PEOPLE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Roles and Responsibilities
- The Policy
- Employees who are not on the Welsh Government Terms and Conditions
- Contractual Benefits,including Public & Privilege Holidays
4. Sickness absence during or following pregnancies
5. How to Apply
6. Paid Maternity Leave
7. Unpaid Leave
8. Timing of Maternity Leave
9. Return to Work
10. Returning from Maternity Leave
11. Keeping in Touch Days (KIT)
12. Postponing return to work
13. Requirement to pay Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
14. Repayment of maternity pay
15. Ante-natal care
16. IT Equipment
17. Frequently Asked Questions
- Annex A – Statutory Maternity Leave
- Related Policies and useful websites
- Parental policies (parental leave, right to apply for flexible working)
- Paternity leave
- Career breaks
- WG Intranet – Leave for parents, guardians and carers
- Direct Gov
Roles and responsibilities:
Employees are responsible for:
- Notifying their line manager and the Corporate Shared Service Centre - Shared Service Helpdesk of her pregnancy by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth
- Notifying the line manager and the Corporate Shared Service Centre – Shared Service Helpdesk of their intention to return to work or intention not to return to work.
- Returning IT equipment
Line managers are responsible for:
- Giving pregnant employees time off for ante natal care
- Ensuring IT equipment is returned in line with the Security Policy
Corporate Shared Service Centre - Shared Service Helpdeskis responsible for:
- Confirming an employee’s maternity pay and leave entitlements
- Advising employees and line managers on the Welsh Government’s (WG) maternity policies
- Making the necessary pay arrangements
1.1All permanent and/or fixed term appointment*employees who have completed at least one year’s continuous service with the WG, by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, are eligible to apply for the following:
- 26 weeks maternity leave on full pay;
- an additional 13 weeks Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP);
- up to a further 13 weeks unpaid maternity leave;
- special leave without pay (i.e. career break) for a period of up to 5 years after the completion of 52 weeks (paid plus unpaid) maternity leave (subject to performance and attendance criteria and at the Deputy Director’s discretion).
1.2 All permanent and/or fixed term appointment* employees who have completed 6 month’s continuous service with the WG, by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, are eligible to apply for:
- 39 weeks statutory paid maternity leave (known as SMP rate);
- up to a further 13 weeks unpaid maternity leave;
1.3 All Casual employees who have completed 26 weeks continuous service with the WG, by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, are eligible to apply for:-
- 39 weeks statutory paid maternity leave (known as SMP) at a rate of 90% of the average weekly wage for the first 6 weeks at the rate of SMP as set by the UK Government for the remaining 33 weeks, even when the period of employment has ended before the 33 week entitlement has expired.
- In all cases Casual employment with the WG will only continue for as long as the Casual employee is required but not longer than 40 weeks - the SMPof 39 weeks will not count towards this period of employment nor will it indicate that the period of employment has extended beyond the expiry of the contract.
1.4 More details about the statutory benefits can be found on the Department of Work and Pensions website. The provisions for Casual employees to access SMP comply with the requirements of the DWP regarding statutory benefits and in no way imply that the employment relationship continues beyond the end of the casual period of employment.
* This is only applicable to FTA appointments made to the WG through fair and open competition
2. Employees who are not on Welsh Government terms and conditions
2.1The Statutory provisions of this policy apply to employees regardless of their terms and conditions. This is because employment legislation changed in April 2007 and on 5 October 2008 to provide additional benefits and rights for employees. The policies in place in merged bodies have not changed to reflect this enhanced provision. The Statutory provision is being applied by extension from the WG policy to ensure compliance with current legislation and equality of treatment for all employees.
3. Contractual Benefits
3.1The contract of employment continues for employees and Fixed Term Appointments (FTA) during the period of paid and unpaid maternity leave (which can be for up to a maximum of 52 weeks). During this period employees continue to benefit from the contractual benefits of their existing terms and conditions of employment other than just pay and pension contributions. Such benefits could include use of a lease car or a mobile telephone if the individual was previously in receipt of such a benefit.
3.2Annual leave, public and privilege holidays also continue to accrue during maternity leave. Any holidays accrued should be agreed with the employee on their return to work, with advice from the Corporate Shared Service Centre as appropriate, and taken with line management agreement, subject to business requirements.
4. Sickness Absence during or following pregnancy
4.1 The employee must inform the line manager of any sick absence and of whether or not the illness is related to your pregnancy. Your line manager can then update your sickness record via U-ACCESS.
4.2Sickness absence will not be allowed:-
a.once paid maternity leave has commenced; or
b.during a period of unpaid maternity leave.
4.3 Where an employee has provided at least 21 days notification of her intention to return to work on a specific date, certified sickness absence will be allowed from this date.
4.4 Pregnancy related sickness absence does not count towards sickness absence management trigger points nor towards half and nil pay dates
4.5 Bank Holidays or privilege days do not accrue during periods of sickness.
5.How to apply
5.1 When an employee reaches the 25th week of their pregnancy, they will receive a MATB1 form from either your GP or midwife. This form (which is A5 size) states the expected date your baby is due. Once the employee has received form MATB1, they should send this along with the Maternity/Statement Application, to the Corporate Shared Service Centre - Shared Service Helpdesk. Employees are encouraged to meet with the Corporate Shared Service Centre to discuss their maternity leave plans.
