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Maternity Policy (Parental Leave)

This Policy is only applicable for those staff employed in UCL Australia

Content

1. Purpose and Scope of the Policy

1.1 Scope
1.2 Aims of the Document
1.3 Criteria for Entitlement

2. Entitlement

3. Notification

3.1 Notification of Pregnancy
3.2 Entitlement Information
3.3 Notification of Change of Start Date
3.4 Notification of Early Return
3.5 Keeping in touch days

4. Rights during Maternity Leave

4.1 Continuity of Employment
4.2 Pension
4.3 Salary Deductions
4.4 Annual Leave
4.5 Granting of Maternity Leave

5. Commencement of Maternity Leave

5.1 When Maternity Leave can start
5.2 Childbirth before the Intended Start Date
5.3 Pregnancy- Related Sickness

6. Welfare

6.1 Compulsory period of Maternity Leave
6.2 Antenatal Care
6.3 Risk Assessment

7. Conditions

7.1 Maternity Pay
7.2 Return to work
7.3 End of Employment

8. Guidelines and Policies

8.1 Paternity/ Partner's Leave

1 Purpose and Scope of the Policy

1.1 Scope

This policy applies to all UCL staff based at UCL Australia.

1.2. Aim of the document

The aim of this document is to set out the UCL Australia UCL policy for maternity/adoption leave and pay which provides for the legislative entitlement to parental leave as outlined in the Fair Work Act 2009 and ensures consistency of approach with UCL's commitment to good employment practice.

1.3. Criteria for Entitlement

This policy relates to all categories of UCL staff irrespective of funding source. There is no qualifying length of service requirement for occupational maternity pay.

2 Entitlement

2.1. All employees are entitled to the following:

  • Occupational Maternity Pay

Occupational Maternity Pay is full pay for 18 weeks; the employee can chose for this to be paid in either of the following ways:
a ) 18 weeks' full pay, or
b ) 9 weeks' full pay followed by 18 weeks' half pay

  • Additional Unpaid Maternity Leave

In addition to the paid period of maternity leave detailed above, employees are entitled to 34 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.

2.2. If the employee chooses not to return to work or not to continue to work for at least three months after the period of maternity leave, UCL will normally reclaim the whole or part of the occupational maternity pay.

2.3. The maximum amount of leave allowed (including paid maternity leave and unpaid maternity leave) is 52 weeks, beginning on the date the employee advises UCL that maternity leave is to begin. The employee can opt to return to work any time normally from 2 weeks after the birth of the baby (see 6.1) up to the end of the 52-week period. The employee must give four weeks' notice to UCL if she intends to return to work earlier or later than previously notified.

2.4. Employees who have not given notice of their intention to return to work will not be entitled to maternity pay.

2.5 In addition to the provisions of this policy, UCL's Gender Equality Scheme provides for one term of sabbatical leave without teaching commitments for research active academic staff returning from maternity, extended carer's, or long term sickness leave. This leave will enable staff to more quickly re-establish their research activity. Academics interested in this term should meet with Chief Executive and complete the Sabbatical Term Expression of Interest form within four weeks of their return from maternity leave, as per the Sabbatical Leave Policy (see www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/sabbatical).

3 Notification

3.1 Notification of Pregnancy

An employee is required to notify the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer no later than 10 weeks before the Expected Date of Childbirth or adoption and of the expected start date of maternity/adoption leave. The employee must provide a medical certificate from a medical practitioner which states that she is pregnant and the expected date of birth.

The Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer will then notify the Human Resources Division, who will send an application form and other relevant documents to the employee. The employee is then required to return the completed application form to the Human Resources Division, enclosing a copy of her medical certificate which confirms the Expected Date of Childbirth.

Within four weeks of the first notification of the pregnancy, the Human Resources Division will write to the employee to confirm the maximum amount of maternity leave, the pay she is entitled to and the date by which she is expected to return to work.

3.2 Entitlement Information

To obtain advice on entitlement to maternity leave employees can contact the Administrator within the Human Resources Division who has responsibility for their department, who can be identified by visiting the Human Resources staff contacts page.

3.3 Notification of Change of Start Date

Employees can change the date maternity leave is due to start by giving the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer at least four weeks' notice (or, if that is not possible, as soon as is reasonably practicable). A new maternity leave application form will need to be completed and sent to the Human Resources Division.

