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Guidance Notes on Maternity Leave and Pay

1. Who Should I Tell?

As soon as possible you should inform your Headteacher/ Manager that you are pregnant. Your Headteacher/ Manager needs to know in order to assess whether there may be any health and safety risks to you or your baby connected with your work (please refer to section 8 Health and Safety Implications).

You should let your Headteacher/ Manager know if you do not wish to ‘go public’ with this information and it will be treated confidentially until you inform him/her otherwise.

You will also need to formally notify your Headteacher/ Manager of your intention to take Maternity Leave (please refer to Section 9 Notification Requirements).

Payroll Services provide maternity interviews. These can be arranged at the Civic Centre or over the telephone.  You can make arrangements for your interview by contacting Payroll Section, HR & OD Services on 020 8901 2655 or internally x 5955.  


2. Am I Entitled to Maternity Leave?

Yes. All pregnant women are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave, this comprises of 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks additional maternity leave.

You must take a minimum of two weeks maternity leave following the birth of your baby.

Please see Appendices 1-4 for detailed information.


3. Will I Receive Maternity Pay?

Probably, but how much and who pays will depend upon your length of continuous Teaching Service, whether with one or more LEA’s.

Please seek advice from Payroll Section, HR & OD Services on 020 8901 2655 who will inform you of your personal entitlement.

Please see appendices 1-4 for detailed information.


4. What Happens About Experience Increments?

Maternity leave is counted as work where an experience increment would otherwise be due.


5. When Can I Start My Maternity Leave?

You may commence your maternity leave anytime within 11 weeks of when your baby is due. Your maternity leave can commence on any day.

However, if your baby arrives early, before the date you have notified that you wish your maternity leave to begin, your maternity leave will commence the day following the birth of your baby. If you are entitled to receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) this will also be paid from the day following the birth of your baby.


6. What If I Work Part-Time?

This makes no difference, you will receive exactly the same entitlement whether or not you work full-time, based on your service and part-time percentage.


7. What About Antenatal Care?

All pregnant employees, regardless of their length of service or hours of work, are eligible for paid time off for ante-natal care including Hospital/ Doctor’s appointments and childbirth classes where these cannot be arranged outside of working hours. You should give your Headteacher/ Manager reasonable advance warning of your need for time off for this purpose and if requested by your Headteacher/ Manager you must produce evidence of your appointments.


8. Health And Safety Implications

When you notify your Headteacher/ Manager of your pregnancy he/ she will carry out a risk assessment to ascertain whether you or your baby are at risk from your working conditions.

If, following the assessment, your Headteacher/ Manager identifies difficulties with your working conditions it may be possible to make adaptations to accommodate your continued working. However, depending upon the type of work you do, it may be necessary to temporarily redeploy you to a ‘safe’ working area in order to comply with Health and Safety regulations.

If it is not possible to find alternative employment on a temporary basis you may be ‘suspended’ on full pay until such employment can be identified or your maternity leave begins.

If you unreasonably refuse an offer of suitable alternative employment you will lose the right to be paid.

If, during your pregnancy you are concerned about any health issues concerning yourself or the health of your baby due to working conditions or practices, you should discuss these with your Headteacher/ Manager. In addition Occupational Health Services are pleased to offer counselling and advice throughout your pregnancy and following your return to work (Tel. 0800 141 2784).


9. Notification Requirements – Intention To Take Maternity Leave

At least 14 weeks before the expected birth you will need to give your Headteacher/ Manager written confirmation of when your baby is due: your Doctor or midwife will give you a certificate (MATB1) which covers this requirement.  This form will be issued by the 26th week of pregnancy and you should show it to your Headteacher/ Manager before forwarding it to Payroll.

In addition you must give your Headteacher/ Manager a minimum of 28 days written notice of your intention to take Maternity Leave stating the week your baby is due and the date on which you intend your Maternity leave to commence. At this stage it would be helpful if you let Payroll know whether you wish to defer receipt of your 12 weeks half pay until your return date (if you are eligible to receive half pay).


10. Notification Requirements – During Maternity Leave

As your entitlement to Maternity Pay quoted above may include SMP payments, you must notify your Headteacher/ manager and/ or Payroll, HR & OD Services if:

a) You are taken into legal custody during your period of maternity leave

b) After the baby is born, you start work during the Maternity Pay Period for an employer other than Harrow, as SMP is not payable in these circumstances


11. What Happens If I Am Sick?

If during the course of your pregnancy you are off sick you must submit Doctor’s Certificates in the usual way. You should not remain at work if you are certified as medically unfit to do so. 

