What is Maternity Leave?
Maternity Leave is a period of absence from work granted to a mother before and after the birth of her child.
Am I entitled to Maternity Leave?
An employee working full-time or part-time will be entitled to paid and unpaid maternity leave under the NHS contractual maternity pay scheme if:
• You have twelve months continuous service with one or more NHS employers at the beginning of the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth
• You notify your employer in writing before the end of the 15th week before the expected date of childbirth (or if this is not possible, as soon as is reasonably practicable thereafter):
- of your intention to take maternity leave
- of the date you wish to start your maternity leave
- that you intend to return to work with the same employer or other NHS employer for a minimum period of 3 months after your maternity leave has ended
- provide a MATB1 form from your midwife or GP giving the expected date of childbirth
How much time off am I entitled to?
All employees will have the right to take 52 weeks of maternity leave. Please refer to the FAQ guide for details on pay entitlement related to length of service.
How do I apply for Maternity Leave?
In order to apply for maternity leave you must complete a maternity leave transaction through eESS employee self service. This will allow you to enter the dates for your maternity leave which will be submitted to the appropriate manager to approve the initial request which then progresses to HR Support and Advice Unit. One you have completed the maternity leave transaction you must provide your manager with your original MATB1 form before the end of the 15th week before the expected date of childbirth. There is a function on eESS to electronically attach the MATB1 form.
If you do not have an eESS ID due to not having a GGC email or access to GGC network then your manager can complete the maternity leave transaction on your behalf via manager self service.
Your paperwork will then be processed by HR and Payroll. You/ your manager will be able to view your maternity leave dates via eESS self service functions.
What happens with my holiday entitlement?
Employees continue to accrue all their annual leave and public holidays as normal throughout the entirety of their maternity leave, it does not need to be recalculated.
For example, if a nurse took maternity leave from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 - i.e. a whole annual leave year - then they would return to work on 1 April 2020 with double their normal annual leave entitlement and 16 rather than 8 public holidays (still pro rata for part-time staff)*.
However, as early as possible between a manager being notified of an employee's pregnancy and before that employee goes on maternity leave, the manager and employee need to discuss how best to plan to use this annual leave, pre- and post-maternity leave, including how much might need to be carried forward into a new annual leave year as it is not possible to take annual leave during maternity leave.
*Doctors and dentists have different annual leave years and entitlements than in the example above - please see https://www.nhsggc.org.uk/working-with-us/hr-connect/pay-conditions/medical-and-dental/ - however the principle of not losing any entitlement on account of maternity leave applies equally to all staff.
What are keeping in touch days?
Keeping in touch (KIT) days are intended to facilitate a smooth return to work for women returning from maternity leave.
An employee may work for up to a maximum of 10 KIT days without bringing her maternity leave to an end. Any KIT days will not extend the maternity leave period and will be paid at the employee’s basic daily rate.
It is important that the employer and employee have early discussion to plan and make arrangements for KIT days before the employee’s maternity leave takes place.
Employees who agree to work KIT days will not be paid for work done in addition to SMP. The statutory rules provide for payment at a rate no less than the weekly value of SMP for work done on a KIT day, so if you work 10 hours on a KIT day with a contractual payment of £145.00 you will not receive the £145.00 in addition to the weekly rate of SMP (£139.58 from 6 April 2015) however since that exceeds the SMP rate you will be paid £145.00 instead of SMP. If you work 8 hours on a KIT day and the contractual payment is £80.00, you will receive £139.58 SMP which is higher than the contractual payment. Payment is made of the higher value only.
Return to Work Arrangements
Employees should be provided with information and support regarding return to work arrangements. These include:
• The right to return to their job under the original contract on no less favourable conditions;
• The right to request a return to work on flexible working arrangements;
• The right to parental leave; and
• Provision of support for mothers who wish to breastfeed after they return to work.
On the occasion you notified your manager of your intention not to return to work with the same or different NHS employer, in accordance with the most recent NHS Circular: PCS(AFC)2019/7- if an employee fails to return within 15 months of the beginning of their maternity leave they will be liable to refund the whole of their maternity pay, less any Statutory Maternity Pay received.
Keeping records up to date
We need to know when you’re at work and when you have any type of time off. This is important to make sure we pay you correctly too.
All managers should ensure that SSTS is updated correctly and payroll is informed, where SSTS is not available.
The HR Support and Advice Unit can be contacted on 0141 278 2700 if you have any further questions or need advice on this policy area.