Maternity and Paternity Pay and Leave

Congratulations! If you’re pregnant or about to become a parent you can find out useful information regarding your maternity and paternity entitlements here…

Congratulations! As an employee you have the right to 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave making one year in total. The combined 52 weeks is known as Statutory Maternity Leave. You don’t have to take all 52 weeks but you must take 2 weeks’ leave after your baby is born (or 4 weeks if you work in a factory).

Maternity Leave

To qualify for Maternity Leave, you must tell us you want to take Statutory Maternity Leave at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week in which your baby is due. If this isn’t possible (for example because you did not realise you were pregnant), you need to tell us as soon as possible.

Please contact your Step Ahead Consultant to let us know your expected week of childbirth. We will require you to send us your MATB1 – which is available from your Doctor or Midwife after you have been pregnant for 21 weeks – and when you would like to start your maternity leave. (You can change this date later by giving us 28 days’ notice).

We suggest you consult your Employee Handbook but you’ll also find lots of useful information regarding your maternity entitlements on the GOV.UK site here.

Alternatively, you can contact Scott Farlow in our Corporate Services department, who will be pleased to help (tel: 020 7400 6266 or e-mail scott@stepahead.co.uk)

When can I start my Maternity Leave?

You can start your Statutory Maternity Leave any time from 11 weeks before the beginning of the week when your baby is due.

You do not have to take all of your Maternity Leave, but it is a legal requirement that you take two weeks compulsory maternity leave immediately after your baby is born (4 weeks if you work in a factory).

Leave will also start the day after the birth if the baby is early.

If you are off work because of your pregnancy within four weeks of the expected date of childbirth, we can require you to start your Statutory Maternity Leave then.

You can use the Maternity Planner on the GOV.UK site to work out the earliest date your Maternity Leave can start.

How much Maternity Pay will I receive?

We will pay whilst on Maternity Leave according to your statutory entitlements. These vary according to earnings and service, supplying proof of your pregnancy and giving us appropriate notice of your Maternity Leave.

If you are eligible, Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks. You get:

90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks

£138.18 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks

SMP is paid in the same way as your wages (eg monthly or weekly). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted.

If you are not eligible for SMP we will tell you. If you do not qualify for SMP, you may still be eligible for Maternity Allowance. You will need to claim this yourself from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Paternity Leave

If you are taking time off because your partner’s having a baby or adopting a child you might be eligible for 1 or 2 weeks paid Ordinary Paternity Leave and up to 26 weeks’ paid Additional Paternity Leave – but only if the mother / co-adopter returns to work. You must be taking time off to look after the child and be one of the following:

the father
the husband or partner of the mother (or adopter)
the child’s adopter

To qualify for either form of Paternity Leave, you must have been employed by Step Ahead for at least 26 weeks by either:

The end of the 15th week before the start of the expected week of childbirth
If adopting, the end of the week you are notified you are matched with your child (UK adoption) or either the date the child enters the UK or when you want your pay to start (overseas adoptions).

You must also be either the:

Biological father of the child
Mother’s husband or partner (including same-sex relationships)
Child’s adopter
Husband or partner of the child’s adopter (including same-sex relationships)

If you qualify for and wish to take Ordinary Paternity Leave you must:

Tell us when the baby is due or when the child is expected to be placed with you for adoption
Tell us whether you want one or two weeks’ Ordinary Paternity Leave
Tell us when you want your Ordinary Paternity Leave to start

Give us written notice at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week when the baby is due or within seven days of being told by the adoption agency that you have been matched with a child (unless there is a valid reason, such as the child being born early or the adoption agency not giving you sufficient notice).

A simple way to give notice is to fill in this self-certificate.

Your leave can start on any day of the week but cannot start before the baby is born. You don’t have to give an actual date when you want to take leave. Instead you can give the general time e.g. the day of the birth or 1 week after the birth etc

There are additional requirements to be met in respect of the qualification for Additional Paternity Leave.

If you wish to take Paternity Leave, please contact your Step Ahead Consultant to let us know the expected week of childbirth / adoption and the dates when you would anticipate taking your paternity leave.

We suggest you consult your Employee Handbook for more information on Maternity and Paternity Entitlements.

You’ll also find lots of useful information regarding your maternity entitlements on the GOV.UK website which includes a handy
Maternity Pay Calculator and Planner.

This policy remains in effect in its current form where the Expected Date of Childbirth is before 5th April 2015 and should be read in conjunction with the ‘Policy on Shared Parental and Shared Parental Pay’ where the Expected Date of Childbirth is 5th April 2015 or later. For more information, please refer to our Employee Handbook (page 64) or contact your consultant for more advice.

For more information please contact Scott Farlow in our Corporate Services department, who will be pleased to help Tel: 020 7400 6266 or e-mail scott@stepahead.co.uk.

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