Informing the University of pregnancy

Staff are able to come and speak to an HR representative in confidence without their line manager’s knowledge.

A member of staff can choose to tell the university she is pregnant as soon as she feels comfortable to do so, but at the latest she must inform the University of the date she wishes to take her maternity leave no later than the 15th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC), or if this is not possible, as soon as is reasonably practicable.  Notice should be given using the Leave and Pay form.  Maternity leave may commence no earlier than 11 weeks before the Expected Week of Childbirth.  The member of staff may change her start date for maternity leave but must give 28 days notice of the new date.

How the member of staff should tell the University she is pregnant

The member of staff must notify the HR Department using the leave and pay form and provide their line manager with a copy of the form. If any of the information required on the form has not been conveyed to the University, the member of staff can be asked to supply the relevant information.

The EWC must be confirmed by the MAT B1 maternity certificate from the member of staff’s doctor or midwife.  The University is not allowed to pay Statutory Maternity Pay until the certificate has been received and signed by a medical practitioner no earlier than 20 weeks before the Expected Week of Childbirth.  A pregnant woman is only entitled to one MAT B1.  If she has more than one employer she must request more than one MAT B1 because a photocopied MAT B1 is not acceptable to the DSS. 

It is set out in legislation that women who fail to give the required notification within the specified time limits may lose their rights to maternity leave and Statutory Maternity Pay.  The time limits are only extended in exceptional circumstances where it was not reasonably practicable for the notification in question to have been given any earlier.  If the University refuses to pay SMP in these circumstances, the member of staff must be given a written statement to that affect and may apply to an Adjudication Officer for a formal decision through the Benefits Agency.  The University must also provide the member of staff with a SMP1 Form to enable the member of staff to claim Maternity Allowance. SMP1 forms are supplied by the University’s Payroll Team.  It is the University’s decision whether to pay SMP or not, the Inland Revenue will advise on this.  If The University pay SMP where there is no entitlement, the Inland Revenue may challenge the University’s right to recover the payments.

Pregnancy meetings

As soon as a member of staff is in a position to inform her line manager of her pregnancy it is encouraged that a pregnancy meeting is held between the member of staff, her line manager and a representative from the HR Department, which the line manager is responsible for organising. If the member of staff does not want to be part of this meeting, a representative from the HR Department will still meet with the line manager so that the line manager has a full understanding of the maternity policy and their responsibilities. This meeting will not be held until the member of staff is happy for her line manager to know about her pregnancy. The meeting, using the maternity guidance document as a guide, will discuss the following, although other topic areas may also be included:

  • the maternity policy
  • rest places in the University for staff to sit comfortably or lie down
  • Brookes Nursery
  • Brookes childcare vouchers
  • Health and Safety, risk assessments and suitable work
  • annual leave
  • maternity leave
  • maternity pay
  • returning to work after the baby is born
  • breastfeeding in the workplace after the baby is born
  • part-time working
  • parental leave
  • contact during maternity leave - see contact on leave section
  • viewing current Brookes Vacancies through the Internet

The meeting should aim to ensure the member of staff has a clear understanding of her entitlements and responsibilities.

Contact on leave

Some members of staff like to have absolutely minimal contact during their maternity leave, whilst other members of staff like to have lots of contact. The pregnancy meeting should also establish the amount of contact the member of staff would like. As a minimum the member of staff’s line manager may contact the member of staff at least once a month by telephone but preferably twice a month. Staff are able to view current Brookes job vacancies and current events in the University through the Internet. Staff who do not have access to the Internet to view job vacancies and require a list of current vacancies to be sent to them whilst on maternity leave must request this from their link HR team. A member of staff also has a responsibility to maintain contact with her team during her time off should she wish a high level of contact.