Maternity and Paternity policies, rights and procedures

Our policy is to fully comply with legislation on maternity leave, pay and rights and to ensure these rights are known and understood by employees.

This policy also covers related paternity, adoption and parental leave (post-maternity) rights. Shared parental leave is addressed in a separate policy.

If you have queries about your rights or the operation of these procedures you should raise your queries with the Finance Manager. Notification requirements covered in these procedures should be addressed to the Finance Manager.

If you are pregnant then, irrespective of service, you are entitled to take 26 weeks’ ordinary statutory maternity leave (two weeks of which must be taken immediately after the birth of your child), followed by an entitlement to 26 weeks additional statutory maternity leave.

Ordinary maternity leave

On or before the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth you must notify the Finance Manager of:

  • The fact of your pregnancy
  • The expected week of childbirth (EWC), supported by a medical certificate
  • Written notice of the date on which you wish to start your leave. This date cannot be earlier than the start of the eleventh week before the EWC. If you subsequently wish to change this date, you must notify the Finance Manager, in writing, at least 28 days before the date you are changing or the new date (whichever is earlier).

It is particularly important that you comply with the notification requirements because if you fail to do so you can lose your rights.

In deciding on a date, you may also wish to consider your holiday entitlement in the holiday year in which you commence your maternity leave. You may wish to take any remaining holiday before commencing your maternity leave.

Your maternity leave will start on:

  • the written date you have notified us; or
  • the first day when you are absent from work wholly or partly due to pregnancy after the beginning of the fourth week before the EWC; or
  • the day of childbirth (even if this is before the eleventh week before the EWC)

If you wish to return before the end of your 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave you must give 8 weeks’ written notice of your intention.

Additional maternity leave

The additional maternity leave follows on immediately after the 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave period and lasts for 26 weeks. We will assume that you are taking this leave unless you notify us to the contrary.

We will notify you of your expected return date. If you intend to return on that date, you need give us no further notice.

If you wish to return to work before the end of your additional maternity leave period you must give 8 weeks’ written notice of your intention.

Maternity pay

To be entitled to statutory maternity pay (SMP):

You must have been employed by Lara Nichols for at least 26 weeks, ending with the fifteenth week (the qualifying week) before the expected EWC;

Your earnings must be more than the lower earnings limit for the payment of National Insurance contributions;

You must notify the Finance Manager of when you expect our liability to pay you SMP will commence. This notice must be given at least 28 days before that date or, if this is not reasonably practicable then as soon as it is reasonably practicable.

SMP is paid for up to 39 weeks.

The first six weeks will be paid at the higher rate, which is 90% of your weekly earnings (calculated at an average of the eight weeks before the qualifying week).

The remaining 33 weeks will be paid at the lower rate of SMP (a rate determined by the Department of Work and Pensions) or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

If you have less than 26 weeks’ service at the qualifying week or if your earnings are at or less than the lower earnings limit for the payment of National Insurance contributions, you will be issued with a form SMP1, which you should forward to the local Social Security/Jobcentre Plus Office who will pay Maternity Allowance.

Antenatal appointments

An antenatal appointment is an appointment you make on the advice of your doctor, midwife or health visitor.

You have the right to reasonable paid time off for antenatal appointments, and this includes the time spent travelling to an appointment and waiting. It does not include entitlement to pay for time where you could reasonably attend work beforehand or return to work afterwards.

You cannot be refused time off for the first appointment, but for subsequent appointments we can ask you for written proof of the appointment and a certificate or note from your doctor or midwife, stating that you are pregnant.

‘Antenatal care’ isn’t just for medical appointments – it can also include antenatal or parenting classes if they’ve been recommended by your doctor or midwife.

Keeping in touch

We may make contact with you (and you with us) while you are on maternity leave, as long as the amount and type of contact is not unreasonable.

During maternity leave you can do up to 10 days’ work under your contract of employment, as long as we both agree for this to happen, and agree on what work is to be done and how much you will be paid for it.

Rights on return

You are entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions. If, exceptionally, this is not possible (for example if the job no longer exists) you are entitled to suitable alternative employment on terms that are not substantially less favourable.