If you are absent from work due to illness this will be treated as sick leave unless you are within 4 weeks of the week in which your baby is due.

If you are absent from work on pregnancy related grounds within the 4 weeks before the baby is due, your maternity leave and payment of maternity pay must commence even if you have notified your intention to work beyond this point.

If you are sick during the 4 weeks prior to the week in which your baby is due for reasons unrelated to your pregnancy you will be entitled to sick pay in accordance with the usual procedure.


12. Keeping In Touch

The Headteacher/ Manager and the Teacher are allowed to make reasonable contact during maternity leave, to discuss such issues as the return to work. The Teacher should also be kept informed of other issues, such as job vacancies, significant workplace developments and training opportunities.

You can do 10 days work, during your maternity leave period, without bringing your maternity leave to an end.  Working for part of a day will count as one day. Work is defined as any work done under the contract of employment and may include training or any activity undertaken for the purposes of keeping in touch with the workplace. This work must not be carried out during the first two weeks following the birth of your child. It is an offence to allow a woman to work during this period and the Council may incur a fine.

If you carry out any work over the permitted 10 days, you will lose your SMP for the week in which the work was undertaken.

The Headteacher/ Manager cannot insist that you carry out any work and you are protected from suffering a detriment or being dismissed for refusing to do so. Equally you cannot insist on being given any work to do.

You are not entitled to have your maternity leave period extended, due to the fact that you have carried out some work during this period.

When you work during your maternity leave, you will receive the normal rate of SMP. If your entitlement to SMP or Maternity Allowance has expired and you are receiving no pay, you will receive normal pay for that day.


13. What Are My Rights On Returning To Work?

If you return to work after the first 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave, you are entitled to return to the job you occupied before your maternity leave. If you have taken additional maternity leave, you are entitled to return to your original job unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so.  In which case, you are entitled to be offered suitable alternative employment on terms and conditions no less favourable than those that would have been applicable if you had not taken maternity leave e.g. the same number of hours in the same or similar post (as specified in your contract).

However, provided you meet the criteria in the flexible working legislation, you may also have the statutory right to apply to work flexibly. In this case, your Headteacher/ Manager is required to give serious consideration to your request to return to work on a different basis and can only refuse requests where there is a clear business reason for doing so. You should contact HR Operations on 020 8424 1110 to obtain full details in relation to the right to request flexible working.

In any case, you should discuss with your Headteacher/ Manager your arrangements for returning to work as early as possible. Any request for a change will be given serious consideration and your needs will be accommodated if this is possible.


14. Who Do I Notify Regarding My Intention To Return To Work?

There is no legal requirement for you to notify us of your intended date for return to work. It will be assumed that you will return to work at the end of your 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave on the date given to you by Payroll. If you have not informed us otherwise, a failure to return to work on this date will be treated as unauthorised absence.

If you intend to return before the end of your Additional Maternity Leave (52 weeks) – you are required to notify your Headteacher/Manager, in writing, a minimum of 21 days before the day on which you propose to return to work.

If you change your mind about your early return date - and the date is earlier, you must inform your headteacher in writing a minimum of 21 days before the new date. If the new date is later than the original date given for early return, you must give notice of 21 days before the original date.

If Appendix 3 applies to you, please contact HR Operations Advice Line for advice on 020 8 424 1110.

HOWEVER – It would be helpful for you to stay in touch with your Headteacher/ Manager throughout your maternity leave keeping them aware of your plans for return and confirming your proposed date of return as soon as possible. 


15. What If I Do Not Wish To Return To Work?

You will have to give some thought as to whether you wish to resign from your post or exercise your right to return to work. You should give careful consideration to this decision as once you have resigned we cannot guarantee you any employment.

If you do not intend to return to work following your maternity leave you should inform your Headteacher/ Manager as soon as possible. Obviously, the earlier your Headteacher/Manager knows your plans, the easier it will be to make the necessary arrangements. You should give your normal notice in writing unless your Headteacher/ Manager agrees a lesser notice period with you.

If you resign during your maternity leave period, even if you are going to another school, the Authority will continue to make payments of maternity pay up to and including the 39th week (although this will not include any of the 12 weeks Occupational Maternity (half) pay). Payments will then cease. 

If you have received 12 weeks Occupational Maternity Pay (half pay), you must return to work for a minimum of 13 weeks. If you do not, you will be required to repay this plus National Insurance contributions. You will not be required to repay the SMP element.


16. Redundancy During Maternity Leave

If a situation arises where you are made redundant during your maternity leave period, you can still exercise your right to return to work at the end of your period of maternity leave if you are found suitable alternative employment before the date of redundancy. If suitable alternative employment is found, the new role would take effect immediately on the ending of your employment under the previous contract.


