or the number of hours you work, and are not required to make up the lost time. This includes appointments with the GP, midwife or health visitor, and antenatal/relaxation classes advised by a medical expert. You should provide evidence of such appointments, if asked.

Prospective fathers and partners of pregnant women, and those becoming parents through a surrogacy arrangement, have the right to unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman to two antenatal appointments (per pregnancy).

Other rights during pregnancy

Maternity Leave

Regardless of your role, length of service or hours worked, you are entitled to Statutory Maternity Leave, which is 52 weeks, comprising 26 weeks of OML, immediately followed by 26 weeks of AML. In order to qualify for statutory maternity leave, certain notification requirements have to be met as outlined below.

Whilst it is up to you as to how much maternity leave you wish to take you must take a period of compulsory maternity leave of two weeks, taken immediately after the birth of your child, during which time you are not permitted to work.

Notification and qualification

To qualify for maternity leave you must inform your manager no later than the end of the qualifying week:

You can change the date of starting maternity leave as long as you give 28 days’ notice.

We will write to you to inform you of the date that entitlement to maternity leave will end within 28 days of receiving the above information.

Starting Maternity Leave

OML may begin at your choice any time from 11 weeks before the EWC.

If you are absent from work due to a pregnancy-related reason after the beginning of the fourth week before the EWC, but before the date notified for the leave to begin, the maternity leave period begins automatically.

Preservation of Rights during Maternity Leave

During OML and AML all contractual rights, with the exception of salary, remain in force. In practice this means that you continue to accrue contractual holiday entitlement, any benefits will continue to be provided and employer pension contributions are maintained.

Keeping in touch during Maternity Leave

Before you go on maternity leave we will talk with you about how you would like to stay in touch. We will keep you informed about:

Please let us know if you would like to be kept updated about any other aspect of our business, such as social events or team newsletters.

Opportunities may also be made available to arrange Keeping in Touch days (KITs) to give you the chance to come to work, to undertake training and keep in touch for up to ten days during maternity leave without losing your right to maternity pay. There is no right to KIT days and this should be discussed with your manager. It is up to you whether or not you take up this opportunity.

You are entitled to be paid your usual rate of basic pay for time spent working on a KIT Day and this will be inclusive of any maternity pay entitlement.

Confirmation of Intention to return to work

If you wish to return to work you do not need to give notice of your return, unless you wish to return earlier or later than the date originally agreed with us, in which case eight weeks’ written notice must be given. If you decide not to return, notice must be given in accordance with your contract of employment. If you wish to return to your role but on varied terms, you can make a flexible working request in line with the Flexible Working Policy. As much notice as possible will assist us to determine whether or not we can agree to your request.

Returning to work

You have the right to return to the same job after OML maternity leave. If you take AML you still have the right to return to the same job, unless it is not reasonably practical. If that is the case, you will be offered a suitable alternative position with terms and conditions no less favourable than before.

List of actions before and during maternity leave:

Action By whom By when
Provide written confirmation of the pregnancy Employee *1
Discuss responsibilities with a view to identifying any activities that may pose a risk to the pregnant employee (risk assessment) and implement measures to remove the risk Employee and Employer Ongoing
Inform your employer of the date you intend to start maternity leave and how long you intend to take Employee *1
Provide written confirmation of the right to maternity leave and responsibilities with regard to notification of expected return to work Employee *2
Provide written confirmation of date when maternity leave is due to end Employee *2
Notify the Company of the date of birth Employee ASAP