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Maternity leave policy

For employees with an Expected Week of Childbirth on or after 5 October 2008

  1. Introduction
  2. Statutory entitlement
  3. Maternity pay
  4. How do I claim these benefits?
  5. Keeping in touch
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. Returning to work
  8. Salary, pension, holidays and ante natal care
  9. Health and safety
  10. Queries
  11. Appendices

Introduction

The University recognises the importance of supporting all staff in their obligations to their families. This Maternity Leave Policy has been designed to explain the benefits of the University scheme and to set out your obligations under it.

If you have any queries regarding the information in this document or would like further advice please contact Human Resources on ext. 3096 or e-mail humres@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Statutory entitlement

All employees are eligible for 52 weeks maternity leave irrespective of their length of service or hours of work. This is be made up of 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave (OML) and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave (AML).

All women must take a period of two weeks compulsory maternity leave directly following childbirth and cannot return to work during that period.

As a result of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Amendment) Regulations 2008 employees will enjoy the same terms and conditions on Additional Maternity Leave (AML) as they enjoy during Ordinary Maternity Leave except salary (other than maternity pay).  Therefore you are entitled to benefit from your normal terms and conditions of employment, except for salary for the whole duration of your maternity leave.

Maternity pay

This section details the different payments that you will be eligible for dependent on your length of service. You should work out how long you have worked at the University and find the appropriate option from the three listed below.

  Please Note: There is no distinction between live and still births after 24 weeks of any pregnancy for the purposes of maternity leave. An employee who suffers a still birth is entitled to the maternity pay detailed in Option 2A.

Option 1 - Less than 26 weeks continuous service at the 15th week before the Expected Week Childbirth (EWC) 

  • You will not be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay.
  • You may be eligible for Maternity Allowance through the Department of Work and Pensions, for which you will need to complete a SMP1 form. The Salaries Office will forward this form to you and you should claim any allowances from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Option 2A - 26 weeks continuous service at the 15th week before your Expected Week of Childbirth and returning to work

  •   You will be entitled to the University's enhanced maternity pay package. Currently this is calculated as follows:
    • 16 weeks of full salary
    • 23 weeks at £138.18* per week or 90% of your weekly salary if this is less than £138.18* per week.
    • the remaining 13 weeks will be unpaid

Option 2B - 26 weeks continuous service at the 15th week before your Expected Week of Childbirth and not returning to work

  • You will be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay. Currently this is calculated as follows:
    • 6 weeks at 9/10ths of your weekly salary followed by
    • 33 weeks at £138.18* per week or 90% of your weekly salary if this is less than £138.18* per week.

* as at April 2014

Please Note: If you are eligible and opt for the University’s enhanced maternity package (option 2A above) this is subject to you returning to work at the University after your Maternity Leave for a period of 3 months. If you do not return to work then you will normally be required to repay the enhanced element of any Maternity Pay received.

You are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks leave, however you are free to choose a shorter period to suit your own circumstances.

A summary of the three options is shown inAppendix 1 .

How do I claim these benefits?

In order to enjoy the benefits listed above you should read through the guidelines below. The procedures listed are intended to ensure that individuals take an adequate amount of leave around their pregnancy. It is also important that the University is given sufficient notice so unnecessary disruption can be avoided during maternity leave.

Before the start of your maternity leave

Step 1

Once you know that you are pregnant you should immediately notify your Head of School/Unit and Human Resources – this must be done prior to the end of the 15th week before your baby is due. See Maternity Leave Application Form (Word, 31 KB). This must be done prior to the end of the 15th week before your baby is due.

The form should be completed and returned to Human Resources confirming the dates you wish to take maternity leave and that a risk assessment has been undertaken.

Please Note: For Health and Safety purposes, and to ensure your continued safety at work, a risk assessment has to carried out by your School/Unit. Information can be found on the Environmental Health and Safety Services website.

If you would like further information concerning Health and Safety you can contact Environmental Health and Safety Services on ext. 2750.

Step 2

Human Resources will respond to you in writing within 28 days of receiving your Maternity Leave Application Form, setting out the date you will be expected to return from your Maternity Leave, depending on your eligibility for leave.

Step 3

You will normally receive your MATB1 from your GP around the 20th week of your pregnancy - this should be forwarded directly to Human Resources, as this is necessary to enable payment of your maternity pay.

Going on maternity leave

Step 4

You may start your Maternity Leave at any time from the 11th week before your Expected Week of Childbirth and you should give at least 8 weeks notice of the date you intend to leave work. See Appendix 4: Flow chart for Heads of School/Unit/Residence image (PDF, 49 KB) for guidance.

Please Note: If you are absent from work within 4 weeks of your Expected Week of Childbirth and your absence is wholly or partly due to your pregnancy, your period of maternity leave will start automatically.

