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Maternity leave

Congratulations and we wish you all the best for this next chapter.

Maternity leave and pay are separate entitlements.

Leave

All pregnant employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks leave1, regardless of length of service. 

Although it is up to you to decide how much of the 52 weeks’ maternity leave you wish to take, the law requires that a minimum of two weeks’ leave from date of childbirth must be taken. The maternity leave period must be a continuous period. If you chose to return to work before the end of the 52 week period you may be able to ‘share’ some of this leave with your spouse/partner or the father of their child as Shared Parental Leave.

To qualify for maternity leave and pay you must remain in employment until the 11th week before the week in which your baby is due (i.e. approximately 29 weeks' pregnant).

Only one period of leave can be granted regardless of how many babies result from the pregnancy.

Legally there is no distinction between stillbirths after a pregnancy lasting into the 25th week and live births.

Pay

University Maternity Pay

You do not need any qualifying service to receive University Maternity Pay. 

As a University of Exeter employee you will be entitled to University Maternity Pay(UMP) from the first day of your employment, as this is not dependant on length of service or level of pay. You may also be entitled to an element of statutory pay which is dependent on your length of service and level of pay. Statutory pay is made up of either Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance (MA). 

University Maternity Pay is equivalent to your normal salary on the first day of maternity leave. 

Statutory Maternity Pay

If you have at least 26 weeks' service at the Qualifying Week2 and your average earnings are above the lower earnings limit then you will be entitled to SMP. This is paid through the University payroll. SMP is payable for a 39-week period and is included within the weeks of full pay.

Maternity Allowance

If you have not been working at the University for 26 weeks by the qualifying week or you do not earn above the lower earnings level then you will not be entitled to SMP but may be entitled to Maternity Allowance (MA). MA is paid by the Department of Work and Pension through Jobcentre Plus. You can check your eligibility at gov.uk. If you are entitled to MA you must inform the pay and benefits team immediately. MA is payable for a 39 week period and the University will deduct any relevant amount from your full pay period.

1 Compromising of 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) and 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave (AML).

2 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (week 26 of pregnancy).

When you know you are pregnant

Deciding when to tell your Head of Discipline/line manager that you are pregnant is a personal decision, but in order to qualify for maternity leave and pay you must inform the University by the 15th week before your baby is due (eg by approx 25 weeks' pregnant). We recommend you do this by notifying your manager and your HR Business contact.

The laws which protect you at work whilst pregnant only apply once your employer knows that you are pregnant.

Once your Head of Discipline/line manager knows that you are pregnant:

  • you are entitled to have paid time off to keep appointments for antenatal care, including reasonable time for relaxation or parentcraft classes. Please try, whenever possible, to arrange appointments at times which cause the minimum disruption to work or other work colleagues. If your manager or supervisor requests it, you should provide a certificate confirming your pregnancy, your appointment card, or some other documentary evidence, other than for your first appointment.
  • you are protected from unfair treatment connected with your pregnancy.
  • you should arrange to carry out a risk assessment with them.

Your health and wellbeing during your pregnancy is very important. As part of the University’s ongoing commitment to staff health and wellbeing, you are advised to consider what effect your pregnancy might have on your work and discuss this with your line manager at the earliest opportunity.

You must have a maternity risk assessment as soon as possible in your pregnancy, review it in each trimester or more frequently if appropriate and upon your return to work.

You should consider:

  • the area/s in which you work
  • the type of work you undertake (whether a work station assessment is necessary - see Occupational Health website)
  • the contact that you have with others and what exposure (if any) you have to chemicals, pathogens, radiation, extremes of temperature etc
  • any exposure to any hazard must be assessed formally, to ensure that the health and safety of you and your unborn child is protected.

If there are issues flagged in the maternity risk assessment it is important for you and your manager to deal with this effectively, see the escalation process on the OH website. It is also important for you to know that you or your manager can seek advice from OH at any point. 

If parking support is flagged as an action more information can be found on the occupational health web pages. 

