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Maternity Policy Date created May 2009 Department Human Resources Review date May 2011 Version 1.0 Equality Impact Date undertaken: Assessment: (EIA) Issues (if any): This document is available in alternative formats other languages, Braille and large print. Maternity Policy 1. Scope 2. Maternity Leave 3. Notification 4. Time off for ante-natal care 5. Return to work 6. Contact during maternity leave 7. Keep in touch days (KIT) 8. Health & Safety 9. Pregnancy related illness 10.Leaving employment 11.Temporary cover 12.Protection against dismissal 13.Maternity leave, payments and allowances 14.Terms and conditions of employment 15.Holiday entitlement 16.Council property 17.Superannuation 18.Continuous Employment 19.Request for flexible working 20.Contacts 21.Review & Glossary of terms Appendix 1. Notification of maternity leave Appendix 2. Guidance notes Appendix 3. Notification of return from maternity leave Hart District Council believes that interests of staff and the Council are best served by the formulation and implementation of clear and consistent employment policies and procedures. This policy statement details the Council’s policy on Maternity in the workplace. It takes into consideration all legal requirements and will be applied in accordance with the Council’s Equality and Diversity Commitment to treat all its employees with dignity and respect. 1.0 SCOPE This policy applies to all pregnant employees of Hart District Council regardless of hours of work and length of service at the material time. The Policy relates to babies due on or after 5th October 2008. 2.0 MATERNITY LEAVE All pregnant employees are entitled to take up to 52 weeks maternity leave, regardless of length of service with the Council. Maternity leave is a single continuous period and is made up of: Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) OML is up to 26 weeks duration. The earliest date an employee can commence maternity leave is from the beginning of the 11th week before the Expected Week of Confinement (EWC) up until the birth itself. Maternity leave shall commence no earlier than 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth or from the time of childbirth if that is earlier, in the case of premature babies. This leave begins when either:- (a) Notice has been given to the Council of the employee’s intention to commence OML and the maternity leave commencement date is agreed. (b) The birth occurs. Leave begins automatically on the day the baby is born, but the employee must inform the Council at the earliest opportunity or Statutory Maternity Pay will be reduced. In the event the birth is premature the employee should ask her Doctor or Midwife to complete and sign a Certificate of Confinement (MATB2) which is found on the reverse of the MATB1. The MATB1 is available after the 21st week of pregnancy. (c) If the employee falls ill (or is already absent from work) with a pregnancy related illness on or after the beginning of the 4th week before the EWC, but before the date after the employee has notified, the maternity leave period begins automatically on the day after the first day of her absence. Additional Maternity Leave (AML) AML lasts up to 26 weeks and, if taken, must follow immediately after OML. Compulsory Maternity Leave While an employee can decide how much OML and/or AML they wish to take, the employee may not return to work immediately after childbirth. This period of Compulsory Maternity Leave is 2 weeks from the date of childbirth. This leave forms part of the employee’s OML. 3.0 NOTIFICATION The employee should notify their Line Manager and Human Resources of her their pregnancy by completing the Notification of Pregnancy (Appendix 1), EWC and the date on which she intends to start her OML before the end of the 15 th week before the EWC by supplying a MATB1 which can be obtained from her GP or midwife. If the employee agrees to a date when her maternity leave commences and wishes to change this date the employee is required to give the Council 28 days notice of this change. As soon as the MATB1 becomes available and a date is agreed for the maternity leave to commence Human Resources will confirm details of the maternity leave in writing. A risk assessment will be arranged via HR as soon as the Line Manager and HR are notified. 