Step 5

You do not need to give notice of your return to work date unless you wish to return before the date stated on your Maternity Leave Application Form. If you do wish to return earlier, you must inform your Head of School/Unit in writing, with a copy to Human Resources, confirming the date you wish to return. This should be received at least 8 weeks before your revised return date.

Please Note: You are legally required to take Maternity Leave in the 2 week period after the birth of your child and cannot return to work during that period.

You will receive a letter from Human Resources approximately 10 weeks prior to the end of your

Maternity Leave confirming your expected date of return to work. It would be appreciated if you could respond to the letter, confirming that you are intending to return to work on that date or whether you intend to take annual leave directly after your Maternity Leave.

A guide for Heads of School/Unit is attached in Appendix 3.

Keeping in touch

During maternity leave, the employer and the employee may make reasonable contact with each other.  Reasonable contact will vary according to individual circumstances and should be agreed between both the employer and employee. You can work for up to 10 days, by mutual agreement with your line manager, during your maternity leave without it impacting on the maternity leave or it affecting your right to statutory maternity pay.

The idea behind this is to allow you to keep in touch with colleagues and your School/unit during your leave.  Keeping in Touch Days (KIT days) can simply be used for you to undertake normal contractual duties or it could be used for allowing the employee to attend a scheduled conference, training, team meetings, away days, or performance & development reviews.

The days do not have to be worked consecutively and you will be paid at your normal rate of pay or the appropriate rate for the work you undertake on these days. Working part of a day will count as one day’s work.  You will be paid per day irrespective of the total number of hours worked during a KIT day.  The payment is calculated by taking your average monthly salary and dividing it by the total number of calendar days in that specific month.

KIT days do not extend the maternity pay periods in any way.

All payments will include Statutory Maternity Pay where applicable. Managers will be responsible for advising the Salaries Office of any work undertaken by the employee in order that the necessary salary payments can be made.  To pay an employee who undertakes KIT days, please complete and return the form in Appendix 7: Record of Keeping In Touch days (KIT days) (PDF, 37 KB) to the Salaries Office.

KIT days are optional and the University has no right to force you to work your KIT day entitlement.  Keeping in Touch days may be undertaken at any stage during maternity leave, except during the two weeks compulsory maternity leave period or during any annual leave period that is used directly after your maternity leave.

Your manager may also make reasonable contact with you during your maternity leave period, regardless or not whether you do any work, for example to discuss your return to work.

Frequently asked questions

Maternity Leave is structured so that it does not adversely affect your position at work. When you return from Maternity Leave you will return to your original job. In some cases a return to your original job may not be possible, if for example, your department has restructured. If this happens you will be guaranteed to return to a post of a similar grade. In all cases your return to work will be without loss of seniority or status.

This section deals with some of the frequently asked questions about Maternity Leave and returning to work. If you have any queries which are not answered below, please contact Human Resources on ext. 3096 or e-mail humres@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Returning to work

What happens if I don’t want to return to work?

If you decide not to return to work you should inform your Head of School/Unit and Human Resources as soon as you have decided. If you do not return to work then you will normally be required to repay the enhanced element of any Maternity Pay received. If you need further information you should contact the Salaries Office on ext. 2569.

If I am on a fixed term contract am I entitled to Maternity Pay?

Regardless of whether you are on a fixed-term or standard contract, if you meet the qualifying periods stated on page 2 of the policy then you are entitled to the relevant maternity pay.

If my contract ends during my maternity leave what will happen?

You will continue to receive your maternity pay and, in the event that you have received the University’s enhanced maternity pay package in this circumstance you will not be expected to repay the enhanced element.

Some funding bodies cover maternity leave and contracts may be extended to continue beyond the maternity leave period to allow you to return to work. Please note that your Principal Investigator should discuss this with the Research Grants Office.

What happens if I want to take an extended period of leave at the end of my Maternity Leave?

In some circumstances it may be possible for you to extend your Maternity Leave period into a career break, but this must be discussed with your Head of School/Unit and Human Resources. Any agreement on extended leave will depend on the varying circumstances of the job and must be approved by the relevant member of the Principal’s Office.

Is my entitlement to Research Leave affected by taking Maternity Leave?

No – your continuous service with the University is not affected by taking maternity leave and therefore your entitlement to apply for and take Research Leave is unaffected.  Further details about Research leave can be obtained from http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/staff/policy/hr/researchleaveguidance/  

What happens if I am ill during my pregnancy?

Any absence in excess of 24 weeks connected with your pregnancy or childbirth must be supported by a medical certificate and will be dealt with under the University’s sick leave policy.

If you are off sick in the 4 weeks before your Expected Week of Childbirth and the reason for your absence is related to your pregnancy your Maternity Leave will be triggered and will start from the beginning of your absence.