Working in high risk areas

If you are planning to have a family, or are already pregnant, and work in laboratory or other high risk area (ie where exposure to chemicals, pathogens, radiation, extremes of temperature etc are possible), please refer to the relevant COSHH assessment records: the risk assessment records and all relevant material safety data sheets in the first instance.

We recommend that you notify the Human Resources Advisor team and line manager that you are pregnant (or hope to start a family very soon). Foetal abnormalities associated with exposure to chemicals or toxins generally occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy; it is therefore imperative that you inform your line manager and Human Resources as soon as possible, so that an appropriate maternity risk assessment can be undertaken as soon as practicably possible.

Psychological support for pregnant and postnatal women

If you have ongoing concerns or develop concerns about your mental health during or after pregnancy the University can help to support you through a referral to occupational health, contacting care first and/or using the support of the NHS perinatal mental health team or the NHS depression and anxiety service you can self refer on both the NHS service websites. They can help with depression, postnatal depression, anxiety and many other areas of mental wellbeing.

If you travel for work

If you travel overseas in your role, the University’s insurance includes medical emergencies arising from a pregnancy, but not routine medical appointments relating to pregnancy. For more information please check the University’s travel insurance webpages before you travel.

What if I am off sick during my pregnancy?

The normal absence process for your College/Service should be followed. Further information can be found on the absence webpages.

However, if you are off sick with a pregnancy-related illness during the four weeks before your baby is due (approx 36 weeks' pregnant onwards) your maternity leave and pay may start automatically. In this instance, you must contact your Human Resources Business Partner.

You are entitled to have paid time off to keep appointments for antenatal care, including reasonable time for relaxation or parentcraft classes. Please try, whenever possible, to arrange appointments at times which cause the minimum disruption to work or other work colleagues. If your manager or supervisor requests it, you should provide a certificate confirming your pregnancy, your appointment card, or some other documentary evidence, other than for your first appointment.

Maternity forms

Once you have notified HR of your pregnancy, you will be sent an email with further information including details of a maternity workshop and your maternity notification form. We advise you to book onto a workshop as soon as possible as this will provide you with lots of additional information.

Notification Form (PD43)

In order to complete the notification form, you and your Head of Discipline/line manager will need to talk about:

  • when you are going to start your maternity leave. This can be any time from 11 weeks before your baby is due (ie approx 29 weeks' pregnant). It may start automatically if you are off sick with a pregnancy related illness in the four weeks before your baby is due. If you are off work with a pregnancy-related illness prior to this, you will be paid in the same way as for any other type of illness. Maternity leave will also commence the day after your baby is born if this is an earlier date than the one you specified.
  • when you will take any annual leave. As a minimum, you are normally required to take the annual leave you have accrued up to the date you commence your maternity leave, eg if you wish to commence your maternity leave on 1 February, you should have taken 1/12th of your leave entitlement. However, your manager may agree to allow you to take more than the period accrued up to the start of your maternity leave. You will continue to accrue annual leave during the period of maternity leave which can be taken when your maternity leave finishes and you return to work. Leave should be taken within the year in which it is accrued, except in those circumstances where your period of maternity leave continues into the next calendar year (and, therefore, a new annual leave year). In such cases, any outstanding leave may be carried forward to the following year and will normally be taken in full, immediately following the period of maternity leave. Payment in lieu of annual leave cannot be made. During your maternity leave, bank holidays and closure days that fall on days you would have worked, will be marked as 'not taken' in Trent and will not be deducted from your holiday entitlement. You will be able to book them as leave on your return.

MATB1 form

You will need to provide human resources with a MATB1, which your GP/midwife will give to you after the 21st week of your pregnancy. If you haven't yet received the MATB1 form please do speak to the HR advisor team. Within 28 days of receiving the PD43 and MATB1, human resources will write to you to confirm the details of your maternity leave, including the date when your maternity leave will start and end.

What if I change my mind about the start date of my maternity leave?