17. Sickness Immediately Following Maternity Leave

If you are unable to return to work due to sickness at the end of your maternity leave, you will be treated as if you are on sick leave and you will receive sick pay as appropriate, provided you comply with the normal rules of the sickness scheme.

If you have notified your Manager, in writing, of a date for your early return to work, you will be treated as if on sick leave from that date and you will receive sick pay as appropriate, provided you comply with the normal rules of the sickness scheme.


18. Facilities For Returning Mothers

When you return to work, facilities will be made available for you to breastfeed or need to express and store milk.


19. Teachers’ Pension Scheme

If you normally contribute to the Teachers' Pension Scheme, you are required to pay pension contributions during your maternity leave, for as long as you are in receipt of Maternity Pay. However any period of unpaid maternity leave is not pensionable.

Please contact the Teachers' Pension Agency on 0845 606 6166 for further information.


20. Newly Qualified Teachers Within Their Induction Year

An extension to the induction period will be offered following return from maternity leave.


21. What Will Happen To My Other Benefits During Maternity Leave?

Salary Sacrifice Schemes

If you have entered into a salary sacrifice scheme (e.g. for childcare vouchers) and you wish to continue in the scheme whilst you are on maternity leave, the Council will make the necessary payments if your salary falls below the monthly amount to be sacrificed e.g. during the SMP and 13 weeks unpaid periods. It should be noted that statutory maternity pay can not be sacrificed.

Other Benefits

If you are in receipt of other allowances on a regular basis, these may continue to be paid. You should contact Payroll Section for further clarification. 


22. Miscarriage/Still Birth

(a) If you miscarry or the baby is stillborn before the 25th week of pregnancy you will receive sick pay as appropriate on receipt of Doctors’ certificates. Although you will not be eligible for Maternity Pay or Maternity Leave, consideration may be given to granting special leave.
 
(b) If you miscarry or the baby is stillborn from the 25th week onwards – you will be entitled to Maternity Leave and Maternity Pay.

(c) If your baby is born alive you will be eligible for Maternity Pay and Maternity Leave regardless of the number of weeks of pregnancy.

Each situation will be unique and we shall provide individual advice on request to the mother and to her Headteacher/ Manager when appropriate.


23. Related Policies

Full details of the following policies are available from HR & OD Services on 020 8424 1110:

Parental Leave

If you have more than one year’s service with Harrow Council, you have the right to take time off work to care for your child (Parental Leave).

Parents of children born, or adopted on, or after 15th December 1994 have this right to take 13 weeks unpaid leave before the child’s 5th birthday.  Parents of children in receipt of disability living allowance are entitled to take up to 18 weeks unpaid Parental Leave.

Flexible Working Policy

Employees who are the parents of children aged under 16, or of disabled children aged under 18, or those with caring responsibilities will have the right to apply to work flexibly. Employers have a duty to consider such requests seriously. 

The Council extends the right to flexible working regardless of whether they have caring responsibilities or not, however priority will be given to those who have a statutory entitlement.

Maternity Support Leave/Paternity Leave

An employee may be entitled to up to two week’s paid leave to care for a partner or dependant who has had a baby. Please see scheme for further details.

Job Share Scheme

Posts are eligible for job share, subject to an assessment of suitability by the Headteacher/ Manager/ Governing Body. Applications for job share may made by existing employees as well as at the recruitment stage.

Childcare Voucher Scheme

Employees can take advantage of savings towards childcare costs through tax and national insurance exemptions.  The childcare vouchers can be used to pay for childcare for children aged 0-15 years old and can be used to pay for any approved or registered childcare provider including day nurseries, childminders/ nannies, crèches, before/ after school clubs and holiday clubs. 

For more information about this scheme, contact Computershare Voucher Services on 0345 002 1111 or visit http://www.computersharevoucherservices.com/


Appendix 1

TEACHERS’ MATERNITY LEAVE

MORE THAN 26 WEEKS’ CONTINUOUS SERVICE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 15TH WEEK BEFORE THE EXPECTED WEEK OF CHILDBIRTH (EWC) AND MORE THAN ONE YEAR’S CONTINUOUS SERVICE AT 11 WEEKS BEFORE EWC

ENTITLEMENTS AS FOLLOWS:

MATERNITY LEAVE comprising

  • 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave, followed by 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave making a total of 52 weeks
  • Your maternity leave entitlement is based on the date your maternity leave commences i.e. 52 weeks from the date you begin your maternity leave
  • You will be expected to return to work on the date notified to you by Payroll
  • You are not required to give notice of your return unless you intend to return to work before the end of your 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave (i.e. at the end of 52 weeks). If you wish to return earlier than this you must give 21 days notice, in writing, of the date you intend to return


