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MATERNITY, PATERNITY, ADOPTION, PARENTAL LEAVE FAQS

These FAQs are intended to answer the most common questions around entitlements, responsibilities and processes related to maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave. If your question is not answered here please get in touch with your contact in HR Employment Contract Administration http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/eca/index.php who will assist.

The FAQs are divided into the following categories:

Policy
Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Parental leave
Pay
Antenatal appointments
Annual Leave
Returning to work
Redundancy
Finance/Funding
International Staff with limited leave to remain visa
Glossary of terms and common abbreviations

 

POLICY

1Where are the policies and supporting guidance relating to maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave?

The policy relating to maternity and adoption leave is to be found http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/maternity_links.php.

The maternity leave calculator is to be found https://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/maternity_calculator.php.

The policy relating to paternity (including additional paternity) and parental leave is to be found http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/leave_domest_personal_reasons.php#4.

Information about additional financial assistance for Departments is to be found http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/maternity_and_paternity_cover.php.

Details of designated UCL rest rooms are to be found http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/maternity_rest_rooms.php.

General advice and guidance is available through the Employee Assistance Programme, covering parenting, adoption, childcare, developmental stages, kids’ well-being and education https://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/occ_health/services/private/emp_assistance_program.php

UCL runs a childcare voucher scheme to help parents make considerable savings against the cost of childcare http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/childcare_voucher_scheme.php.

For information about UCL’s Day Nursery see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/about/division/daynursery_folder/daynursery.

2I transferred to UCL under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE). Which policies apply to me? Where can I access them?

If you transferred to UCL under TUPE you will retain your protected terms and conditions of employment, including entitlements to maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave. You should contact your HR Consultant for details of your protected terms and conditions http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/consultancy/index.php.

3What do I do if I don’t want to take statutory maternity leave?

You are required under law to take at least 2 weeks ‘compulsory maternity leave’ after the birth of your child. It is a criminal offence for an employer to allow you to work during this period.

 

MATERNITY, PATERNITY, ADOPTION AND PARENTAL LEAVE

4How do I apply for maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave?

For maternity/adoption leave, you are required to notify your Head of Department/ manager of your due birth/adoption date and of the expected start date of maternity/adoption leave. This notification must be by the end of the 15th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth or adoption (or, if that is not possible, as soon as is reasonably practicable). You should insert your details in the maternity leave calculatorhttps://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/maternity_calculator.php and on completion of this, should then download the maternity pack at the bottom of this page to access the application for maternity leave form. You should complete the application and pass this, along with your MAT B1 form, available from your doctor or midwife (or adoption matching certificate) to your Head of Department/ manager. The Head of Department/ manager will then countersign the form and submit the documents by email or post to their contact in HR Employment Contract Administration http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/eca/index.php

For paternity leave, you are required to notify your Head of Department/ manager the expected start date of paternity/partner’s leave. This notification must be by the end of the 15th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth or adoption (or, if that is not possible, as soon as is reasonably practicable).You should complete this form to confirm the dates of paternity leave. The Head of Department/ manager should sign off the form and forward this to their contact in HR Employment Contract Administration http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/eca/index.php who will process and record the leave.  When requesting this leave, you should provide your Head of Department/ manager with appropriate documentation (a copy of the birth certificate or MAT B1 form or matching certificate) confirming the expected date of childbirth or adoption.

For additional paternity leave you are required to give your Head of Department/manager at least 8 weeks notice. You must complete and submit two written declarations, one from yourself and the other from your partner, who is the main carer and taking maternity or adoption leave. Evidence must also be provided in the form of either a copy of the child’s birth certificate, a copy of the MAT B1 form or confirmation of adoption certificate. The forms to be completed can be found here:http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/maternity_links.php. Once completed and signed the forms must be sent to the appropriate contact in HR Employment Contract Administration http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/staff/hr_staff_contacts_ops.php.