The University’s Sickness Absence Policy is available from Human Resources or via the Human Resources website.

What happens if I am ill and can’t return to work at the end of my Maternity Leave?

If you are not able to return to work at the end of your Maternity Leave because of illness you should notify your Head of School/Unit and Human Resources as soon as possible. You must provide a medical certificate stating the reason for your absence and you may be entitled to Sick Leave or Statutory Sick Pay depending on your circumstances.

Can I come back to work part-time?

You do not have an automatic right to return to work part-time but you are entitled to ask about the possibility of changing your hours. If you think you would like to return to work on a part-time basis you should discuss this with your Head of School/Unit as early as possible. Any request will be given reasonable consideration by the University. Please refer to the Flexible Working Policy.

Please Note: You should be aware that any change in your hours will be permanent and you do not have a right to revert to full time hours in the future.

What happens if I don’t come back to work?

If you do not to return to work on the date agreed and fail to notify the University of your absence then disciplinary action may be taken.

Salary, pension, holidays and ante natal care

Do I still have to pay tax while I’m on Maternity Leave?

Yes – all maternity benefits are subject to tax and national insurance in the same way as your salary.

What happens to my pension contributions while I’m on Maternity Leave?
Your membership of either USS or S&LAS will be maintained during the duration of your paid Maternity Leave. However you can arrange to stop making payments during your maternity leave, please contact the Pension Administrator once you have decided your maternity leave dates to discuss stopping your payments.

If you are on unpaid maternity leave, then your contributions stop until you return to work. Once you have returned, the Pensions Administrator will contact you detailing the shortfall in contributions during this period and give you an option to maintain your contributions. Employer contributions missed as a result of any unpaid leave will only be paid over if you elect to maintain your employee contributions after a period of nil pay.

If you participate in the Paysave Scheme then there will be no impact on your payments provided you are eligible for Occupational Maternity Pay. If you go on maternity leave you will not participate in Paysave from the time you begin to receive only Statutory Maternity Pay. When you return to work and if your salary level permits, you will resume membership of Paysave. 

Further details about the pension options available can be obtained from the Pensions Administrator on ext. 2546.

Will my monthly salary remain the same for the period I am receiving full pay?

It may vary slightly due to the fact that maternity pay is calculated on a weekly rather than monthly basis. If you have any questions, please contact the Salaries Office on ext 2569.

Do I still get an increment while I’m on Maternity Leave?

Yes – your entitlement to annual increments is unchanged.

What happens to the annual pay award if I’m on Maternity Leave?

You are entitled to the annual pay award and this will be administered as normal.  Your maternity payments will be recalculated for the date the pay award is awarded to reflect the annual pay award.

What happens to my annual leave while I’m on Maternity Leave?

You should make sure that you have taken any annual leave accrued since the beginning of the holiday year before you go on Maternity Leave. Your annual leave will continue to accrue throughout your maternity leave.

If you wish to take annual leave at the end of your Maternity Leave you should inform your Head of School/Unit as soon as possible and at least 8 weeks before your Maternity Leave ends.

 Full details of your holiday entitlement can be found in Appendix 2 .

Can I take time off for ante-natal appointments and scans?

Yes – you will be allowed to take reasonable paid time off, to attend ante-natal appointments made on the advice of a medical practitioner, registered health visitor or registered midwife, regardless of your length of employment with the University. Your Head of School/Unit may ask to see your appointment card.

Health and safety

Your workplace MUST be assessed for risk while you are pregnant, within 6 months of the birth (if you return to work) and for as long as you continue to breast feed.

Both the University and the employee have an obligation to ensure that work is not carried out in an unsafe environment during your pregnancy. This is particularly important where you may be in close proximity to complex apparatus, chemicals etc.

Your Head of School/Unit will arrange for the assessment to be carried out and a copy of this will be forwarded to Human Resources.

If unacceptable risks are identified, the University will take all reasonable measures to alleviate the problem. This may include restricting the range of your duties or transferring you to a different workplace or job. Where none of these measures is practicable, the University reserves the right to suspend you from your duties on full pay as long as the risk remains.

Queries

If you have any queries regarding this Maternity Leave policy please contact Human Resources on ext. 3096 or e-mail humres@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Appendices

  1. Appendix 1: Summary of maternity leave and pay
  2. Appendix 2: Annual leave information
  3. Appendix 3: Guidance for Heads of School/Unit
  4. Appendix 4 - Flowchart for Head of School / Unit / Residences (PDF, 144 KB)
  5. Appendix 5: Calendar of maternity events (PDF, 51 KB)
  6. Appendix 6 - Summary Flowchart Maternity Leave and Pay Image (PDF, 121 KB)
  7. Appendix 7: Record of Keeping In Touch days (KIT days) (PDF, 37 KB)