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Maternity and other family-related Leave and Pay (Rules J1–J27)

The University has published a maternity policy which applies to all staff and includes general guidance including health and safety advice. This is also available from your Head of Institution.

All University staff are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks' maternity leave, consisting of 18 weeks' paid leave during which they will receive their normal rate of pay (no qualifying period), plus 21 weeks, if entitled, during which they will received Statutory Maternity Pay, and additionally, up to 13 weeks unpaid leave. In normal circumstances your maternity leave should begin no earlier than 11 weeks before the expected week of birth. You may not return to work for at least two weeks after the birth.


Maternity pay

You will receive maternity pay equal to your normal salary for 18 weeks. In the following period, if the amount due under the Statutory Maternity Pay scheme (if eligible) is greater than your normal salary, you will receive full Statutory Maternity Pay. If you are not entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay the Payroll Section will inform you of this and will give you a form SMP1 which you should forward to your local Benefits Agency office in order to claim Maternity Allowance. Your salary payable will be reduced by the amount of Maternity Allowance which you are entitled to receive, unless you provide proof via your Head of Institution that you are not eligible for Maternity Allowance. During paid maternity leave (whether on full pay or on Statutory Maternity Pay) you are not permitted to undertake paid work. You will normally be paid on the same date as your salary would be paid.


Risk assessment and ante-natal care

Risk assessments of working environments in the University are routinely carried out in order to be able to protect the safety of mother and child for any member of staff who may become pregnant. Should your working environment pose a threat to your health and safety, your duties will be modified or alternative work will be found for you. Should this not be possible you will be suspended from work on full pay on medical grounds.

During your pregnancy you will be entitled to time off with pay in order to attend ante-natal appointments, which may include classes. You should inform your Head of Institution of the dates of such appointments and you may be asked to produce an appointment card from your clinic.



You should give notice of your intention to take maternity leave by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (using Form CHRIS/60), available from the Human Resources Division, accompanied by a certificate from your doctor or midwife, form Mat B1, stating the expected week of childbirth) of the date you intend to commence your maternity leave unless this is not reasonably practicable, in which case you should give as much notice as is reasonably practicable. You may subsequently change your mind about when you want to start your leave provided that you give at least 28 days' notice (unless this is not reasonably practicable), in which case you should give as much notice as is reasonably practicable. If you are absent from work due to a pregnancy-related reason after the beginning of the fourth week before the expected week of childbirth, your maternity leave will begin on the day after the first day of the absence, even if you had intended it to begin later than that date.


Return to work

On receipt of your formal application the Human Resources Division will write to you granting leave, and will inform you of the last permissible date for return from maternity leave. If you wish to return earlier than this date, you should give four weeks' notice of your intended date of return.

If you intend to return to work at the end of your paid maternity leave period you are not required to give notice of your return; if you wish to return earlier you should give 8 weeks' notice of your intention to return (using Form CHRIS/61); if you give less than 8 weeks' notice, your maternity leave may be extended for 8 weeks after the date of giving notice of return, to allow your institution to make any necessary arrangements.

Although there is no legal requirement for employees to give advance notice of your intention to return at the end of the maternity leave period, if you intend to do so it is helpful to keep your Head of Institution informed of your intentions so that appropriate cover arrangements can be made and workloads can be planned.

If you are unable, because you are medically unfit to work, to return to work at the end of your entitlement to maternity leave, you should submit medical certification in the usual way and you will then transfer from maternity leave to sick leave. Subsequently the normal procedures relating to absence on account of sickness will be followed.

If you do not return to work following a period of maternity leave, your job remains open and you do not automatically lose your right to return. However, your absence may be treated as unauthorised absence under the University's disciplinary procedure.

If you do not return to work after the specified period, or return to work but do not remain employed in the University for a period of at least three months, the University will normally reclaim from you any amount of maternity pay in excess of your Statutory Maternity Pay. The amount deducted will be all the excess pay if you do not return, two thirds of the excess pay if you return and continue in employment for one month, and one third of the excess pay if you return and continue in employment for two months. In exercising this right the University shall have regard to individual circumstances.

You will be able to return from maternity leave by graduated steps, and/or part-time, provided that your institution can make arrangements to cover your duties at no extra cost to the University. If you wish to discuss any change in working arrangements on your return to work, you should contact your Head of Institution at the earliest opportunity and not later than four weeks before you return to work. Any agreement to a change in working arrangements (e.g. to work part-time) will be considered on the basis of the operational requirements of the department.


Temporary posts to cover for maternity leave

Usually a temporary member of staff will be appointed to cover for maternity leave. If you are appointed to a temporary post of this kind you will be informed of this in your letter of appointment, and also of the fact that you may be dismissed with one week's notice when the permanent jobholder returns from maternity leave.


Adoption leave (Rules J20–23)

A member of staff, male or female, who adopts a child will be entitled to adoption leave provided that only one of the adoptive parents may take adoption leave. The other parent will be entitled to take paternity leave.

