MATERNITY LEAVE

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MATERNITY LEAVE Powered By Docstoc
					Effective from August 2009

                           Maternity leave and pay

1.       Policy statement
This policy aims to support mothers through employment matters relating to
pregnancy and childbirth. Supporting employees through maternity makes
good business sense for the council, retaining valuable knowledge and skills,
and contributing towards equality of opportunity.
2.       Scope of policy
This policy applies to all employees other than:
        school based staff; and
        uniformed fire officers.
Staff within schools may be covered by this procedure by specific acceptance
of the governing body.
3.       Principles of policy
The principles of the policy:
        Sharing the government‟s commitment that every child has the best
         start in life;
        Complying with statutory requirements;
        Creating choices for parents;
        Retaining skills and knowledge within the workforce; and
        Actively pursuing equality of opportunity.
4.       Legal background
Maternity rights are contained within the Employment Rights Act 1995 and the
Work and Families Act 2006.
5.       Maternity leave entitlement
All employees are entitled to take 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave (OML),
and a further 26 weeks additional maternity leave (AML) regardless of length
of service or hours worked. There cannot be a gap between the two.
6.       Maternity pay
Maternity pay can consist of occupational maternity pay and/or statutory
maternity pay (SMP), or Maternity Allowance which is paid by the Benefits
Agency if the employee does not qualify for SMP.
Maternity pay varies depending upon an employee‟s length of service. To
qualify for statutory maternity pay employees have to have 26 weeks‟ service
with NCC as at 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC). They
also need to have earnings above the lower earnings limit for national
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insurance contributions. If they are not entitled to SMP, employees may be
able to claim maternity allowance from the Benefits Agency.
Employees‟ entitlement to maternity pay is as follows:

                           Weeks 1-6                     9/10ths of a week‟s pay.
     Statutory Maternity
             Pay           Weeks 7-39                    SMP rate (or 9/10ths of
                                                         a week‟s pay if this is
   Less than 1 year‟s                                    less).
  continuous service at
 11th week before EWC.
                           Weeks 40-52                   Unpaid

                           Weeks 1-6                     9/10ths of a week‟s pay

                           Weeks 7-18                    SMP if employee has
                                                         indicated they do not
                                                         intend to return.
       Occupational
                                                         If the employee has
       Maternity Pay
                                                         indicated their intent to
     At least 1 year‟s                                   return, SMP (or MA)
  continuous service at                                  plus         occupational
 11th week before EWC.                                   maternity pay, which is
                                                         equal to half pay.

                           Weeks 19-39                   SMP.

                           Weeks 40-52                   Unpaid.

For the purposes of occupational maternity pay, a week‟s pay is calculated by
dividing the employee‟s annual gross salary by 52.142.
If they are not entitled to SMP, employees may be able to claim maternity
allowance from the Benefits Agency.
Maternity pay will commence on the date specified in the employee‟s notice,
provided she starts her leave on this day.
An employee cannot receive more than full pay, therefore if she receives
occupational maternity pay (half pay) plus SMP (or MA), this will be scaled
down if it amounts to more than full pay.
Previous local government qualifying experience may count towards an
employee‟s entitlement to maternity pay. Advice will be given through the
Business Support Service Desk.
An employee who receives occupational maternity pay but returns to work for
less than 3 months has to repay some or all of that amount. This may be
waived by the relevant Service Director if there are exceptional reasons why
she should not re-pay the occupational pay she has received.
7.       Requesting maternity leave
By the 15th week before her baby is due, the employee should write to her line
manager outlining her plans. She should state:

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        that she is pregnant;
        when her baby is due; and
        when she wants her maternity leave to begin.
Once she receives her MAT B1 certificate from her doctor or midwife, and in
any event at least 21 days before her absence begins, she should forward the
form to her line manager along with a completed Notification of Maternity
Leave form.
Click here to access the form
8.       Starting maternity leave
Maternity leave can begin any day of the week from the 11th week before her
expected week of childbirth up to the week of childbirth itself.
If the employee takes time off sick from work for a reason connected to her
pregnancy and there are fewer than 4 weeks before the baby is due, her
maternity leave will automatically start from the following day.
If the baby is born sooner than expected the maternity leave will automatically
start the following day.
9.       Return to work
An employee must not return to work for a period of 2 weeks after the birth.
Her date of return will be up to 52 weeks after her maternity leave began. This
represents a period of 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks
additional maternity leave.
If the employee wants to return before 52 weeks, she must advise her line
manager and HR Customer Services of the date she is returning in writing at
least 7 days during OML and 21 days during AML before the date she plans to
return.
Click here for standard letter
Her line manager will respond in writing agreeing the date provided the
appropriate notice has been given.
Click here for standard letter
Employees have the right to vary their return date provided this date falls
within the 52 week maternity leave entitlement. She will need to give 7 days‟
notice during OML and 21 days‟ notice during AML to vary this date and must
put the request in writing to the manager.
Click here for standard letter from employee
Click here for standard letter from employer
If, because of sickness, the employee is unable to return to work on the
appointed date, she will need to produce a medical certificate. Therefore, as
long as she follows the sickness procedure, she will be entitled to
occupational sick pay from the date she would have returned.