For parental leave, you should apply in writing to your Head of Department/ manager giving as much notice as reasonably possible, but at least 21 days before the date you wish your leave to begin. You should give the following information when requesting leave:

  • Your responsibility or expected responsibility for the relevant child;
  • the child's birth certificate, expected birth date or, in the case of a child who was placed with the employee for adoption, the date on which the placement began; and
  • where the employee's entitlement depends upon whether or not the child is entitled to a disability living allowance, evidence of the child's entitlement to that allowance

5When do I need to apply?

For maternity, adoption and paternity leave requests you should notify your Head of Department/ manager of your pregnancy/adoption date and of the expected start date of maternity/adoption leave. This notification must be by the end of the 15th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth or adoption (or, if that is not possible, as soon as is reasonably practicable).

For parental leave you must give at least 21 days notice.

If the baby is born early you should submit your request at the earliest opportunity.

6How is ‘expected week of childbirth’ defined?

The week in which your baby is due is referred to as the EWC - Expected Week of Childbirth.  The EWC starts on the Sunday before the date your baby is due

7When can I start my maternity/ adoption leave?

The earliest your leave can start is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth.
Leave will also start:

  • the day after the birth if the baby is early
  • automatically if you’ve been off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the due date

8How do I use the maternity calculator?

In table 1, insert the date you wish to start your maternity leave. This can be no earlier than 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth (week starts on a Sunday) and no later than the expected date of childbirth. If you have outstanding annual leave you wish to take after your maternity leave, insert the number of days annual leave you want to take (your manager will confirm your outstanding entitlement) and any unpaid days you wish to take before you return.

In table 2, insert the expected date of childbirth (the expected week of childbirth table will automatically populate when you press the ‘calculate’ button) and the date you wish to return.

Table 3 will automatically populate. '11th week prior to due date' is the earliest you can start your maternity leave. ‘Start date of maternity leave’ is the date you wish to commence your maternity leave, ‘notification week’ is the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth/adoption. There is no qualifying period to be eligible for occupational maternity pay, but you must have been employed for 26 weeks at this date to be eligible for statutory maternity pay. The ‘latest return date’ is 52 weeks from starting your maternity leave.

‘Option A’ and ‘Option B’ will then populate the pay periods, according to the two pay options available to you. You can then decide which option you want to be paid and note it on your maternity application form

9Can I change my maternity, adoption, paternity arrangements?

Yes, provided that you notify your Head of Department/ Manager and HR Employment Contract Administration of the revised start date at least 28 days before either the new date or the original date, whichever is earliest. If it is not reasonably practicable to do so, you must provide this notification as soon as is reasonably practicable.

10Can I do any work while I am on maternity/ adoption/ additional paternity leave?

You are prohibited by law from undertaking any work in the first two weeks following the birth of your baby. This is known as the ‘compulsory maternity leave’ period.  After the first 2 weeks you can then use up to 10 ‘keeping in touch (KIT)’ days. During these days you may attend work, undertake training or keep in touch with work developments through other means without bringing the period of maternity/adoption/ additional paternity leave to an end. See Q11 for more information.

11What are ‘Keeping in Touch’ (KIT) days?

You and your manager can agree up to 10 ‘Keeping in Touch’ (KIT) days during your maternity/ adoption/ additional paternity leave. During these days you may attend work, undertake training or keep in touch with work developments through other means without bringing the period of maternity/adoption/ additional paternity leave to an end, or sacrificing occupational or statutory pay. Either your Head of Department or you can suggest the use of this facility but they must be agreed by the Head of Department. You are not obliged to attend work on a KIT day, where it is suggested by your Head of Department/manager. You will be given time off in lieu for any KIT days worked.

12Can I carry over any outstanding ‘Keeping in Touch’ (KIT) days after I return to work?

No. Keeping in Touch (KIT) days are specifically for the purpose of keeping in touch during your period of maternity / adoption/ additional paternity leave. They are not proxy annual leave days that can be taken on your return.

13What happens to my work whilst I’m on leave?

