The College recognises the demands of family life and is committed to supporting members of staff to obtain a good work life balance. With this in mind, this guidance will support both staff and managers by guiding them through the Maternity Leave procedure, what needs to be considered and the steps that need to be completed.
The College treats equality of opportunity seriously and has an equality framework to ensure equality of opportunity. Implementation of the Maternity policy must be clear and transparent and not subject to any unfair discriminatory practices by line managers.
This guidance has been designed to act as a point of reference. For further details please refer to the full policy which can be downloaded from this page's sidebar.
What is Maternity Leave?
All female members of staff automatically qualify for one year’s Statutory Maternity Leave, regardless of their length of service with College. Where the partner of a member of staff also works at the College, they may be entitled to the College’s Paternity/Maternity Support Leave.
Where a female member of staff meets the Maternity Leave eligibilty and pay entitlements , she will be entitled to receive payment during her period of Maternity Leave in the form of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). She may also be entitled to receive enhanced College pay during her period of leave.
What do I need to do?
1. When you find out you are pregnant:
a) Let your manager know (you can do this in confidence if you wish), so that they can arrange for a risk assessment to be carried out to determine whether any steps need to be taken to ensure your health and safety in the workplace.
b) If you return to work while you are breastfeeding, a second risk assessment will need to be completed.
c) During your pregnancy, you will be able to take reasonable paid time off to attend ante-natal care appointments. It is helpful if you can give your manager as much notice of the appointments as possible. With the exception of your first appointment, your manager may ask you to provide an appointment card (or similar).
2. Before you give notice of your intention to take Maternity Leave and Pay:
a) Check the Maternity Leave eligibilty and pay entitlements that would apply during your leave.
b) Think about when you want to start Maternity Leave:
You can start your leave on any day of the week, but no earlier than the 11th week before your Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC).
c) Your Maternity Leave will start automatically on the day after the birth, if your baby arrives early and if you are unfortunately off work due to a pregnancy-related illness during the four weeks before your EWC
d) Consider how much Maternity Leave you want to take. You will automatically qualify for 52 weeks’ Maternity Leave, regardless of your length of service and you must take a minimum of two weeks’ Compulsory Maternity Leave (starting immediately after the birth)
e) Discuss your plans with your manager as early as possible.
3. Give consideration to whether you may wish to:
a) Use a proportion of your annual leave entitlement before the start and/or after the end of your Maternity Leave.
b) (Where you and your partner meet the eligibility requirements) convert part of your Maternity Leave and Pay to Shared Parental Leave and Pay, for you and your partner to share between you.
c) (For academic staff) apply for an Elsie Widdowson Fellowship.
d) Discuss any implications on your pension with the Pensions’ team if you intend to take a period of unpaid maternity leave.
- Discuss any plans in relation to the above areas with your manager as early as possible
4. Give notice of your intention to take Maternity Leave and Pay:
You can do this by sending an email or letter to your manager and HR representative no later than the end of the 15thweek before your EWC confirming:
a) That you are pregnant
b) The EWC as stated on your MAT B1 certificate (if you have this)
c) The date you intend to start your Maternity Leave
d) When you receive your MAT B1 certificate confirming your EWC (this is issued by your GP or midwife no earlier than 20 weeks before your EWC) pass it to your HR representative, who will then write to you to confirm your entitlements.
5. During your Maternity Leave:
a) If agreed, your manager will keep in regular contact with you, for example updating you on what’s happening at work, and promotion opportunities.
b) With your manager’s agreement, you may also attend work or training for up to ten days during your Maternity Leave.
c) For further details see the Keeping in Touch and Shared Parental Leave in Touch days guidance for managers .
6. At the end of your Maternity Leave
a) Where you return to work on your intended return date, you do not need to provide any other notice in advance of your return.
b) If you wish to return to work in advance of your intended return date; or (Having taken less than 52 weeks’ Maternity Leave) you wish to return on a date later than that you originally intended, you will need to provide your manager and HR representative with written notice of your new return date at least eight weeks before your new return date or at least eight weeks before your original return date (whichever is the earlier).
c) If you return to work while you are still breastfeeding, your manager will complete a risk assessment (see point one above).
d) If you decide that you do not wish to return to work following your Maternity Leave, you will need to give notice as outlined in your terms and conditions of service.
You may need to repay the College maternity pay element of your maternity pay if you do not return to work and continue in employment for at least three months following the end of your Maternity Leave (where applicable).
If you wish to change your working hours and return to work on a part-time basis, discuss this with you manager as soon as possible to give time for consideration of your request. The Flexible Working policy provides further information making such a request.
1. When your member of staff advises you that they are pregnant:
a) Complete a risk assessment to see if any adjustments need to be made to their role or the work environment. Guidance on this is available from the Safety Unit, or from the Occupational Health Team. If your member of staff returns to work while they are breastfeeding, you will need to complete a second risk assessment.
b) They will be able to take reasonable paid time off to attend ante-natal care appointments, which could include medical examinations and parenting classes. With the exception of the first appointment, you may request an appointment card (or similar) as confirmation.
2. Discuss your member of staff’s plans with them as early as possible:
This will provide an opportunity to explore their Maternity Leave plans with them, including:
a) Whether they considering using a proportion of their annual leave entitlement before the start and/or after the end of their Maternity Leave?
b) (Where they and their partner satisfy the eligibility requirements) they may wish to consider converting part of their Maternity leave and Pay to Shared Parental Leave and Pay.
c) (For academic staff) whether they are aware of the Elsie Widdowson Fellowship.
3. Providing formal notice of intention to take Maternity Leave
Your member of staff will need to:
send you and your HR representative an email or other written notification at no later than the end of the 15thweek before their expected week of childbirth (EWC) confirming:
a) That they are pregnant
b) The EWC as stated on their MAT B1 certificate (if they have received this)
c) The date they intend to start Maternity Leave, which can be any day of the week but no earlier than the 11th week before their EWC.
Your HR representative will:
a) Following receipt of the MAT B1 certificate, provide written confirmation of entitlement and advise the Pay Office, Pensions and Research Contracts (if applicable)
b) Be available to provide policy advice and support to you and your staff member if you have any questions about Maternity Leave entitlement
4. During Maternity Leave:
Before your staff member starts Maternity Leave discuss with them arrangements for keeping in touch (for example the best way to make contact, and how often), and the types of things they want to be kept up to date about. For further details see the Keeping in Touch and Shared Parental Leave in Touch days guidance for managers. With your agreement, your staff member may also attend work or training for up to ten days during their Maternity Leave.
5. At the end of Maternity Leave:
Where your member of staff returns to work on the date originally intended, they do not need to provide you with any other notice of their return.
- If they wish to return to work in advance of their intended return date; or
- (Having taken less than 52 weeks’ Maternity Leave) they wish to return on a date later than that originally intended :
- They will need to provide you with written notice of their new return date at least eight weeks before the new return date or at least eight weeks before the original return date (whichever is the earlier).
- If your member of staff returns to work while they are still breastfeeding, you will need to complete a risk assessment (see box one above).
- If your member of staff decides that they do not wish to return to work following their Maternity Leave, they will need to provide you with notice as outlined in their terms and conditions of service.
- They may need to repay the enhanced element of their maternity pay if they do not return to work and continue in employment for at least three months following the end of their Maternity Leave (where applicable).
- If your member of staff requests to return to work on a part-time basis, you should consider this positively, accommodating their request where possible. The Flexible Working Policy provides further information. Your HR representative will also be available to provide advice and guidance on considering such requests.