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10.      Annual leave and bank holidays
Annual leave accrued up to the commencement of maternity leave should be
taken before maternity leave starts. The employee will continue to accrue
annual leave whilst on maternity leave.
On return, any remaining annual leave should be taken before the end of the
leave year. If this is not practical due to the timing of the return, it should be
taken within the first 2 months of the next leave year.
Employees should be given a substitute day of paid leave for any bank
holidays that fall during the 26 week ordinary maternity leave period. This will
be pro-rata for part time employees.
11.      Pension contributions during maternity leave
If the employee is a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme, she
will continue to pay contributions during the first 39 weeks leave, whether this
is 9/10ths, half pay or statutory maternity pay, unless she chooses to opt out.
These contributions will be based on the pay she actually receives, but will
allow service to be treated as if she was working normally. After the 39 weeks
she may freeze her contributions or continue to pay them. If she decides to
freeze them, her pension rights will be halted until she returns to work. More
details are available from the county council Pensions Section or the Maternity
Information Pack for employees (see below).
12.      Contractual benefits during maternity leave
A number of contractual benefits continue during ordinary maternity leave for
example;
Essential car user allowance
If the employee is an essential car user, she should continue to be paid the
essential user lump sum element in full for the first 26 weeks. After this,
payment stops until the employee submits a travelling expense form.
Leased cars
If the employee has a lease car, the repayments will continue as normal:
         -        for the first 26 weeks of maternity leave, this includes any
                  contributions made by the council; and
         -        after the first 26 weeks, the employee will need to pay the gross
                  charge applicable to the car, without any contribution from the
                  council.
Car Loans
If the employee has a car loan, repayments continue for the duration of
maternity leave.
If the employee does not intend to return to work, the normal rules apply when
terminating employment.
In special circumstances (e.g. in cases of extreme hardship), it may be
possible to vary loan or lease car repayments during maternity leave, although
doing so may incur extra interest charges. Further details can be found in
“Car Loans” and “Car Leasing Scheme”. Advice is also available through the
Business Support Service desk.
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13.      The job an employee returns to
An employee has a right to return to her job following maternity leave.
If, because of redundancy or other exceptional circumstances (eg a re-
organisation) this is not possible, then she must be offered a suitable
alternative vacancy on terms and conditions no less favourable than the job
that she left.
It is important that the line manager should maintain appropriate contact with
the employee throughout her maternity leave period and keep her informed of
any changes to her job during this time.
An employee may wish to return on a part time or job share basis. If so, she
should put in a request as soon as possible. The manager must give such
requests careful consideration and not refuse without there being a justifiable
reason.
See policy D5 to access the flexible working arrangements policy.
Advice is available through the Business Support Service desk.
14.      Reasonable contact
Reasonable contact between managers and employees is allowed during the
maternity leave period without bringing maternity leave to an end. Examples
of this contact could include discussions about her return to work, KIT days
and keeping her informed of any training opportunities.
It is good practice for managers and employees to agree how the contact will
take place before the period of maternity begins. Advice about reasonable
contact can be gained through the Business Support Service Desk.
15.      Keeping in touch days
An employee is not obliged to do any work during maternity leave, but may
come back and work up to 10 days. These days are called “keeping in touch
(KIT) days” and are to be used to help the employee back into the working
environment and provide an opportunity to familiarise themselves with any
changes.
Any hours worked on a KIT day will count as one whole day against the 10 kit
days but not for payment purposes. So for example, if an employee normally
works full time and attends work for part of a day (e.g. 3 hours) this will count
as one KIT day, and they will be paid for the 3 hours – see below.
These days are not limited to the normal day to day work arrangements and
could for example, be used to attend a conference, undertake training or
attend a team meeting. The manager and the employee must agree the
working arrangements, where possible these should reflect the employee‟s
normal contract of employment e.g. if part time and normally work 3 hours per
day – working hours on a KIT day should be 3 hours.
The manager and the employee should also agree work that will be carried
out, for how long and on what days.
KIT days are to be mutually agreed, employees are not required to undertake
work and cannot insist that work is made available.


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Managers are responsible for monitoring the number of KIT days worked to
ensure they do not exceed 10. It is also the Manager‟s responsibility to
ensure that no work is undertaken during the first 2 weeks following childbirth.
The manager will confirm the agreed arrangements in writing.
Click here for standard letter
Payment for KIT days;
Where employees use a KIT day to attend a meeting, training session or carry
out work, they will be paid for the actual hours worked at the normal
contractual rate of pay on the KIT day.
Employees will receive Statutory Maternity Pay (if due) at the appropriate rate,
as usual and any payment at the normal contractual rate of pay for hours
worked on a KIT will be paid in addition to your Statutory Maternity Pay.
If an Employee is receiving Occupation Maternity Pay then payment for hours
worked on a KIT day will be offset against her Occupational Maternity Pay.
Click here to access keeping in touch days form
16.       Sickness during pregnancy
If an employee is absent due to a pregnancy related illness on or after the
beginning of the 4th week before her EWC, her maternity leave automatically
begins.
Where her absence is not related to pregnancy, she is entitled to sick pay,
even if this occurs on or after the beginning of the 4th week before the EWC.
17.       Responsibilities of managers
The line manager‟s obligations begin as soon as he/she is made aware that
an employee is pregnant and continue until 6 months after childbirth or until
she stops breast-feeding.
Managers should:
         complete a risk assessment considering the risks to an employee‟s
          health and safety from her work. The manager should take any
          necessary action to reduce or eliminate the risk. This applies
          particularly to an employee who works at night and produces a medical
          certificate which states that her health and safety is at risk from this.
         respect an employee‟s right to paid time off to attend ante-natal care.
          Managers may ask to see evidence of appointments, after the first
          occasion; and
         provide adequate facilities for expressing and storing milk.


Further information on risk assessing the work of new and expectant mothers
can be found in the „Risk assessment procedure‟ on the HR pages of the
intranet under Health and Safety.
Click here to access Risk Assessment Procedure




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If an unacceptable risk is identified and cannot be avoided, then managers
should:
                 alter working conditions or hours; or if this is not reasonable;
                 offer suitable alternative employment; or
                 „suspend‟ the employee on full pay.
A “Maternity Leave Information Pack” is available for employees.
Click here to access the Information Pack.




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