4.0 TIME OFF FOR ANTE-NATAL CARE All pregnant employees are entitled to paid time off to attend antenatal care. Employees are required to inform their Line Manager of the appointments with as much notice as possible and may be asked to provide written confirmation of appointments from the second appointment onwards. Where at all possible, appointments should be scheduled at either the start or the end of the working day. 5.0 RETURN TO WORK Employees will be regarded as returning to work early if they wish to return during or after OML. An employee is required to give 8 weeks’ notice of her intended date of return if this deviates from the date agreed prior to commencement of maternity leave. Regardless of whether the employee intends to return on a date earlier than the agreed date of return during OML or AML she is required to give 8 weeks’ notice. An employee may not work for another employer during OML or AML. Employees have the right to return from OML to the same job, on the same terms and conditions of employment. After AML the employee is entitled to return to work in the same job on the same terms and condition as if she had not been absent. However if there is some reason why it is not reasonably practicable for the employee to return to the same job, then she should be offered a similar job. The terms and conditions should be no less favourable than those of her original post, and it should be both suitable for her and appropriate in the circumstances. The employee has no right to delay her return beyond the absence entitlement, unless she has agreed with her Line Manager to use her leave entitlement. If she is sick she must provide a Doctor’s certificate to this effect. Provided that she complies with this requirement the Council will then treat her as having returned, but absent due to sickness. Where a potential redundancy situation exists the Redundancy and Redeployment Policy will be invoked and every effort will be made to offer alternative suitable employment. Where your job ceases to exist due to redundancy while you are on maternity leave you will continue to be "employed" until the end of your maternity leave (including any unpaid maternity leave). You are entitled to be offered a suitable alternative job, if one has arisen during your absence. This means that if a suitable vacancy occurs while you are away it will be held for you. If there is no suitable vacancy the employee is entitled to a redundancy payment, if eligible. 6.0 CONTACT DURING MATERNITY LEAVE There will be reasonable contact from time to time between the Council and the employee which either party is entitled to make (for example to discuss an employee’s return to work). The employee should agree what kind of contact is appropriate, i.e. e-mail, telephone etc. 7.0 KEEPING IN TOUCH DAYS An employee may carry out up to a maximum of 10 days work for the Council during her statutory maternity leave period without bringing her maternity leave to an end. For the purposes of this regulation any work carried out on any day shall construe a day’s work. KIT days cannot be worked during the two weeks after childbirth. The KIT days are not guaranteed and the employer has the right not to provide any of the maximum of 10 KIT days. Equally the employee has the right not to work during the statutory maternity leave period. Any amount of work done on a KIT day counts as one KIT day. Therefore, if an employee comes in for a one-hour training session and does no other work that day, she will have used up one of her KIT days. 8.0 HEALTH & SAFETY It is the responsibility of the Line Manager to ensure that the pregnant employee is not exposed to any undue risks. The Line Manager should contact Human Resources as soon as they have been advised by the employee that she is pregnant. HR will then arrange for a Risk Assessment to be carried out. In addition the pregnant employee should not knowingly expose themselves or their unborn child(ren) to any undue risks which could endanger them or their child(ren). 9.0 PREGNANCY RELATED ILLNESS A pregnant employee’s maternity leave beings automatically if the employee is already ill and absent from work, or is taken ill with a pregnancy related illness at any time on or after the beginning of the 4th week before the EWC 10.0 LEAVING EMPLOYMENT Employees may opt to return to work following their maternity leave or may declare that they will not be returning to work after the birth of their baby. If the employee decides not to return a letter of resignation will be required for payroll purposes. In these circumstances the employee will not be eligible for occupational maternity pay and the normal contractual notice in writing will be required. 11.0 TEMPORARY COVER The responsibilities of an employee on maternity leave may be covered by a temporary employee. A temporary employee recruited directly by the Council will be advised that he/she is replacing an employee currently absent due to maternity. 12.0 PROTECTION AGAINST DISMISSAL The dismissal of an employee will automatically be unfair, regardless of length of service or hours of work if: It is on maternity related grounds and takes place during her pregnancy or OML/AML period. It occurs after the end of the maternity leave period of absence and is on the grounds that she has taken or availed herself of the benefits of that leave. It is on the grounds of a Health & Safety provision which could give rise to maternity suspension. It is on the grounds of redundancy and the Council has not fully complied with the requirement to offer her any suitable alternative vacancy which is available She is unfairly selected for redundancy for one of the above reasons. 