Maternity leave for academic staff and related matters
- 1. Introduction
- 2. National regulations for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
- 3. The University's maternity leave scheme for academic staff
- 4. Keeping in Touch (KIT) days
- 5. Resignation on grounds of maternity leave
- 6. The return to work: flexibility
- 7. Requests for 'non-standard' working arrangements in the longer term
- 8. Paternity leave
- 9. Parental leave
- 10. Further information
These notes set out the respective requirements and benefits of Statutory Maternity Pay and of the University's maternity leave scheme as it relates to academic staff; and set out the University's arrangements for the return to work, for paid paternity leave and for parental leave, and for longer-term 'non-standard' working arrangements. Any queries should be directed as follows:
- Humanities Division:
Ms Parsons, Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road (Tel. 2-70559, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Social Sciences Division and Museum staff:
Ms Phillips, Hayes House, 75 George Street (Tel. 6-14857, email: email@example.com)
- Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division:
Ms Sutcliffe, 9 Parks Road, (Tel. 2-82588, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Medical Sciences Division:
Mrs Sundaram, Medical Sciences Divisional Office, The John Radcliffe (Tel. 553-21945, email: email@example.com)
Ms Haugen, Medical Sciences Divisional Office, The John Radcliffe (Tel. 553-21620, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Continuing Education:
Mrs Nickless, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square (Tel. 2-70310, email: email@example.com)
2. National regulations for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
2.1 All pregnant employees have the right to 52 weeks' maternity leave regardless of their length of service or hours of work. During the first 26 weeks, the employee will be entitled to the benefit of the terms and conditions of employment which would have been applicable to her if she had not been absent (and had not been pregnant or given birth to a child), with the exception of remuneration.
2.2 Additionally, any pregnant woman who has been continuously employed with the same employer for 26 weeks or more at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth is entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). Those who qualify for SMP will receive a total of 39 weeks' pay from this source, at the rate of 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings for each of the first six weeks of their maternity leave and the flat rate of SMP (£135.45 as at 6 April 2012) for each of the remaining 33 weeks.
2.3 The employee may begin her maternity leave at any time after the beginning of the eleventh week before the expected week of childbirth.
3. The University's maternity leave scheme for academic staff
Subject to the requirements set out in the following paragraphs, academic staff who are pregnant are eligible for 26 weeks' leave on full pay, followed by 13 weeks' SMP and 13 weeks' unpaid leave. These provisions apply to both full-time and part-time staff (on a pro-rata basis as far as the level of payments to part-time staff is concerned). 1
The University will normally grant maternity leave to CUF lecturers (subject to the requirements below) concurrently with leave granted by the college. Normal practice is also to dispense CUF lecturers from the obligation to give any lectures which they would otherwise have given during the period of maternity leave.
3.1 To qualify for the benefits of the University's paid maternity leave scheme, an employee must show that she had been continuously employed by the University for a minimum period of 26 weeks at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.
3.2 This entitlement may be extended to academic staff in outside-funded posts (e.g. posts funded directly by research councils) provided that the relevant funding bodies give their agreement in advance and on the understanding that any additional maternity leave costs which result from an outside grantor refusing to provide extra funding will be the responsibility of the appointing body.
3.3 Divisions may, at their discretion, offer a period of special paid leave equivalent to the University's maternity leave scheme to employees who do not qualify for the scheme, in cases where circumstances warrant such leave.
3.4 Notification of intended maternity leave should be submitted to the divisional contact shown above as soon as possible (see section 1) but in any case no later than the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. This should comprise written notification of the pregnancy, the periods of maternity leave (paid or unpaid) which the employee plans to take, and a medical certificate (MAT B1) confirming the expected week of childbirth. Any changes to the leave dates should be notified to the divisional contact 28 days before the leave starts whenever possible
Full information should be supplied about the implications of the leave, for example in respect of substitute university teaching required, the position of graduate students supervised, and examining commitments.
Details of the position regarding concurrent leave from the college should also be supplied.
Replacement teaching arrangements must be agreed by or on behalf of the divisional board, on the recommendation of the faculty board/department concerned.
3.5 The employee may begin her maternity leave at any time after the eleventh week before the expected week of childbirth, subject to the provisions of paragraphs 3.8 and 3.9 below.
3.6 Nothing in these notes shall prejudice the right of the University to reclaim the whole or part of the non-statutory element of maternity pay if the employee fails to return to work and to continue in employment for at least a further three months.
3.7 The employee's maternity leave will begin on the notified leave date, save that if she is absent wholly or partly because of pregnancy or childbirth after the beginning of the fourth week before the expected week of childbirth, she will be deemed to have begun her maternity leave. If the absence is due to an illness which is not related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employee will be deemed to be on sick leave and will be entitled to the University's sick pay scheme (if eligible) or to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) until either the notified start of maternity leave or the birth of the child.
3.8 Where childbirth occurs before the day on which the employee's maternity leave period would otherwise begin the contractual maternity leave period shall begin with the day on which childbirth occurs.