Cover may be arranged. This could be offered as a fixed term contract or secondment arrangement.  In the event that full cover of your duties is not required, e.g. your research cannot be easily picked up by another person, your line manager may, in consultation with the staff affected, propose some fixed term re-organisation of duties within your team. Any proposed changes to duties should be discussed and agreed with the relevant employees in advance and workloads should be assessed to ensure that they can be achieved within the working hours of those concerned.

14I have used a surrogate, am I entitled to maternity leave?

No, there will be no entitlement to either maternity leave or statutory maternity pay as these benefits are available only to employees who give birth. You may, however, be entitled to other types of leave. If you adopt the child you may be entitled to adoption leave, subject to meeting the qualification rules. You may also be entitled to parental leave.

15How much time off can I have in the event of a miscarriage or stillbirth?

Where a child is stillborn at 24 weeks or more into the pregnancy, you will retain your entitlement to maternity leave and statutory maternity pay (SMP).

A miscarriage prior to this date will mean that you will not have the right to maternity leave or pay. Instead, you will be entitled to occupational and/or statutory sick pay.

Where a live child is born and lives for a short period of time only, you retain your full rights to maternity leave and pay irrespective of the timing of the birth.

 

PAY

16What happens if I do not qualify for statutory maternity, adoption, additional paternity pay?

All employees commencing maternity, paternity or adoption leave should notify HR, irrespective of whether they believe they meet the qualifying criteria. This is because any reduction in pay may impact on voluntary deductions (e.g. trade union subs). If you are not entitled to SMP/SAP from UCL, Payroll will complete form SMP1 explaining the reasons why and you may use this form to claim Maternity Allowance.

17How is 'expected week of childbirth' defined?

The week in which your baby is due is referred to as the EWC - Expected Week of Childbirth.  The EWC starts on the Sunday before the date your baby is due.

18How do I use the maternity calculator?

In table 1, insert the date you wish to start your maternity leave. This can be no earlier than 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth (week starts on a Sunday) and no later than the expected date of childbirth. If you have outstanding annual leave you wish to take after your maternity leave, insert the number of days annual leave you want to take (your manager will confirm your outstanding entitlement) and any unpaid days you wish to take before you return.

In table 2, insert the expected date of childbirth (the expected week of childbirth table will automatically populate when you press the ‘calculate’ button) and the date you wish to return.

Table 3 will automatically populate. ‘11the week prior to due date’ is the earliest you can start your maternity leave. ‘Start date of maternity leave’ is the date you wish to commence your maternity leave, ‘notification week’ is the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. You must have been employed for 26 weeks at this date to be eligible for statutory maternity pay. The ‘latest return date’ is 52 weeks from starting your maternity leave.

‘Option A’ and ‘Option B’ will then populate the pay periods, according to the two pay options available to you. You can then decide which option you want to be paid and note it on your maternity application form.

19I work on a casual or sporadic basis (e.g. term-time only or ‘as and when’ contract) how does this affect my pay?

Occupational entitlements are for employees only. Therefore employees on term-time only or fixed term contracts will be entitled to occupational maternity, adoption and paternity pay from day one of your employment with UCL. ‘As and when’ workers are not entitled to occupational maternity pay. 

All will be entitled to statutory maternity / adoption pay (SMP/SAP) if you meet the following requirements:

You have at least 26 weeks' service at the Notification Week (15th week before the expected week of childbirth) provided that the average earnings are above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions, i.e. we deduct PAYE tax and Class 1 NICs from your earnings,. 

The current lower earnings limit can be found on the HMRC website .

To check whether you meet the service requirements we will need to check your working pattern in every week from:
• the latest start date for employment with us, and
• up to and including the Sunday of the qualifying week.
       
For SMP/SAP in this instance, a week means Sunday to Saturday. Part weeks are counted as full weeks.

If you did work for us in every week you will satisfy the employment condition. If you did not work for us in every week we will need to check why not.

You can still get SMP/SAP if you did not work because:
• you were on paid leave, or
• we did not have work to offer you.

