Advice For Business

Maternity Policies

Maternity policies set out the statutory rights and obligations of employees who are pregnant and will set out the employers responsibilities during pregnancy and whilst the employee is on maternity leave.

Such a policy could include the statutory entitlement for time off for antenatal care and details with regards to accompanying a pregnant woman to antenatal appointments.

The policy could also refer to the employee and their spouse or partner may having eligibility to opt into the statutory shared parental leave scheme “SPL”, this scheme gives employees more flexibility to share leave and pay in the child’s first year.

Statutory Entitlement

The maternity policy should detail the statutory entitlement which currently is that all employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave, consisting of 26 weeks’ Ordinary Maternity Leave (“OML”) and 26 weeks’ Additional Maternity Leave (“AML”). The current statutory maternity pay (“SMP”) is payable for up to 39 weeks subject to the employee having at least 26 weeks continuous employment with the employer before the end of the 15th week before the week that the employee expects to give birth (qualifying week). The first 6 weeks of SMP are paid at 90% of the employee’s average earnings and the remaining 33 weeks are at a rate set by the Government which currently is £148.68. This is subject to the employee’s average earnings being not less than the lower earnings limit set by the Government each year.

A maternity policy should set out details of when the employee should inform the employer that they are pregnant and reference may be made to health and safety considerations and/or risk assessments. The notification of information should include details of the expected week of childbirth, the date the employee would like to start their maternity leave and also requiring the employee to provide the employer with a MATB1 form.

The policy should include that holiday entitlement will continue to accrue during maternity leave plus that with the exception of pay, all existing terms and conditions of employment remain in force during both OML and AML. Reference should also be made to “keeping in touch” days and information provided on returning to work.

The norm is that policies do not form part of an employee’s contract of employment and there is normally a clause setting out that these can be subject to amendment or change at any time.

Contact us today to discuss your Workplace policies and how they can help you avoid employment disputes. Call Susan or Victoria on 0161 684 6948.