This guidance was last updated on  03 December 2015
It is essential that you read all the guidance in these maternity leave pages.

This guidance is intended for pregnant employees and their managers and sets out the maternity leave and pay entitlements, and other rights of pregnant women and new mothers.

Overview of maternity leave

This guidance sets out the entitlements and benefits for pregnant employees and new mothers.

Throughout the guidance reference is made to the term 'employee', which means that the individual holds a 'Chancellor, Master and Scholars (CMS) of the University of Oxford' contract of employment, and therefore, subject to qualifying service, has full entitlement to employment benefits.

All pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks' statutory maternity leave, no matter how long they have worked for the University. It is up to the individual employee to decide how much maternity leave she wishes to take, (up to a maximum of 52 weeks), but the law requires that a minimum of two weeks' leave must be taken immediately following the birth of the child. This is known as compulsory maternity leave. The purpose of maternity leave is to allow the mother to give birth and to recover from giving birth to her baby, as well as to bond with, and care for, her new child.

There are differences between maternity leave (which all pregnant employees are entitled to) and maternity pay (for which there are qualifying criteria). If an employee satisfies certain qualifying conditions, she may be eligible to receive statutory maternity pay (SMP), in addition she may also be entitled to the University’s contractual maternity pay scheme (which pays over and above the statutory minimum).

A pregnant employee must give correct and timely notices to her department in respect of her maternity leave. The requirements for this and all other entitlements and obligations on the employee and her department, before, during and after her maternity leave are outlined in the relevant sections. You can navigate to these sections by using the 'Quick Links' menu on the right or the navigation menu on the left. All the guidance is also available to download as a PDF document from the right-hand side menu.

NB Where a surrogacy arrangement is planned, particular rules apply. Staff should speak to their Departmental Administrator (or equivalent) who should in turn seek advice from their HR Business Partner, who will advise on a case-by-case basis.

Glossary of University maternity terms

AML Additional Maternity Leave - the last 26 weeks of maternity leave.
EWC Expected Week of Childbirth - the week (starting on the Sunday) in which a baby is due 
KIT days  Keeping in Touch days, click here for further details.
MATB1 form  A GP or midwife issues this form after the 21st week of pregnancy. It needs to be submitted to the employing department, usually together with the employee's Maternity leave plan (74kb). 
MA Maternity Allowance - pay that may be payable if an individual does not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay.
OML Ordinary Maternity Leave - the first 26 weeks of maternity leave.
SMP  Statutory Maternity Pay, click here for further details.
Qualifying week For maternity pay purposes, this week is the 15th week before EWC, ie when a woman is approximately 25 weeks' pregnant.