An assistant adopting a child under 5 years of age who is the prime carer may apply (using Form CHRIS/64 ) for up to 52 weeks' leave to care for the child, consisting of 18 weeks leave during which they will receive their normal rate of pay, followed by 8 weeks during which they will receive, if they are entitled, Statutory Adoption Pay and up to 26 weeks' unpaid leave.

The leave and pay offered to employees who adopt a child aged over five years will be at the discretion of the Personnel Committee but will be no less than the statutory provision.


Paternity / Co-Parent leave (Rules J25–27)

An assistant who is the biological father of a child or the mother's husband or partner and who has or expects to have responsibility for the child's upbringing, or an assistant of either sex who is adopting a child but is not taking adoption leave, will be entitled to a maximum of two weeks' paid paternity / co-parent leave.

To qualify for paternity / co-parent leave, you should give notice (using Form CHRIS/65) no later than the fifteenth week before the baby is expected, or within seven days of being notified by the adoption agency that you have been matched with a child for adoption, unless this is not reasonably practicable. If for any reason you wish to change the start date of the leave period, you should give at least 28 days' notice of the change, unless this is not reasonably practicable.

The leave can start on any day of the week on or following the child's birth/placement and must be completed within 56 days of the actual date of birth/placement of the child (or if the child is born early, within the period from the actual date of the child's birth up to 56 days after the expected week of birth).


Shared Parental Leave (Rules J28 – 34)

The Shared Parental Leave Policy applies to all assistant staff whose child is born or placed on or after 5 April 2015 and who meet the statutory requirements. Shared parental leave enables eligible parents to choose how to share the care of their child during the first 52 weeks following birth or adoption. Its purpose is to give parents more flexibility in considering how to best care for, and bond with, their child.

Eligible assistants will be entitled to take up to maximum of 50 weeks shared parental leave, consisting of 18 weeks’ paid leave (minus any period of paid maternity, adoption or paternity leave they have already received) during which they will receive their normal rate of pay, followed by up to 19 weeks statutory shared parental leave pay (if entitled) and up to 13 weeks unpaid.

The number of weeks shared parental leave available is calculated using the mother’s/adopter’s entitlement to maternity/adoption leave, which allows them to take up to 52 weeks’ leave. If the mother/adopter reduces their maternity/adoption leave entitlement then they and/or their partner may take any remaining weeks as shared parental leave.

Eligible assistants can apply for up to three periods of shared parental leave up until their child’s first birthday/anniversary of placement. An application can contain either: a request for a period of continuous leave which is a number of weeks taken in a single unbroken period of leave (for example, six weeks in a row); or for two or more periods of discontinuous leave, which means asking for a set number of weeks of leave over a period of time, with breaks between the leave where they will return to work (for example, an arrangement where the assistant will take six weeks of shared parental leave and work every other week for a period of three months).

An assistant can agree to work for the University (or attend training) for up to 20 days during shared parental leave without bringing their period of leave to an end or impacting on their right to claim statutory shared parental leave pay for that week. These are known as "Shared Parental Leave In Touch" or "SPLIT" days. Any work carried out on a day or part of a day shall constitute a day's work for these purposes.

SPLIT days are in addition to any KIT days that the mother/adopter may have taken during their maternity/adoption leave.

The University has no right to require an employee to carry out any work, and is under no obligation to offer an employee any work, during the employee’s Shared Parental Leave. Any work undertaken is a matter for agreement between the Institution and the employee.

An employee, with the agreement of the organisation, may use SPLIT days to work part of a week during SPL. The Institution and the employee may use SPLIT days to affect a gradual return to work by the employee towards the end of a long period of Shared Parental Leave or to trial a possible flexible working pattern.

During shared parental leave the contract of employment continues in force. All terms and conditions of the contract continue with the exception of salary. Continuity of service is maintained, and any standard incremental progression taking place during the Shared Parental Leave will be implemented.


Emergency leave

Employees who are faced with an unforeseen emergency involving dependants, for instance an unexpected disruption in childcare arrangements, may be allowed to take paid leave of up to 5 working days in any rolling 12-month period (pro-rated for part-time employees), with a limit of 2 working days’ paid leave permitted on any single occasion. Where paid leave is exhausted, employees may have a statutory right to reasonable time off (unpaid) to deal with unforeseen emergencies involving dependants. 

Employees may also request up to 1 day of unpaid leave to deal with severe and un-expected domestic emergencies unrelated to children or dependants, which necessitates their presence at home, for instance a burglary, fire or flood at their home. 

Full details of the University’s provisions on emergency leave can be found in the University’s Special Leave Policy.


Parental leave

If an employee has been employed by the University for more than a year, they may be entitled to take up to 18 weeks' unpaid leave to look after their child, until that child’s 18th birthday.

If they need to take such leave, they should inform their Head of Institution as soon as possible. Full details of the University’s provisions on unpaid parental leave can be found in the University’s Ordinary Parental Leave:policy and procedure. 


Flexible working

The University has a flexible working policy which sets out the procedure when staff ask to work flexibly to achieve a better work-life balance.