3.9 Maternity leave will not count against normal entitlement to paid sick leave, subject to the right of the University to take into account absence granted under paragraph 3.7 above.
3.10 It will be assumed that an employee is taking her full entitlement to leave unless she gives at least eight weeks notice of her intention to return at an earlier date, except that she may not return to work within two weeks of the birth (or still-birth).
3.11 Normal remuneration and benefits will continue during periods of paid maternity leave including the period when SMP only is paid. Personal and employer's superannuation contributions will be suspended during periods of unpaid maternity leave, but where a member of staff elects on her return to work to pay her outstanding contribution, the University will do likewise.
3.12 There shall be no distinction between live and still births in the granting of maternity leave.
3.13 In the event of the employee being employed on work which may endanger her pregnancy, arrangements will be made to protect both the mother and the unborn child. For this reason pregnant employees are asked to notify the appropriate authority of their pregnancy as soon as possible so that the necessary risk assessments may be carried out.
3.14 Average weekly earnings shall be calculated in accordance with Part 4 of the SMP (General) Regulations 1986.
3.15 Any period of paid maternity leave does not affect an individual's eligibility to apply for sabbatical leave or dispensation from lecturing obligations. Unpaid leave is however discounted as qualifying service for the purpose of calculating such eligibility.2
4. Keeping in Touch (KIT) days
Staff may, with the agreement of their department/faculty and college as appropriate, attend for work or training on 10 days during the maternity pay period without losing their maternity pay for those days. Further details are available from the division contact shown above.
5. Resignation on grounds of maternity leave
5.1 A member of academic staff who is leaving to have a baby and does not propose to return to work is entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay provided that she satisfies the conditions for its payment as set out in this guidance.
5.2 Applications for this payment should be submitted in writing to the divisional contact shown above at least 28 days before the start of the maternity leave, enclosing a medical certificate giving the anticipated childbirth date.
5.3 Where a member of staff offers her resignation shortly after a period of maternity leave the University may seek to reclaim the whole or part of the non-statutory element of maternity pay if the period of the return is less than three months, under the provisions of 3.5 above.
6. The return to work: flexibility
It has been agreed that women returning from maternity leave should be permitted, where possible, to return to full-time work on a phased basis i.e. return to work part-time on a temporary basis.
- Any such arrangement is subject to the approval of the divisional board, which will consider applications on the recommendation of the relevant faculty board/department. Exceptionally, operational requirements may mean that it is not possible to give approval, but it will not unreasonably be withheld.
- The arrangement is separate from any request a member of staff might make to return part-time on a permanent basis, which would be subject to local operational requirements and would be considered by the divisional board on the recommendation of the relevant faculty board/department (see section 7 below).
Applications under this section should be made to the divisional contact shown above in conjunction with the notification of maternity leave referred to in paragraph 3.3. above, and should give all relevant details (including the position on the college side).
7. Requests for 'non-standard' working arrangements in the longer term
It is recognised that some staff may prefer to return to work on a part-time basis or to work 'non-standard' hours to fit in with, for example, school terms. The divisional board will therefore give reasonable consideration to requests for part-time working, and for variations in working hours (such as school hours or school term-time only working), although always subject to operational requirements as reflected in the recommendation the relevant faculty board/department will make on any application which is made.
8. Paternity leave
The University's paternity leave scheme provides two weeks' ordinary paterntiy leave on full pay to be taken at any time from the expected week of childbirth or adoption until 56 days following the birth or adoption. The leave may be taken as a two-week block or two blocks of one week each, and is available to same-sex partners as well as to biological fathers. In addition, parents of children born or planned for adoption on or after 3 April 2011 may choose to share the care of their child during its first year. If the mother returns to work before exhausting statutory maternity leave and/or pay entitlement the partner may take a period of additional paternity leave, to a maximum of 26 weeks. The amount of additional paternity leave and pay the father can take depends upon the amount of maternity leave and pay the mother takes. Further details are available from the divisional contact shown above.
9. Parental leave
The parental leave regulations, which came into force on 15 December 1999, give qualifying employees of either sex the right to unpaid parental leave from that date, subject to their giving the appropriate notice. Up to 13 weeks' leave in total is available for each child who is under five years old and has been born or adopted after 15 December 1999 (up to 18 weeks' leave for a child under eighteen who is in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance).
Retrospective arrangements now apply for children born or adopted between 15 December 1994 and 14 December 1999. No more than four weeks of such leave may be taken in any one year, and the leave must be taken in blocks of at least one week at a time. Further details are available from the divisional contact shown above. The agreement of the department/faculty board must be obtained in all cases.
10. Further information
Further information (designed principally for non-teaching staff in departments) is available in the Personnel Services family leave webpages. It covers the material in these notes as well as related issues in rather more detail.
1 The periods of leave available are maxima: women may take less than the maximum entitlement if they wish. For paid maternity leave under this scheme, the period of full pay will include any relevant SMP.
2 Women who do not qualify for SMP or the University's scheme and wish to take 26 weeks' unpaid leave will continue to accrue entitlement to sabbatical leave or dispensation from lecturing obligations during the 26 weeks' absence.