- Telling us about your pregnancy
- Time off for Antenatal Care
- Other rights during pregnancy
- Maternity Leave
- Notification and qualification
- Starting Maternity Leave
- Preservation of Rights during Maternity Leave
- Keeping in touch during Maternity Leave
- Confirmation of Intention to return to work
- Returning to work
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:
|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
- Protection from detriment, disadvantage, unfair treatment or dismissal because of the pregnancy
- The right to request a risk assessment (we encourage you to do this throughout your pregnancy)
- The right to request suitable alternative work where any risks to your health and your baby’s can be avoided
- Full pay while on maternity suspension if health and safety measures cannot be complied with or if the risk cannot be avoided by reasonable changes to working conditions or the provision of suitable alternative work
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:
- that you are pregnant;
- when the EWC is; and
- when you would like your maternity leave to start.
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:
- Any jobs being advertised
- Any promotion opportunities
- Any planned reorganisation or redundancies
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|
- *1 - no later than the end of the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth.
- *2 - within 28 days of being notified of the expected date to start maternity leave.