If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements please speak to your HR Employment Contract Administration contact who can advise http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/eca/index.php.

You should still complete the application form to notify UCL, even where you believe you may not be entitled to SMP/SAP.  If you are not entitled to SMP/SAP from UCL, Payroll will complete form SMP1 explaining the reasons why and you may use this form to claim Maternity Allowance.

20I work on a fixed term contract, or my employment is being otherwise terminated whilst I am on maternity leave, how does this affect my pay?

UCL will pay all your statutory maternity/adoption entitlement, if you are eligible, even if your employment ends during the period of maternity/adoption leave. An example of this would be if your contract expired due to the completion of a project and you were subsequently made redundant. In this instance, the appropriate occupational maternity / adoption entitlement will continue to be paid until your last day of employment. After this date, if you are entitled to statutory maternity/adoption pay, this will be paid until the end of the 39-week period.

21I wish to return to work part-time. Will this affect my occupational maternity, additional paternity or adoption pay?

No. As long as you return to work for at least three months you will keep your full entitlement to occupational maternity, additional paternity or adoption pay.

22There has been a cost of living award during my leave, will I be paid arrears?

Yes, your entitlement will be recalculated from the point of the pay increase.

23I have a job with another employer and don’t think I earn enough to get Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) from UCL

If you have more than one employer, and you get SMP from one employer and not the other, you cannot also claim Maternity Allowance (MA) from JobCentre Plus. If you are both employed and self-employed and you can get SMP from your employer, you cannot claim MA for your self-employment. If you are not eligible for SMP from your other employer, either, UCL will need to provide written evidence for you that you are not entitled to SMP to support your claim for MA. See guidance.

24Can I download Form SMP1 myself, instead of waiting for payroll?

No. The employer needs to complete parts of form SMP1 first and then send on to you to complete. UCL have a duty to send form SMP1 to you within 7 days of making a decision that we can’t pay SMP, so there should not be unnecessary delay to you.

 

ANTENATAL APPOINTMENTS

25Can I take time off for ante natal appointments?

Pregnant employees have the right to paid time off to attend appointments for antenatal care on the recommendation of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered nurse. Your manager may ask you to show your appointment card, unless you are requesting time off for the first appointment.

There is no statutory obligation to give paid leave to an employee who wishes to accompany his or her partner to an antenatal care appointment, but we would encourage managers to allow an alternative, such as flexible working, to support attendance.

 

ANNUAL LEAVE

26How much annual leave can I take and when can I take it?

You can choose to take any outstanding annual leave either before or after your period of paid maternity/adoption leave. It is permissible to carry over any outstanding leave to the following leave year, if you have been unable to take this in advance of your maternity leave.

Many women choose to take their outstanding paid annual leave immediately before their return to work.

You cannot take annual leave during your maternity/adoption/additional paternity leave.

27How do I book annual leave and who do I need to inform?

If you wish to take annual leave before your maternity/adoption leave commences you should book this through your manager in the normal way. If you wish to take your paid annual leave after your maternity /adoption leave you must state on your maternity/adoption application form the dates you wish to take your annual leave and highlight this to your Head of Department/manager before they countersign to ensure that local records are kept up to date.

28I work part time hours, how is my annual leave calculated?

You are entitled to the pro rata equivalent of annual leave, public or statutory holidays and closure leave. So if a full time member of staff receives 27 days annual leave, 8 public holidays and 6 closure leave days that totals 41 days per annum. If you are on a 0.5 contract you would be entitled to 20.5 days.

29Does annual leave accrue whilst I’m on leave?

Annual leave (including bank holidays and UCL closure days) is accrued throughout the whole period of maternity/adoption/paternity leave.

 

RETURNING TO WORK

30I’m full time; can I come back part time, or make flexible working arrangements for when I return?

