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Maternity Guidance

These conditions of service are only applicable for those staff employed at UCL Qatar

1. Purpose and Scope of the Procedure
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
6.4 Time off for breastfeeding

7. Conditions
7.1 Maternity Pay
7.2 End of Employment

8. Related Guidelines  
Paternity/ Partner's and Adoption Leave, Surrogacy and Fostering

1 Purpose and Scope of the Procedure

1.1 Scope

This procedure applies to all UCL Qatar staff.

1.2. Aim of the document

The aim of this document is to set out UCL Qatar's procedure for maternity/adoption leave and pay in order to ensure consistency of approach in line with employment legislation and UCL Qatar's commitment to good employment practice.

1.3. Criteria for Entitlement

This procedure relates to all categories of UCL Qatar 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 is full pay for 18 weeks; this can 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

2.2. 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 Qatar that maternity leave is to begin. The employee can opt to return to work any time after the end of the 35 day compulsory leave period up to the end of the 52-week period. The employee must give four weeks' notice to UCL Qatar if she intends to return to work earlier or later than previously notified.

2.3. 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 Qatar will normally reclaim the whole or part of the maternity pay.

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

2.5 In addition to the provisions of this procedure, UCL Qatar provides for one term of sabbatical leave without teaching commitments for research active academic staff returning from maternity leave. This leave will enable staff to more quickly re-establish their research activity. Academics interested in this term should meet with the Director and complete the Sabbatical Term Expression of Interest form within four weeks of their return from maternity leave, as per the Sabbatical Leave Procedure (see www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/sabbatical).

3 Notification

3.1 Notification of Pregnancy

An employee is required to notify her Line Manager 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) of their pregnancy and of their 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 Line Manager 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 should contact the HR Director.

3.3 Notification of Change of Start Date

Employees can change the date maternity leave is due to start by giving their Line Manager 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 their Line Manager 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 Line Manager or the employee can suggest the use of this facility but they must be agreed by the manager. Line Managers will only agree to a 'keeping in touch' day when it is in UCL Qatar'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

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 Qatar for the calculation of pension, benefits, accrual of annual leave and of entitlement to statutory rights.

4.2 Pension

For details of how your maternity leave affects your pension, please contact Payroll and Pension Services. Details of the contact person for your department are available on the Human Resources staff contacts page.

4.3 Salary Deductions

Where a member of staff has authorised salary deductions, Additional Voluntary Contributions or Give as You Earn, these payments will continue to be deducted during paid maternity leave. Unless instructed otherwise, UCL Qatar 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 Payroll.  

4.4 Annual Leave

Annual leave (including public holidays and UCL Qatar 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 in addition. Once an employee commences annual leave they will be deemed to have returned to work, therefore leave taken during the unpaid maternity period should be immediately preceding the return to work. An employee should exhaust her entitlement to annual leave, including accrued leave, by the end of the leave year after her return to work. Any carryover of leave must be by agreement with the Chief Operating Officer/ Director.

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 Week 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

An employee who is absent from work due to a pregnancy-related reason after the beginning of the fourth week before the expected week of childbirth automatically triggers her maternity leave, in such cases the maternity leave will commence on the day after the first day of the absence. Any other sickness absence shall be dealt with under UCL Qatar's Sickness Absence procedure.

6 Welfare

6.1 Compulsory Period of Maternity Leave

The legal minimum maternity leave which employees are required to take is 35 days commencing with the day on which childbirth occurs.

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 the Line Manager.

6.4 Time off for Breastfeeding

All staff returning from maternity leave are entitled to one paid hour per day to breast feed their child up until a period of one year following the birth date of their child. The timing of these breaks shall be made by the female worker, in consultation with their line manager.

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).

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. This is treated as a resignation.

8. Related Guidelines

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

Details of UCL Qatar's paternity/partner's leave, parental leave, and adoption leave are contained within the UCL Qatar Leave for Domestic and Personal Reasons Guidance

HR Policy and Planning
February 2013