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Confusion maternity leave

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Emr1983, Feb 22, 2020.

  1. Emr1983

    Emr1983 New commenter

    Hi, I’m really confused regarding when I would be entitled to maternity leave. I had a health scare recently and my fertility was questioned which really worried me. I started with my current school September 2019 and we’d like to start trying for a baby as soon as I would be entitled to the full maternity leave. When would be the earliest I could conceive (if lucks on our side)? If for example my period was next week would we be entitled to the full amount? Any advice appreciated only positive please. Thank you
  2. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Just go ahead.
    So long as you're not pregnant when you start a job you're covered. Assuming you're in the UK.
    agathamorse and install like this.
  3. Emr1983

    Emr1983 New commenter

    I just need to ensure we would be entitled to the full maternity leave and not just smp as we couldn’t afford that.
  4. eleanorms

    eleanorms Occasional commenter

    So you are covered as it is 39 weeks between your due date and beginning of employment. In other words, you weren't pregnant when you began the job. But .... even though teaching isn't bad maternity pay, remember a lot of it is still just SMP. You need to check, especially if you work for an academy. Then try and relax, stress is a very good contraceptive.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    What if she (or ayone) has the baby early? They wouldn't necessarily know when someone conceived, and if a person doesn't have scans, doctors wouldn't be able to say for sure (a gynae once told me quite a lot of women go into labour without knowing they're pregnant).It's not an issue I'm likely to face, but it might be relevant to the OP? Would it be worth checking with the union?
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    Check your contract. Ask Union. See below which is very useful (Details Acc. to TES article, 2019) :

    ' Do you need to start planning your maternity leave and calculating your maternity pay? Our how-to legal guide will get you started
    Maternity leave and maternity pay can be a source of great confusion for many teachers.

    We have simplified everything you need to know below, so you can make informed decisions about what you plan to do and ensure you can select from all the options you are entitled to.

    When do you need to inform your employer about your pregnancy?
    A pregnant employee is required to inform their employer of their pregnancy by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC).

    However, bearing in mind that rights such as the entitlement to take paid time off for antenatal care, risk assessments and protection from discrimination or dismissal won’t kick in until an employer is made aware of a pregnancy, it makes sense to inform the school of pregnancy at a relatively early stage.

    When formally notifying the school, the following information will need to be given:

    • The fact of the pregnancy.
    • The expected week of childbirth.
    • The date on which the employee intends to begin their ordinary maternity leave (OML). This should be no earlier than the beginning of the 11th week before the EWC.
    Health and safety in the classroom
    Employers have a duty to assess the workplace risks posed to new or expectant mothers or their babies and, where necessary and reasonable, alter working conditions to avoid any significant risk.

    While teaching does not bring any specific risks, considerations may include lifting or carrying books or equipment, handling chemicals or work-related stress.

    Antenatal appointments and sickness
    Antenatal appointments
    All pregnant employees have a statutory right to paid time off to receive antenatal care. This right is applicable irrespective of hours worked or length of service.

    Antenatal care is not restricted to medical examinations – it can include relaxation and parentcraft classes, provided that these are recommended by a registered medical practitioner, midwife or health visitor.

    Employees in a “qualifying relationship” with a pregnant woman are entitled to unpaid time off to accompany them to two antenatal appointments.

    Pregnancy-related sickness
    An employee should not be treated unfavourably because of a pregnancy-related illness, and is entitled to sick pay.

    This means that all the usual conditions apply in accordance with the school’s sickness policy. If an employee is off sick for a reason relating to their pregnancy in the four weeks before the expected week of childbirth, this will automatically trigger the start of maternity leave.

    What maternity pay am I entitled to?
    Statutory maternity pay (SMP)
    An employee is entitled to SMP where she has:

    • Twenty-six weeks’ continuous employment with the employer by the 15th week before the EWC.
    • Average earnings of at least the lower earnings limit for national insurance during the eight-week period ending with the 15th week before EWC (£116 per week, April 2018-19).
    SMP is payable for 39 weeks at these rates:

    • Ninety per cent of average earnings for six weeks.
    • The “prescribed rate” for 33 weeks (£145.18 per week from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019).
    When am I allowed to start my maternity leave?
    An employee can choose to start maternity leave on any day from the 11th week before their expected week of childbirth.

    All employees are entitled to 52 weeks’ statutory maternity leave, made up of 26 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave (OML) and 26 weeks’ additional maternity leave (AML).

    When will my maternity pay stop? When will I have to return to work?
    Once the school has received notice of the date the employee wishes to start their maternity leave, it then has 28 days to notify them of the date their maternity leave will end (which is 52 weeks from the start of maternity leave).

    The school may require a pregnant employee to produce a MAT B1 certificate from a doctor or midwife, confirming the EWC.

    If the employee wishes to claim SMP then this certificate will generally need to be provided no later than the end of the third week of the SMP period.

    Will I have to stay in contact with work while I am on maternity leave?
    Employers are able to have “reasonable contact” with employees on maternity leave. There is no prescribed definition of this, so what is reasonable will depend on the employee’s views, role and circumstances.

    It can be helpful for employers to agree with an employee before they go on leave how much contact they would like and the best way to keep in touch with them.

    Can I apply for promotions while on maternity leave?
    The employee should be informed of any promotion opportunities or vacancies that arise during their leave. They should also remain on the distribution list for workplace news bulletins and information about social events, unless otherwise requested.

    Will I be paid for my keeping-in-touch (KIT) days?
    An employee may work for their employer during maternity leave for up to 10 days, known as keeping-in-touch (KIT) days. Both parties must agree to this arrangement and there is no prescriptive right to payment.

    In the case of shared parental leave (SPL), each parent taking SPL will be entitled to 20 KIT-style days, called SPLIT days, in addition to the mother’s entitlement of 10 KIT days.

    Teachers undergoing IVF
    According to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) website: “There is no statutory right for employees to take time off work to undergo investigations or treatment.” However, “employers should treat medical appointments related to IVF the same as any other medical appointment under the terms and conditions of the contract of employment. Employers may agree to flexible working arrangements or a combination of paid, unpaid or annual leave during the treatment.

    “Following implantation, the woman is regarded as being pregnant.

    “If the IVF is unsuccessful, the protected period ends two weeks after the end of the pregnancy – two weeks after the date the woman was informed that implantation was not successful.”

    Miscarriage and stillbirth
    Where stillbirth occurs after 24 weeks, this is treated as childbirth, and an employee is entitled to maternity leave and other rights. A miscarriage or stillbirth prior to this is treated as sickness.

    Alice Reeve is a partner at Veale Wasbrough Vizards'
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  7. Pencilplayground

    Pencilplayground New commenter

    I started my job Sept 2018 and became pregnant this time last year. I'm now on mat leave and have full entitlement. Where you worked before this school also counts. Best place to look for confirmation is the 'Burgundy Book' (if you google it, you can find a copy) which states all your maternity entitlements.
    Good luck!
  8. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The Burgundy Book regulations do not apply to teachers on Academy and Free School contracts.

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