Every effort should be made to support you if you wish to work part-time or flexibly on return from maternity, adoption, paternity or parental leave in order to support you with your childcare commitments. Serious consideration must be given to such requests by your manager and only refused where there is an over-riding objective business reason to do so. Managers should discuss any proposed refusals with their HR Consultant before doing so.  See UCL’s work-life balance policy for flexible working options http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/work_life_balance.php.

31Am I entitled to come back to the same job at the end of my maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave?

Yes, you have the absolute right to return to the job you occupied if you return after ordinary maternity, adoption, paternity or parental leave. If you have taken additional maternity, adoption, or paternity leave, you have the right to return to your original job unless this is not reasonably practicable, in which case you have the right to be offered suitable alternative employment on terms no less favourable than the terms you enjoyed in your original job. Every effort shall be made at UCL to enable you to return to your original job irrespective of taking ordinary or additional leave.

32Can I take a career break immediately after my maternity leave?

Employees with two or more year’s service may request an unpaid career break of up to 12 months. You will be guaranteed a return to a similar post at the same level, but not necessarily the same actual post. Managers should discuss any proposed refusals with their HR Consultant before doing so.  See UCL’s work-life balance policy for career break options (para 4.17) http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/work_life_balance.php.

33Who is eligible for sabbatical leave at the end of their maternity/ paternity/ adoption leave? How does the scheme work?

To mark its commitment to gender equality in academic careers, UCL provides the opportunity for one term of sabbatical leave, without teaching commitments, to be taken by research active academic employees returning from maternity leave, additional paternity leave (of more than 3 months duration) or adoption leave. This leave will enable employees to more quickly re-establish their research activity. Academics interested in this term should meet with their Head of Department and complete the Sabbatical Term Expression of Interest form within four weeks of their return from leave. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/sabbatical.php.

34Can I carry over any outstanding ‘Keeping in Touch’ (KIT) days after I return to work?

No. Keeping in Touch (KIT) days are specifically for the purpose of keeping in touch during your period of maternity / adoption/ additional paternity leave. They are not proxy annual leave days that can be taken on your return.

35I’m not returning to work after my maternity, additional paternity or adoption leave. What am I entitled to and when will I get my P45?

To be eligible for your full occupational maternity, additional paternity or adoption pay you must return to work for at least three months. Your statutory pay is unaffected. You will receive your P45 after you have received all your statutory maternity pay.

36I do not intend to work after my maternity, additional paternity or adoption leave and am intending to commence work with another employer before UCL has paid my 39 weeks SMP entitlement. Do I need to inform UCL?

Yes. Once you start work for another employer your entitlement to SMP ceases.

37I wish to return to work part-time. Will this affect my occupational maternity, additional paternity or adoption pay?

No. As long as you return to work for at least three months you will keep your full entitlement to occupational maternity, additional paternity or adoption pay.

38Where can I find information about the UCL Day Nursery or childcare vouchers scheme?

For information about UCL’s Day Nursery see

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/about/division/daynursery_folder/daynursery

UCL runs a childcare voucher scheme to help parents make considerable savings against the costs of childcare http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/childcare_voucher_scheme.php

General advice and guidance is available through the Employee Assistance Programme, covering parenting, adoption, childcare, developmental stages, kids’ well-being and education https://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/occ_health/services/private/emp_assistance_program.php

 

REDUNDANCY

39What if my post is made redundant whilst I am on maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave?

The normal consultation processes must be followed.  This includes arranging meetings with you to discuss any proposals and ensuring you have an opportunity to fully respond. Meetings may be arranged flexibly to best suit your circumstances. Selection for redundancy must be free from discrimination.

If you are selected for redundancy your manager should discuss with you options for suitable alternative work (and alternative work) and your preferred method to keep in touch about any potential redeployment options that may subsequently arise. Employees on maternity, adoption and additional paternity leave at the time a redundancy situation occurs, will have additional legal rights which must be adhered to.  These employees have the right to be offered any suitable alternative employment, across UCL, ahead of any other redeployee.  Managers are expected to take an active role in identifying suitable alternative employment.

Please contact your HR Consultant in any situation where you think this may be applicable.

