Frequently Asked Questions - Maternity Policy (Employee)

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. For more detailed information and a full explanation please read the Maternity Policy.

I am new to the University, do I qualify for Maternity Leave?

The provisions of the University's Maternity Policy apply to all employees from day one.

How much maternity leave am I entitled to?

All staff are entitled to up to 52 weeks maternity leave. You must take a minimum of 2 weeks maternity leave immediately after the baby is born.

When can I start my Maternity Leave?

You may commence maternity leave at any time from the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth up to the actual date of birth (subject to compliance with the notification procedures). 

How do I book Maternity Leave?

You should enter your request for Maternity Leave through the Employee Self Service Portal (via the 'Book Time Off' button). You will be able to choose between Option A or Option B with regards to how you wish to receive your Maternity Pay, as detailed in the Maternity Policy and will also be asked to specify the date on which your period of leave is expected to begin. Early notification is helpful wherever possible but in any case, the formal request for maternity leave should be submitted no later than the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.

How much pay will I get?

The University pays an enhanced rate of maternity pay (equivalent to full pay) from the first day of employment (i.e. there is no service requirement). You will have the choice between two options (A or B). Option A provides 9 weeks at full pay followed by 18 weeks at half pay (plus any entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance (MA)) then 12 weeks at the appropriate rate of SMP or MA (if you are eligible for it as per the criteria set by the Government). The final 13 weeks of maternity leave would then be unpaid. Option B provides 18 weeks at full pay followed by 21 weeks at SMP or MA (if eligible). The final 13 weeks of Option B are also unpaid.

Please see the  section of the Maternity Policy for full details.

Do I receive double pay or leave if I have twins?

No, maternity leave and/or pay and leave is the same for both single and multiple births.

When and how should I let the University know that I am expecting a baby?

It would be helpful if you are able to inform your manager of your pregnancy as early as possible. This helps the University to ensure you are fully supported in terms of your health, safety and wellbeing. 

It is acknowledged that employees may not always be comfortable providing early notification of their pregnancy, however in all cases the formal request for maternity leave (and submission of the Maternity Certificate (MATB1)) must be completed by the end of the Qualifying Week (i.e. the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth). 

When do I need to let my manager know I'm pregnant?

To ensure that the University can provide full support with regards to health, safety and wellbeing, employees should notify their line manager of their pregnancy as early as possible. This may just be informally in the first instance. 

I don’t want my line manager to know I am expecting a baby at the moment but I have lots of questions and would like to talk to someone, who can I speak to?

You are able to speak in confidence to a member of your local HR Team.

Where do I send my MATB1 form?

You should send your MATB1 form to your local HR team as soon as possible (and no later than the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth). The HR Team will then write to you to confirm leave and pay arrangements as appropriate.

What happens once I've told my line manager I’m pregnant?

Your manager should work with you to discuss  the key considerations in planning for your maternity leave. The Checklist - Planning for Maternity Leave can be used by you both to guide any discussion and ensure that the important areas are covered. A Risk Assessment should also be carried out to ensure that you are safe at work during your pregnancy.

Can I get paid time off to go to ante natal appointments?

A pregnant employee can take reasonable paid time off to attend anti-natal appointments regardless of their length of employment with the University. This can cover, for example, pregnancy related medical appointments or parenting classes made on the advice of a Medical Practitioner, Health Visitor or Midwife. Employees may be requested to provide evidence of appointments to their line manager and, if possible, appointments should be made at times which cause minimal disruption to the working day.  Partners of pregnant women also have rights to ante-natal care as detailed in Section 10 - Partners Rights During Pregnancy/Maternity Leave. 

What is the earliest date or the latest date I can start my maternity leave?

You can start you maternity leave up to 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth or on the actual date of birth at the latest.

I think that my job could be hazardous to my baby, who can I discuss this with?

You should inform your manager immediately and a risk assessment should be carried out. If an assessment has already been carried out, it should be reviewed. The University’s Safety and Environmental Protection Service (SEPS) can offer further advice and support. It may be appropriate for adjustments to be made to your role, or working environment or for alternative duties to be explored for the duration of your pregnancy. If this is the case it will always be done in full consultation with you, taking expert advice into account to ensure your safety at work.

My baby is due in eight weeks and my Doctor has signed me off work for six weeks with a pregnancy-related illness.

If you are off sick for a maternity related reason within four weeks of your due date then your maternity leave (and any maternity pay) must start automatically.

Do I have to let the University know when I want to come back?

The default expectation is that an employee will take the full 52 weeks of maternity leave. Should you wish to return sooner, you should provide notice in writing to your line manager at least 8 weeks prior to the date you wish to return on.

Do I still get public holidays when I'm off on Maternity Leave?

Yes, public/other days continue to accrued during your period of maternity leave.

Am I still entitled to my holidays when I'm off on Maternity Leave?

Yes, annual leave continues to accrue as normal during your period of maternity leave.

If I'm off sick because of my pregnancy, will my maternity leave start early?

If you are absent from work due to any pregnancy related illness during the four week period prior to the week in which your due date falls then your maternity leave will commence automatically regardless of when it was originally due to commence.

What happens if I want to return from my Maternity Leave early?

If an employee intends to return to work before the end of their full maternity leave period (i.e. 52 weeks), or before a date they had previously agreed, they must give 8 weeks’ written notice of the new date on which they intend to return to their line manager (with a copy to the relevant HR Team)

What happens if I don't want to return to work after Maternity Leave?

If the employee does not intend to return to work, they must comply with their obligation to give notice as set out in their terms and conditions of employment.

Am I entitled to return to the same job following a period of Maternity Leave?

An employee returning to work from a period of Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) will generally return to the job in which they were employed prior to the leave, on the terms and conditions that would have applied had they not been absent. Where an employee is returning from a period of Additional Maternity Leave (AML), they are entitled to return either to the same job, or if this is not reasonably practicable (for example due to exceptional circumstances such as a unit restructure), to an equivalent job which would be considered suitable alternative work, on terms and conditions no less favourable than would have applied if the they had not been absent.

What are KIT days?

KIT stands for ‘keeping in touch’. KIT days are a way of attending work during your maternity leave and may be used to keep up-to-speed with developments, to attend a training event or meeting, or any other reason you believe to be beneficial. Further details can be found in the Keeping in Touch During Maternity Leave section of the Maternity Policy.

How do I request a KIT day?

It is the responsibility of the line manager to monitor KIT days, and to record these within Manager Self Service within 5 days of the employee attending work.

How many KIT days can I do?

Employees may work up to a maximum of 10 days during their maternity leave period.