You may want to consider any holiday accrued but not taken in the holiday year you return. If you wish to use it directly after your maternity leave then the usual notification conditions still apply.

If you do not wish to return to work we are entitled to the notice period specified in your contract. You will be entitled to holiday pay, accrued in the holiday year of your resignation, paid in lieu.

Further information can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave/overview

Paternity policy

Our policy is to fully comply with legislation on paternity leave, pay and rights and to ensure these rights are known and understood by employees. If you have queries about your rights or the operation of these procedures you should raise your queries with the Finance Manager or go to the website at the foot of this policy.

Paternity leave can be taken for either one week or two consecutive weeks after the child is born or placed for adoption (starting any day) and has to finish within 56 days of the baby’s birth.

Qualifying conditions

You are eligible for paternity leave if you:

  • have or expect to have responsibility for the baby’s upbringing and are either the
  • biological father of the baby
  • mother’s husband or partner (including same-sex relationships)
  • child’s adopter
  • husband or partner (including same-sex relationships) of the child’s adopter
  • must be taking the time off to care for the child
  • make a declaration that you are taking leave for the statutory purpose and that you meet these qualifying conditions
  • have 26 weeks continuous service ending with the 15th week before the baby is due (the qualifying week) and are employed from the 15th week before the baby is due up to the date of birth or have 26 weeks continuous service by the end of the week you are notified you are matched with your child

If you are the husband or partner to the mother, but are not in an enduring family relationship with the mother and baby then you are not entitled to paternity leave.

Notification requirements

You must notify us by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC), or within 7 days of being told by the adoption agency that you have been matched with a child, or as soon as reasonably practicable, of the following:

  •  your intention to take paternity leave
  • the expected week of the baby’s birth
  • whether you wish to take one week or two consecutive weeks’ leave
  • when you want to start your leave (if subsequently, you wish to change this date you must give 28 days notice in writing of the date you intend to start, where reasonably practicable)

It is particularly important that you comply with the notification requirements because if you fail to do so you can lose your rights.

Ante-natal appointments

Fathers and partners can take unpaid time off work to accompany a pregnant woman to see a midwife or obstetrician.

The right is to time off on up to two occasions for a maximum of 6.5 hours each.

You must notify the Finance Manager if you are an expectant father or the partner of the expectant mother and plan to accompany the mother to an ante-natal appointment. Time off to attend an ante-natal appointments is time off without pay.

Ordinary Paternity pay

To be entitled to statutory paternity pay (SPP) you must satisfy the qualifying conditions and the notification requirements.

Ordinary Paternity Pay is payable at the SPP rate OR 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

Ordinary Paternity pay will be for the length of leave that you have decided to take and is subject to the maximum of 2 weeks. The rate of SPP is determined by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Additional Paternity Leave

Additional paternity leave and pay is no longer available for babies due after 5 April 2015.  This has been replaced by shared parental leave.  See the section on shared parental leave for details.

Keeping in touch days

We may make contact with you (and you with us) while you are on paternity leave, as long as the amount and type of contact is not unreasonable.

Terms and conditions during leave

During paternity leave your contract of employment continues in force. All terms and conditions continue with the exception of wages, salary and other remuneration.

Rights on return

Your employment terms and conditions, except for remuneration, continue during paternity leave and you are entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions.

This is not an exhaustive statement of paternity rights. For more information go to:

https://www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave/overview

Adoption leave policy

Our policy is to fully comply with legislation on adoption leave, pay and rights and to ensure these rights are known and understood by employees. If you have queries about your rights or the operation of these procedures you should raise your queries with your manager. Notification requirements covered in these procedures should be addressed to the Finance Manager.

This policy applies to employees of both sexes when a child has been placed for adoption.

Entitlement to adoption leave can apply to partners of the same sex subject to qualifying conditions.

Ordinary adoption leave

You will qualify for ordinary adoption leave if you:

  • are the child’s adopter. Where a couple adopt, only one (the main adopter) can elect to take adoption leave, but your partner may be entitled to take paternity leave.
  • have notified the adoption agency that you agree to the child being placed with you and have agreed the date of the placement
  • have complied with the notification requirements, below.