3.4 Notification of Early Return

An employee must give at least four weeks' written notice if she intends to return to work earlier than previously notified (or, if that is not possible, as soon as is reasonably practicable). Employees should notify the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer in writing and a copy of the letter should be sent to the Human Resources Division.

3.5 Keeping in touch days

Employees and their managers can agree up to 10 'Keeping in touch' days during a period of maternity leave. During these days an employee may attend work, undertake training or keep in touch with work developments through other means without bringing the period of maternity leave to an end. Either the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer can suggest the use of this facility and will only agree to a 'keeping in touch' day when it is in UCL's interest and the day can be structured to ensure that it is used productively. Employees will be given time off in lieu (in the form of additional annual leave) for any keeping in touch days worked.

4 Rights during Maternity Leave

4.1 Continuity of Employment

Employees are entitled to return to work to the same job as prior to their absence. Where an employee exercises her right of return to work, the whole of her absence shall be regarded as part of her period of continuous employment with UCL for the calculation of superannuation, seniority benefits, accrual of annual leave and of entitlement to statutory rights.

4.2 Pension

For details of how your maternity leave affects your USS or SAUL pension, please contact Payroll and Pension Services or the local Pay Bureau for your Australian pension.

4.3 Salary Deductions

Where a member of staff has authorised salary deductions e.g. Trade Union membership, Additional Voluntary Contributions or Give as You Earn, these payments will continue to be deducted during paid maternity leave. Unless instructed otherwise, UCL will continue to pay the individual's contributions during periods of unpaid maternity leave and these contributions will be recovered from future payments. If you wish to cancel any subscriptions whilst on maternity leave, please contact Chief Financial Officer who will notify the Payroll Bureau.

4.4 Annual Leave

Annual leave (including bank holidays and UCL closure days) is accrued throughout the whole period of maternity leave. Any annual leave accrued during the current leave year may be used in lieu of any equivalent amount of unpaid maternity leave or taken after an elected period of unpaid maternity leave.

4.5 Granting of Maternity Leave

There shall be no distinction between live and stillbirths in the granting of maternity leave providing the pregnancy lasts for at least 24 weeks.

5 Commencement of Maternity Leave

5.1 When Maternity Leave Can Start

Maternity leave and pay can commence on any day from the start of the 11th week before the Expected Date of Childbirth.

5.2 Childbirth before the Intended Start Date

If childbirth occurs before the employee intended her entitlement to start, the maternity leave will start automatically from the day after the date of childbirth.

5.3 Pregnancy-Related Sickness

Pregnancy related sickness absence shall be dealt with under the UCL Australia Sickness Absence Policy. Where pregnancy related sickness exceeds paid entitlements under the Sickness Absence Policy then the employee will be entitled to unpaid special maternity leave. UCL Australia management may request a medical certificate in these circumstances.

6 Welfare

6.1 Minimum Period of Maternity Leave

The suggested minimum maternity leave which employees should take is 2-weeks commencing with the day on which childbirth occurs. This minimum period is considered good practice for the interests of employee health and safety.

6.2 Antenatal Care

Employees are entitled to take paid time off during working hours for antenatal care.

6.3 Risk Assessment

The Human Resources Division will give a risk assessment form to every employee once they have been informed of their pregnancy. If it is found that the employee is carrying out work that may endanger her pregnancy, arrangements will be made to protect both the mother and the unborn child. This will involve Occupational Health and the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer. Such arrangements may include a transfer to another safe job for the risk period; there will be no changes to the employee's terms and conditions during this period.

7 Conditions

7.1 Maternity Pay

Maternity pay (if applicable) commences simultaneously with the beginning of the maternity leave period and is paid monthly in arrears (in the same way salary is paid). Pay slips will be sent to the employee's home address.

7.2 Return to Work

On return to work after maternity leave, the employee is entitled to return to her prior position, or if the position no longer exists, a position for which s/he is qualified and suited nearest in status and in pay.

7.3 End of Employment

For employees who choose not to return to work, the appointment will terminate on the last day of work. 

8 Guidelines and Policies

8.1 Paternity/Partner's Leave, Parental and Adoption Leave

Details of UCL's paternity/partner's leave, parental leave and adoption leave are contained within the Policy on Leave for Domestic and Personal Reasons - UCL Australia Alternatively, copies can be requested from the Human Resources Division.

HR Policy and Planning
January 2010