Guidance Note for Managers (Maternity Leave)

Guidance Note for Managers (Maternity Leave)

The information below summarises the rights of a pregnant employee and those of a line manager/Head of School/RI/Service and the responsibilities they have towards each other. It also sets out what you should do to help manage your employee during her pregnancy, her maternity leave and her return to work. You will also find information on risk assessments, communication during maternity leave and details relating to ‘Keeping in Touch’ days’ (KIT). This guidance note should be read in conjunction with the University’s Maternity Leave Policy.

As soon as your employee tells you she is pregnant:

As soon as your employee tells you she is pregnant:

What to do:

1. Advise the employee to formally request the maternity leave through Employee Self Service.

2. Approve the leave through Manager Self Service and ensure that you (or the Health and Safety Officer for your School/RI/Service where applicable) carry out a risk assessment to identify any hazards to your employee’s health or that of her unborn child. Particular attention should be paid to the actual tasks that the employee has to perform during their work to ensure that any risks associated with these are adequately controlled. The individual assessment should be regarded as an ongoing process throughout the course of the pregnancy as the capabilities of the person involved may be significantly reduced as the pregnancy progresses (e.g. manual handling). Further information and advice on the occupational health aspects to pregnancy can be found on the SEPS website. If a risk is identified you must ensure that appropriate adjustments are in place to prevent the employee from exposure to this potential hazard.

3. You must allow your employee paid time off to attend ante-natal appointments. You may request that the employee provides evidence of these appointments, with the exception of the first one.

4. You must ensure that your employee is not treated less favourably as a result of their pregnancy (including by other colleagues), as this could be seen as discrimination.

5. You should meet with the employee to discuss her plans for maternity leave. Any queries relating to her annual leave entitlement should be directed to the College/University Services HR Assistant. Please note, your employee cannot return to work for 2 weeks following the birth of her child.

6. You need to consider how you will manage your employee’s absence during her maternity leave. Will you be able to reallocate the work within the School/RI/Service or will you need to take on a temporary member of staff? In any case, if your employee has indicated that they wish to return to work, you must ensure that they can return to their original job. The only exception to this would be if your employee has indicated that they wish to take a period of additional maternity leave (i.e. more than 26 weeks). You may in this instance offer a suitable alternative post on her return if it is not reasonably practicable for her to return to her original job.

7. If your employee is off work with a pregnancy-related illness you must pay her as you would for any other type of illness. Please note, if this illness is within 4 weeks of her due date, maternity leave should automatically commence.

Whilst your employee is on maternity leave:

Whilst your employee is on maternity leave:

What to do:

1. You and your employee can make reasonable contact during maternity leave. What constitutes reasonable will vary according to the individual circumstances and this should be agreed between both parties prior to the commencement of the employee’s maternity leave. In any case, you should ensure that your employee is kept up to date with changes in the workplace, including job vacancies etc.

2. On agreement with the line manager and the member of staff, employees are permitted to work up to maximum of 10 days during their maternity leave period, known as Keeping in Touch (KIT) Days. Please note, employees are not obliged to work these days and therefore cannot be penalised for choosing not to. It is your responsibility to record KIT days worked within Manager Self Service. Full details of keeping in touch days can be found in the University’s Maternity Policy.

3. If your employee is a member of the University pension scheme, and wishes to continue paying her contributions whilst on maternity leave, you must continue to meet the employer contributions. This applies irrespective of whether the employee is on Ordinary Maternity Leave or Additional Maternity Leave.

Before your employee returns to work:

Before your employee returns to work:

What to do

1. If your employee intends to return to work before the end of her full maternity leave period (52 weeks) she must give you 8 weeks’ notice, in writing, of her intention to return. If she fails to do this, you may delay her return until the appropriate notice is served.

2. You should ensure that you have discussed with your employee any concerns she may have relating to her return, as well as considering any flexible working request. You can refuse such a request if there is a genuine business reason.

3. If you took on a temporary member of staff to cover the maternity leave period, you should ensure that you give them the appropriate notice of their contract coming to an end.

4. If your employee is breastfeeding you must ensure that arrangements are in place to facilitate this. You will also need to carry out another risk assessment.

If there is a problem:

If there is a problem:

What to do

You should speak to your employee as soon as possible to try to identify and resolve the problem.

Advice can be sought from your College/University Services HR Team.