Notification

You must give us notice, in writing, of your intention to take adoption leave within seven days of being notified of being matched with a child.

Because you only have seven days to give notice, it would be helpful if you notified the Finance Manager that you were trying to adopt a child early in the adoption process.

In some cases it will not be possible for you to give notice within seven days of being notified by the adoption agency of being matched with the child, in which case you must give notice as soon as reasonably practicable.

You must provide a letter from the adoption agency giving their name and address, the name and date of birth of the child, the date on which you were notified that you were matched with a child, and the date on which the child is expected to be placed with you for adoption.

Starting adoption leave

You can choose to start your adoption leave and your adoption pay period on the day the child is placed with you, or up to 14 days before the expected date of placement but no earlier than that date.

If you choose to start your leave on the day the child is placed with you and you are at work that day, your adoption leave and statutory adoption pay start the following day.

You are entitled to change the date you want to start your adoption leave and your adoption pay period provided you give notice of the new date in writing. If the reason for the change of date is because you want to start your leave and adoption pay period on the day the child is placed with you, you must give at least 28 days’ notice before the expected date of placement. If you are choosing a predetermined date, notice must be given at least 28 days before that date. In both cases, if it’s not reasonably practicable to give that much notice, you must do so as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Additional adoption leave

This is an additional 26 weeks of adoption leave which starts immediately after the end of ordinary adoption leave. If you qualify for ordinary adoption leave, you are also entitled to additional adoption leave.

Statutory adoption pay

You qualify for statutory adoption pay if:

  • You are still employed by Lara Nichols in the matching week; and
  • Your normal weekly earnings in the eight weeks before the end of the matching week are not less than the lower earnings limit for the payment of national insurance contributions.

Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks.

The first six weeks will be paid at the higher rate, which is 90% of your weekly earnings.

The remaining 33 weeks will be paid at the lower rate of SAP (a rate determined by the Department of Work and Pensions) or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). This right has been brought in line with current Statutory Maternity Pay.

You will be paid statutory adoption pay on your normal payday.

Disrupted placement

If you are notified the placement will not go ahead after you have started your adoption leave, or the placement is disrupted during your leave, your entitlement to adoption leave and statutory adoption pay ends eight weeks after the end of the week in which the disruption occurred. You must notify the Finance Manager as soon as reasonably practicable if the placement is disrupted during your adoption leave.

Early return

Once we have your notice to start adoption leave Lara Nichols will write to you within 28 days to notify you of the last day of your adoption leave, which will be the last day of your additional adoption leave. If you vary the day you want to start your adoption leave, the last day of your adoption leave will change. In this case, Lara Nichols will write to you again with the new end date.

If you wish to return to work before the end of your adoption leave period you must give eight weeks’ written notice of your intention.

Ordinary paternity leave

Your partner may be entitled to paternity leave and pay. See the Paternity policy (above) to assess qualifying conditions, notification requirements, pay and other conditions.

Additional paternity leave

Additional paternity leave and pay is no longer available for babies due after 5 April 2015.  This has been replaced by shared parental leave.  See the section on shared parental leave for details.

Termination of employment

If your employment ends for any reason during or after the qualifying week (provided you are employed for at least one day of the qualifying week) you retain your entitlement to statutory adoption pay. If you do want to resign, you must give the proper amount of notice due under your contract of employment. Should, however, you start working for another employer, you will lose your entitlement to statutory adoption pay from that date.

Terms and conditions during leave

During ordinary adoption leave your contract of employment continues in force. All terms and conditions continue with the exception of wages, salary and other remuneration.

Keeping in touch days

We may make contact with you (and you with us) while you are on adoption leave, as long as the amount and type of contact is not unreasonable.

During adoption leave you can do up to 10 days’ work under your contract of employment, as long as we both agree for this to happen, and agree on what work is to be done and how much you will be paid for it.

Return to work

If you only take ordinary adoption leave you are entitled to return to the same job. If you take additional adoption leave, or ordinary adoption leave with a period of parental leave of more than four weeks, and it is not reasonably practicable for you to return to the same job, you will be offered an alternative position on no less favourable terms and conditions.