If you change your mind about the start date of your maternity leave, you must give 28 days' notice, in writing, to human resources

Maternity leave

All employees are entitled to take up to one year/52 weeks' maternity leave, regardless of length of service with the University. Although it is up to you to decide how much of the 52 weeks’ maternity leave you wish to take, the law requires that a minimum of two weeks’ leave from date of childbirth must be taken.

To qualify for maternity leave and pay you must remain in employment until the 11th week before the week in which your baby is due (ie approx 29 weeks' pregnant).

Legally there is no distinction between stillbirths after a pregnancy lasting into the 25th week and live births.

Maternity pay

Maternity leave and pay are separate entitlements. 

If you have been working at the University on the day you start your maternity leave and you earn above the lower earnings level, you will be eligible for the University Maternity Pay at:
26 weeks full pay (which may be inclusive of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
13 weeks

at either

  • SMP or a rate equal to 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower),
  • unpaid leave for 13 weeks, then
13 weeks unpaid leave

 

If you are working at the University on the day you start your maternity and you earn below the lower earnings level and/or you do not have 26 weeks continuous service ending with the Qualifying Week you will be eligible for the University Maternity Pay and may be eligible for Maternity Allowance (DWP pay the MA) at:

26 weeks  full pay (less Maternity Allowance paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)).You should check your eligibility and apply to jobcentre plus for the allowance. Please note you are required to notify pay and benefits team of any payments you receive from DWP, then
13 weeks

at either

  • Maternity Allowance from jobcentre plus, if eligible, or
  • unpaid leave for 13 weeks, then of benefits from DWP (if eligible)
13 weeks  unpaid leave

Employees on fixed term contracts

If you are employed on a fixed term contract, your employment and payment of University Maternity Pay (UMP) will end on the expiry date of the fixed term contract, although Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) will continue to be paid if eligible.

Week of pregnancyChecklist
First trimester

 

 

1-12 weeks

Staff working in high risk areas: notify your line manager and Human Resources as soon as possible so that an appropriate maternity risk assessment can be undertaken.

Staff working in non-high risk areas: if you have informed your manager, a maternity risk assessment should also be undertaken and regular reviews agreed.

See the staff health and wellbeing webpages for information on managing stress, work/life balance and wellbeing initiatives.
12 weeks Approximate date of first ultrasound scan
Second trimesterIf you haven't already had your maternity risk assessment this should be arranged with your manager and regular reviews agreed.
13 weeks  
14 weeks  
15 weeks  
16 weeks  
17 weeks  
18 weeks  
19 weeks  
20 weeks Approximate date of second ultrasound scan
21 weeks Your GP/midwife will give you the MATB1 form from this date
22 weeks  
23 weeks  
24 weeks  
25 weeks You must inform your employer and email the Human Resources Advisor team by the 15th week before your baby is due (approx 25 weeks' pregnant) to qualify for maternity leave and pay - this is the Qualifying Week. Your partner should also have informed their employer by now if they will be taking paternity/partner leave.
26 weeks  
27 weeks If you wish to opt out of the Pension Salary Exchange, you must inform the Pay and Benefits Office by this week at the latest.
28 weeks  
Third trimesterEnsure you have a maternity risk assessment review this trimester
29 weeks Your 29th week of pregnancy is the earliest your maternity leave can begin (11th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC))
30 weeks  
31 weeks  
32 weeks  
33 weeks  
34 weeks  
35 weeks  
36 weeks Your maternity leave may start automatically if you are off sick with a pregnancy-related illness during the 4 weeks before your baby is due
37 weeks Your pregnancy is considered full-term
38 weeks  
39 weeks Maternity leave will commence the day after your baby is born, if the actual birth date is earlier than the commencement of maternity leave date you specified
40 weeks Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC)
After childbirth 
  New mothers are not allowed to return to work within 2 weeks after their baby is born, for health and safety reasons.
  You may take up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KIT days) during your maternity leave.
  If you are returning to work within six months of having the baby or if you are breastfeeding when you return, then a further maternity risk assessment should be carried out. The University regards it as best practice to offer a risk assessment to all returning mothers even if they are returning after 6 months or are not breastfeeding.