13.0 MATERNITY LEAVE & PAYMENTS AND ALLOWANCES All employees are entitled to at least 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave (OML) and 26 weeks additional maternity leave (AML). This applies regardless of length of service. Employees who do not qualify for statutory maternity pay may be entitled to claim maternity allowance. If you are entitled to maternity allowance you must claim it from the DSS and inform the Council of the amount you are receiving. Maternity pay can commence on any day of the week. The qualification for the maternity allowance is based on the individual’s recent national insurance record. Employees with less than 1 years’ service on the 11th week before the EWC will receive maternity pay of 6 weeks at nine tenths average weekly earnings plus 20 weeks at the statutory rate. If you have one year's service or more, maternity pay will be as follows; Weeks 1-6: - Nine-tenths of an average week’s pay, (This is inclusive of contractual car cash allowances). Weeks 7-18: - Half pay plus SMP The total will not exceed your full pay. (Alternatively the equivalent amount (i.e. 6 weeks’ pay) may be paid on any other mutually agreed distribution. Weeks 19-39: You will receive SMP entitlement only. Weeks 40-52: - Unpaid absence 12 weeks half pay is subject to you returning for 3 months at the end of the maternity leave period. If you do not intend to return to work, you will receive your entitlement to SMP only. During the period of ordinary maternity leave and additional Maternity leave, the employee's contract of employment continues in force and she is entitled to receive all her contractual benefits, except for salary. In particular, any benefits in kind such as car allowance, essential car user allowance etc. 14.0 TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT The Contract of Employment will continue to apply throughout both OML and AML unless the Council or the employee provides notice of termination in accordance with that individual’s terms and conditions of employment. In the case of a Fixed Term contract the contract may expire on the due date in accordance with the terms of that agreement While on OML the employee will benefit from all of the terms and conditions which would have applied to them as if they had been at work instead of on leave, except the terms and conditions regarding ‘remuneration’ (where remuneration is defined as monetary, wages or salary payable). While on AML the only terms of the contract that must apply in accordance with statute are the employer’s obligations of trust and confidence to the employee and the employee’s obligation of good faith to the employer. 15.0 HOLIDAY ENTITLEMENT Both OML & AML shall be regarded as continuous service and annual leave will continue to accrue during both leave periods. In the event that an employee takes their full entitlement to AML (52 weeks) which coincides with the leave year, options to discuss with the employee are: Agree with the employee that she may take some of her annual leave prior to her departure on maternity leave. Agreeing an earlier return date (e.g. a period of time prior to the expiry of the agreed date of return) and agreeing to take annual leave. In the event annual leave dates cannot be agreed prior to taking maternity leave, this can be agreed at a later date with reasonable notice. 16.0 COUNCIL PROPERTY Employees should return any Council property (i.e. mobile phones, laptop, keys, manuals, protective clothing etc) during the period of OML and AML. This applies to employees who work from home and/or whose normal place of work is located at one of the Council’s offices. There may be a need for the individual who is employed to cover for the absent employee to use the equipment supplied to the employee on maternity leave. 17.0 SUPERANNUATION If you are a member of the Local Government Superannuation Scheme contributions will be deducted on all payments during paid maternity leave. This period will count as full service. During unpaid maternity leave you will be retained in the scheme but the period will not count as superannuable service unless you arrange for the necessary contributions to be paid. You must do this within 30 days of returning to work. Payroll will be pleased to offer detailed advice on superannuation 18.0 CONTINUOUS EMPLOYMENT The employee continues to be employed during their OML period, which therefore counts towards her period of continuous employment for the purposes of entitlement to other statutory employment rights (for example, the right to a redundancy payment). It also counts for Pension rights and pay increments under the employee’s Contract of Employment. Annual leave accrues in the normal way. The Contract of Employment continues throughout the AML unless either party expressly ends it or it expires. 19.0 REQUESTS FOR FLEXIBLE WORKING Please see flexible working policy for information on requesting flexible working patterns. 