Maternity Pay

You will receive:

  • 4 weeks full pay (90% is at higher rate Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP))
  • 2 weeks 90% of full pay (higher rate SMP)
  • 12 weeks half pay plus SMP* (lower rate SMP)
  • 21 weeks SMP (lower rate SMP)
  • Remaining 13 weeks maternity leave unpaid

*Under the Occupational Maternity Scheme you are eligible to receive 12 weeks at 50% pay.  Payment of the 12 weeks at 50% is conditional on your returning to your job following maternity leave for a minimum of 13 weeks. 

Should you fail to return to work, or cease employment with the Council within 13 weeks of returning, you will be required to repay these monies.

If you prefer, you have the option to defer payment until you return to work following maternity leave. If you decide to do this you will receive the payment in your first salary payment.


For further information please see the Guidance Notes for Teaching Staff


Appendix 2

TEACHERS’ MATERNITY LEAVE

MORE THAN 26 WEEKS’ CONTINUOUS SERVICE BY THE END OF THE 15TH WEEK BEFORE THE EXPECTED WEEK OF CHILDBIRTH (EWC) 
(but less than one year’s continuous service @ 11 weeks before the EWC)

ENTITLEMENTS AS FOLLOWS:

MATERNITY LEAVE comprising

  • 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave
  • 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave making a total of 52 weeks
  • Your maternity leave entitlement is based on the date your maternity leave commences i.e. 52 weeks from the date you begin your maternity leave.
  • You will be expected to return to work on the date notified to you by Payroll
  • You are not required to give notice of your return unless you intend to return to work before the end of your 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave (ie at the end of 52 weeks).  If you wish to return earlier than this you must give 21 days notice, in writing, of the date you intend to return.

Maternity Pay

You will receive:

  • 6 weeks 90% full pay (higher rate Statutory Maternity Pay)
  • 33 weeks @ lower rate Statutory Maternity Pay (if entitled), followed by Remaining 13 weeks maternity leave unpaid

For further information please see the Guidance Notes for Teaching Staff on Maternity Leave and Pay


Appendix 3

TEACHERS MATERNITY LEAVE

LESS THAN 26 WEEKS’ CONTINUOUS SERVICE AT THE END OF THE 15TH WEEK BEFORE THE EXPECTED WEEK OF CHILDBIRTH

ENTITLEMENTS AS FOLLOWS:

MATERNITY LEAVE comprising

  • 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave (unpaid)
  • 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave (unpaid) making a total of 52 weeks
  • Your maternity leave entitlement is based on the date your maternity leave commences i.e. 52 weeks from the date you begin your maternity leave
  • You will be expected to return to work on the date notified to you by Payroll
  • You are not required to give notice of your return unless you intend to return to work before the end of your 52 weeks Additional Maternity Leave.  If you wish to return earlier than this you must give 21 days notice, in writing, of the date you intend to return

Maternity Pay

You will not be entitled to receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)* or Occupational Maternity Pay from Harrow Council.

You will be given an SMP1 form so that you can claim Maternity Allowance from the Benefits Agency.


For further information please see the Guidance Notes for Teaching Staff on Maternity Leave and Pay


Employee’s Checklist

EMPLOYEE must:

WHEN?

 

Notification of Pregnancy

She must notify her Manager, in writing, that:

  • She is pregnant
  • The week her baby is due
  • The date she wants her maternity leave to start
  • Provide MATB1 Certificate
  • If wants to defer 12 weeks @ 50% pay.

 

By 28 days (latest) before her Maternity Leave begins
(note – if only gives 28 days notice cannot later change date for her maternity leave to start)

To change start date for maternity

Give notice, in writing, If she wishes to change her maternity leave-start date

 

Minimum of 28 days before

 

 

To notify of early  return from Maternity Leave

Must give notice, in writing, If she wishes to return from her maternity leave early

 

Additional  Maternity Leave - a minimum 21 days before


Employer's Checklist

 

 EMPLOYER must:

 

WHEN?

 

 

Carry out a risk assessment

As soon as know employee is pregnant

 

 

Instruct employee to approach Payroll for details of her entitlements

 

As soon as know employee is pregnant

Acknowledgement of receipt of pregnancy information and notification of date for return to work

 

  • Acknowledge receipt of information given
  • Set out her entitlements
  • Give her date to return to work

Within 28 days of receipt of letter from employee notifying of her pregnancy and when she wants her maternity leave to start