Exceptions

You don’t qualify for statutory adoption leave or pay if you:

  • arrange a private adoption
  • become a special guardian or kinship carer
  • adopt a stepchild
  • adopt a family member or stepchild

This is not an exhaustive statement of adoption leave rights. For more information go to:

https://www.gov.uk/adoption-pay-leave/overview

Parental leave

You are entitled to take unpaid parental leave if you

  •  have completed one year’s continuous employment with Lara Nichols, and
  • are the parent (named on the birth certificate) of a child who is under eighteen years old or
  • have acquired formal parental responsibility, under appropriate legislation, for a child who is under eighteen years old.

The purpose of parental leave is to enable employees with parental responsibility time off to spend time with and to look after a child or to make arrangements for the child’s welfare.

Parental leave is unpaid, and is for a maximum of 18 weeks for each child and can be taken by both mothers and fathers. Leave taken with a previous employer counts towards the maximum entitlement.

When can you take parental leave?

You are entitled to take parental leave in respect of a child up to and including the child’s eighteenth birthday. The only exceptions to this are:

  • if the child was placed with you for adoption, you may exercise your entitlement to parental leave in respect of that child up to and including the eighteenth anniversary of the date on which the placement began, or the date of the child’s eighteenth birthday, whichever is the earlier
  • if Lara Nichols has postponed your request for parental leave

How much parental leave can I take?

You can take up to eighteen weeks unpaid parental leave per qualifying child. In the case of multiple births (i.e. twins, triplets etc) you can take up to eighteen weeks unpaid parental leave in respect of each child.

Parental leave cannot be taken in periods other than a week or a multiple of a week at any one time (except where the child is entitled to a disability living allowance), and is limited to a maximum of four weeks leave in respect of any individual child in any one year.

A year is the period of twelve months beginning on the date on which you first became entitled to take parental leave in respect of the child in question.

Requesting parental leave

At least 21 days before the start of your proposed period of parental leave you must notify the Finance Manager in writing that you wish take parental leave via your line manager. We may require seeing documentary evidence, to our reasonable satisfaction, of your right to take parental leave.

If you are an expectant father and the period of leave is to begin on the date on which the child is born, you must confirm in writing, to the Finance Manager, the expected week of child birth and the amount of leave required at least twenty one days before the beginning of the expected week of child birth.

If the leave is in respect of an adopted child and is to begin on the date of the placement for adoption you must confirm in writing to us in writing, to the Finance Manager, the week in which the placement is expected to occur and the duration of the period of leave at least twenty one days before the beginning of the week of adoption or if that is not reasonably practicable then as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Postponement of leave

We can postpone the period of parental leave requested by you if Lara Nichols considers that the operation of its business would be unduly disrupted by you taking leave during the period identified in your notice.

However we cannot postpone your parental leave if the period of leave is to begin on the date on which the child is born or on the date on which the child is placed with you for adoption.

We will give you written notice not more than seven days after your notice was given to the Finance Manager, if we wish to postpone your request for parental leave. This notice will specify reasons for the postponement and the start and end date to which the leave has been postponed. In all cases you may take a period of leave of the same duration as that specified in your notice and beginning on a day determined by us in consultation with you. We will not postpone parental leave for longer than six months after the date on which it was originally due to commence.

Protection of employment

Whilst on parental leave, you will continue to benefit from our implied obligation to you of trust and confidence and to the conditions of your employment relating to notice of the termination of employment, compensation in the event of redundancy and the disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Whilst on parental leave, you will continue to be bound by your implied obligation of good faith to us as your employers and the conditions of your employment relating to notice of termination of employment, disclosure of confidential information and participation in any other business.

If you exercise your right to parental leave, you will be afforded the right to return to work to the same job or to an equivalent or similar job, on the same terms and conditions as would have applied to you had you not been absent from work during the period of parental leave. You will not suffer detriment for taking or seeking to take parental leave or for any other reason connected with parental leave.

This policy was last reviewed in April 2018