20.0 CONTACTS Your main contact should be your line manager, however if you require further information on maternity leave you should contact a member of the Human Resources Team. 21.0 REVIEW This policy will be reviewed and amended in line with legislation and will be subject to a formal review on an annual basis. GLOSSARY OF TERMS The Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) is the week in which the baby is due. Childbirth means the birth of a child or a still birth after not less than 24 weeks of pregnancy. Week of Childbirth means the week beginning with midnight between Saturday and Sunday, in which the baby is actually born. MAT B1 is the certificate provided by your doctor or midwife detailing your expected week of childbirth. A week's pay means the amount payable to you for working your normal hours in a week. * OML ordinary maternity leave AML additional maternity leave *Where there are no normal hours it is the average of the last 12 weeks preceding the date on which the last complete week ended, which is used for occupational maternity pay. This will exclude any week in which no remuneration was earned. Appendix 1 Notification of Maternity Leave To: - Line Manager From: - Service:- 1. Home address: ___________________________________________ 2. Post Title: ______________________________________ 3. Payroll No: ___________________________________________ 4. Employment Start Date: _______________________________ 5. The expected week of childbirth EWC is: _________________ Medical Certificate/Doctor's evidence form (MAT B1) is attached. 6. I intend to commence my Maternity Leave on _____________ 7. I intend to take annual leave immediately before my maternity leave. This will be from _____________ to _________________ 8. I intend/do not intend* to return to work after my maternity leave for a period of 3 months. (*Delete as appropriate) Signed (employee) _____________________________________________________ Signed (Line Manager) ________________________________________________ 1. You should complete this form no later 28 days before you wish to commence Maternity Leave. 2. You should be aware that you may commence your maternity leave at any time after the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth. Appendix 2 GUIDANCE NOTES FOR STATUTORY MATERNITY PAY 1. To Qualify You Must :- a. Be employed during the Qualifying Week (QW) that is the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. b. Have been continuously employed for the 26 weeks before and including at least one day of the Qualifying Week. c. Have average earnings in the 8 weeks prior to the QW, which are not below the limit to pay National Insurance. d. Still be pregnant at the 11th week before the baby was due or have had the baby by that time. e. Produce medical evidence of Expected Week of Childbirth at least 21 days before Maternity Leave is due to start. (Form MAT B1.) f. Remain within the European Community. g. Not work during the Maternity Pay Period (26 weeks pay). h. Not be in legal custody. 2. Forms required by the Human Resources Department a. MAT B 1 -medical evidence of the date the baby is expected b. Notification of when Maternity Leave is to start. (See Appendix 1) Leave should start on a Sunday, as SMP is only payable from a Sunday. You may start Maternity Leave any time from the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth. 3. Sickness and SMP Your Manager must inform the Payroll Department immediately if you go on Sick Leave, as dependant on whether the illness is pregnancy related or not will affect when SMP becomes payable. Appendix 3 Notification of Return to work after maternity leave To:- (Line Manager) From: - Unit:- 1. Full Name: ________________________________________________ 2. Home address: ___________________________________________ 3. Contact Phone ___________________________________________ Number 4. Post Title:______________________________________ 5. Pay No: ___________________________________________ Please delete as applicable A. I intend to return to work with the HDC On ......................................................................... (date) OR B. I do not intend to return to work with the Authority. I understand that this means I forfeit my statutory right to return. Signature: - _____________________________________________________ Date: - _____________________________________________________ CONT........ Notes:- 1. This notification must reach your Line Manager within the recommended timescales (See page 3), if you are returning before your expected return date. 2. You will normally be expected to return to your original job, but you may ask the Council to consider alternative conditions such as a switch from full time to part time work. If this is the case it may be useful to discuss these options with your manager as soon as possible alternatively you should accompany this form with a letter explaining your wishes. 3. You are reminded that if you wish to ‘buy-back’ your superannuation, which would otherwise be lost, you must contact the payroll section within 30 days of your return.
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