This Maternity Policy covers all employees who are expecting a baby.
Staff may also wish to refer to the following related policies where appropriate:
- Adoption and Surrogacy
- Shared Parental Leave
- Paternity Leave; and/or
- Parental Leave.
- See also Maternity Key Dates for Notification and Action Checklist.
The University is committed to the advancement of equality, diversity and inclusion for all of its staff and to developing working practices and HR policies that support work-life balance. Reflecting this commitment the provisions of the University’s maternity policy exceed the statutory requirements.
The aims of the policy are to explain:
- The provisions for maternity leave and pay
- Who is eligible
- How to apply
1.3 Glossary of terms
|EWC||Expected week of Confinement/childbirth – the week starting on a Sunday in which the baby is due.|
|MATB1||Medical certificate confirming EWC issued by a GP/Midwife after the 20th week of pregnancy.|
|KIT days||Keeping in Touch days.|
|SPLIT||Shared Parental Leave Keeping in Touch days.|
|SMP||Statutory Maternity Pay – the minimum payable to those who qualify as set out in legislation.|
|Qualifying week||The 15th week before the EWC.|
|Maternity Allowance||A payment made by the government if you are not entitled to receive SMP, but meet other eligibility criteria.|
|Mother||The individual who gives birth to a child.|
|Partner||The term 'partner' refers to the child's biological father or the mother's partner, eg. spouse, civil or long-term partner and inclusive of all gender identities.|
1.4 Maternity leave
All pregnant employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave regardless of their length of service. The first 26 weeks is known as ordinary maternity leave and the second 26 weeks as additional maternity leave. In addition to this statutory leave, Brookes offers all pregnant employees an optional 11 weeks’ additional maternity leave (AML) - 63 weeks in total.
It is for the individual employee to decide how much maternity leave they wish to take. However, the law requires that they must take a minimum of two weeks’ leave immediately following the birth of the child.
The earliest that maternity leave can start is 29 weeks, i.e. 11 weeks before the Expected Week of Confinement (EWC).
An employee can change the start date of their maternity leave, providing they give a minimum of 28 days’ notice before the agreed original start date.
If an employee has a pregnancy-related absence from work during the four weeks before the EWC, maternity leave will commence automatically.
If the baby is born before the intended start of maternity leave, maternity leave and pay will commence the day after the birth. The mother should complete the notification of birth form and send/email it to HR as soon as possible. A copy of the birth certificate or document signed by a doctor or midwife confirming the actual date of birth should also be sent to HR as soon as reasonably practicable.
An employee may choose to share their maternity leave with a partner. Please refer to the Shared Parental Leave Policy for further information and guidance on the procedure.
1.5 Brookes’ Occupational Maternity Pay
To qualify for Brookes’ full Occupational Maternity Pay, an employee must:
have 26 weeks’ continuous service with the University at the beginning of the 15th week before the EWC;
have gross average earnings at least equal to the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) in the last eight weeks up to and including the last payday before the end of their qualifying week (i.e. 15th week before EWC). (Go to https://www.gov.uk/ to search for current LEL rate). Note: periods of unpaid leave prior to maternity leave may affect maternity pay. Further information can be obtained from HR or Payroll.
submit the MATB1 certificate as proof of pregnancy – usually issued by the doctor/midwife 20 weeks before the EWC; and
intend to return to work for a minimum of 13 weeks after maternity leave.
If the employee meets all the above criteria, maternity pay will be as follows:
13 weeks at full pay (including SMP)
13 weeks at 50% salary plus SMP flat rate*
13 weeks at SMP flat rate*
If the employee does not intend to return to work for a minimum of 13 weeks following maternity leave, they will be entitled to a reduced level of Occupational Maternity Pay as follows:
13 weeks at full pay (including SMP element)
26 weeks at SMP flat rate*
*Statutory Maternity Pay ( SMP ) for employees is: 90% of their gross average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks and the current SMP rate or 90% of their gross average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks (flat rate).
An employee who receives full Occupational Maternity Pay and does not return to work for the qualifying 13-week period, will be asked to repay the difference between the full rate and the reduced level. This may be offset against any outstanding annual leave.
To avoid this situation, an employee who does not intend to return to work (or who thinks that this is a possibility), or who is on a fixed-term contract that expires during the period of maternity leave, can opt to receive the reduced level of maternity pay.
An employee who opts for the lower rate, or whose fixed-term contract is extended, and subsequently returns to work for 13 weeks, and meets all the qualifying criteria for full Occupational Maternity Pay will be paid the difference on completion of 13 weeks back at work.
An employee should complete the Maternity Pay Forecast Request Form to obtain a pay forecast from Payroll.
If a request to change working hours (FTE) is agreed prior to returning to work following maternity leave, the employee will be able to complete the qualifying 13 weeks at the newly agreed FTE/hours of work. For example, if they were 1.0 FTE prior to taking maternity leave, they will not be expected to work 1.0FTE for the 13 week period, before reducing to their new agreed FTE.
- The 13 weeks at half pay is optional and dependent on an intention to return to work for at least 13 weeks pro-rata after the period of maternity leave. Any time off on annual leave or a career break, for example, doesn't count towards the qualifying 13 weeks pro rata period.
- In the unusual circumstances that the baby is born prematurely before the qualifying week (15th week before the EWC), the employee will be deemed as satisfying the continuous employment rule, if they would have been continuously employed but for early childbirth. Maternity pay will be paid from the day following the birth of the baby.
If an employee has a miscarriage before the start of the 24th week of pregnancy they will not be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or maternity leave. Absence from work in this instance would be dealt with under the normal sick pay and/or compassionate leave arrangements.
In the sad event of a stillbirth after the start of the 24th week of pregnancy, or if the baby dies after being born, all maternity rights apply in the same way as with a live birth.
In the event of a miscarriage or stillbirth, support may be provided by Occupational Health including the option for counselling.
Maternity pay will be paid monthly through payroll as per normal salary payments and will be subject to any tax and National Insurance contributions.
1.6 Maternity Allowance
If a pregnant employee is not eligible for Brookes’ Occupational Maternity Pay/ Statutory Maternity Pay, they may be entitled to Maternity Allowance. Payroll will issue the employee with an SMP1 form which the employee should submit with their completed MA1 claim form. The employee may wish to contact HR or payroll for further help and advice.