40I work on a fixed term contract, or my employment is being otherwise terminated whilst I am on maternity leave, how does this affect my pay?

UCL will pay all your statutory maternity/adoption entitlement, if you are eligible, even if your employment ends during the period of maternity/adoption leave. An example of this would be if your contract expired due to the completion of a project and you were subsequently made redundant. In this instance, the appropriate occupational maternity / adoption entitlement will continue to be paid until your last day of employment. After this date, if you are entitled to statutory maternity/adoption pay, this will be paid until the end of the 39-week period.

 

FINANCE / FUNDING

41Who pays for statutory and /or occupational maternity, adoption or paternity pay?

Your department pays for both statutory and occupational maternity, adoption and paternity pay. The Department may request financial assistance to cover your duties which need to be undertaken within the period of absence and which cannot be covered by other employees within the department, within their usual working week.

Applications for financial assistance should be made by the Head of Department to their School Finance contact and should detail the name of the individual, the period of leave, whether it is paid or unpaid leave, the detail of the work to be covered and the plans to cover the work in question (employment of a temporary member of staff or by paying overtime to other employees, etc.).

The majority of external funding bodies will meet maternity leave costs where these have been notified to the sponsor, by the investigator, in advance of the costs being incurred. Queries regarding the charging of maternity leave/cover to external grants and contracts should be directed to Research Administration.

42My post is paid for by a research grant. What if the funders/sponsors won’t pay maternity pay?

The majority of external funding bodies will meet maternity leave costs where these have been notified to the sponsor, by the investigator, in advance of the costs being incurred. Queries regarding the charging of maternity leave/cover to external grants and contracts should be directed to Research Administration.

IIf in the unlikely event the external funding body does not meet the costs, your Department may request financial assistance to cover your duties. Applications for financial assistance should be made by the Head of Department to their School Finance contact and should detail the name of the individual, the period of leave, whether it is paid or unpaid leave, the detail of the work to be covered and the plans to cover the work in question (employment of a temporary member of staff or by paying overtime to other employees, etc.).

Irrespective of funding source, your entitlement to maternity pay and maternity leave is unaffected.

 

INTERNATIONAL STAFF WITH LIMITED LEAVE TO REMAIN VISAS

Different rules may apply to different migrants dependent on the type of visa you are on and when your visa was granted. Rules may also change over time. You are therefore strongly advised to take specific advice on your circumstances if you are planning any changes to hours, role or location.

43I have a visa which entitles me to work in the UK. Am I entitled to maternity, adoption, paternity and parental leave and related payments?

You are entitled to all leave and any statutory and occupational pay, where you meet the qualifying requirements.

44Do I have to notify the UK Border Agency (UKBA) of changes to my circumstances whilst I am on maternity, adoption, paternity or parental leave leave?

No, your certificate of Sponsorship is unaffected whilst you are on leave.

45I wish to return part-time at the end of my leave. Can I do this?

You must apply to the UKBA for permission to change your employment if your salary reduces from the level indicated on your current certificate of sponsorship or work permit, as will be the case if you are reducing your hours. You should take advice at an early stage before effecting any proposed changes.

46I wish to go abroad during my leave period. Does this impact on my Certificate of Sponsorship, or future right to seek permanent leave to remain?

It may. If you are on a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa you may leave the country for up to 180 days in any one year for any reason. If you are on a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship you may leave the country for up to 180 days in any year – but this must be for work related reasons or for serious compelling reasons. Maternity leave would not normally fall under the category of serious compelling reason. Entitlement to leave the country for reasons of personal leave are restricted to normal annual leave.

Different rules may apply to different migrants dependent on the type of visa you are on and when your visa was granted. You are therefore strongly advised to take specific advice before you leave the country for non-work related reasons. With your written permission, HR can contact the Premium Service to take advice on your specific circumstances.

Please refer to the UKBA website on rules relating to indefinite leave to remain http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/immigrationrules/part6a/ .

 

 

HR Policy and Planning
August 2013