5.2They employee must inform the Corporate Shared Service Centre - Shared Service Helpdesk if they are in receipt of a Temporary Duties Allowance or IT Allowances prior to commencing maternity leave.
5.3The employee must notify the WG by the end of the 15th week before her expected week of childbirth;
- that she is pregnant;
- the expected date of childbirth (as defined in paragraph 8);
- the intended start date of maternity leave; and
- following the birth, an employee who intends to return to the
Welsh Government should provide the WG with the
actual date of birth.
5.4"Childbirth" for the purposes of maternity leave rules is defined as the birth of a living child or the birth of a child whether living or not after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
5.5Applications for paid or unpaid maternity leave, should be made on the Maternity Statement/Application form, through line managers to the Corporate Shared Service Centre - Shared Service Helpdesk, at least 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth or as soon as is reasonably practicable thereafter. Also, the application should be supported by a statement from a registered medical practitioner confirming the expected date of childbirth (form MAT B1).
5.6Where an employee is absent:
a.before the notified leave date; or
b.before she has notified a leave date
then she should give to the WG written notification that her absence is due to her pregnancy as soon as is reasonably practicable.
6.Paid Maternity Leave
6.1 An employee is entitled to 26 weeks paid maternity leave on full
pay followed by an additional 13 weeks SMP provided she:-
- is in paid service with the WG at the time her maternity leave begins and has rendered at least one year's such service by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (previous service followed by a break will not reckon); and
- intends to return to work in the WG within 52 weeks of the start of her maternity leave period or immediately after a career break which follows immediately the maternity leave period (see Section 3.1 Special Leave), and agrees to repay any maternity pay paid to her during that period if she fails to return (such payment will exclude any Statutory
Maternity Pay to which she is entitled). In order to qualify for maternity pay from the WG, she should complete the Maternity Statement/application form;
c.is not employed on a casual basis;
d.is not an Agency worker;
e.is not employed on a recurring temporary basis;
f.is not employed on a stand by or short notice basis;
g.is not employed on a Fixed Term Appointment of less than 2 years or cannot take the full allowance of paid maternity leave and unpaid maternity leave she wishes to take before the end of the Fixed Term Appointment; and
h.completes the equivalent of onefurther calendar month's paid service on her return to work within a period of 52 weeks from the start of her maternity leave period, provided she does not commence a career break immediately after her maternity leave period ends.
i.An employee who intends to return to work before the expiry of the 26 week period (or 39 weeks if she intends to take the additional 13 weeks SMP) is required to give not less than 8 weeks written notice specifying the date of return.
6.2Employees on permanent part year appointments are not paid maternity leave which falls during a period of unpaid absence. When maternity leave begins during a period of work and runs into a period of unpaid absence, payment will end on the date that the period of work under the appointment ends. If the maternity leave period begins during a period of unpaid absence, the female employee will only be paid for the period when she would normally have been working under her appointment.
6.3 Although Casual employeesare not eligible for the WG's maternity leave scheme, periods of casual employment by the WG do count towards the qualifying period if there is a conversion to a permanent appointment. (Note: “casual employment” does not include contractors, secondees, agency workers or other workers not employed directly by the WG). Casual employees of the WG are entitled to statutory provisions that are outlined at Annex A.
7. Unpaid leave
7.1 Providing an employee qualifies for paid maternity leave, she will also be entitled to take unpaid maternity during or following her pregnancy. This is subject to the unpaid maternity leave together with paid maternity leave not exceeding 52 weeks.
7.2 Unpaid maternity leave cannot be required to end earlier than 41 weeks from the actual date of childbirth, except:
a.where this would result in the maternity leave period exceeding the provisions of 5.1.9 above;
b.with the officer’s consent.
7.3 In addition employees are entitled to 13 weeks parental leave. Further details can be found in the Parental Leave Policy
8. Timing of maternity leave
8.1 Maternity leave may start on any day of the working week. It is a requirement under the WG’s scheme that:-
a.paid maternity leave can start no earlier than 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth;
- unpaid maternity leave can start no earlier than 14 weeks before the expected week of childbirth;
- if childbirth occurs prior to the planned date of maternity leave, then the period of paid maternity leave commences on the day after the birth.
8.2 In addition to paragraph 8.1c, where an employee specifies that she wishes to begin her maternity leave in any of the 4 weeks before the expected week of childbirth, and is on pregnancy related sickness absence immediately before her specified leaving date and then childbirth occurs during that period of sickness absence, then paid maternity leave will be brought forward to whichever is the later of:
a.the beginning of the period of sickness absence;
b.the fourth week before the expected week of childbirth.
8.3 When an employee has taken less than the maximum period of unpaid maternity leave, the balance can be granted if she makes a subsequent application for special leave. Similarly, when both parents are civil servants (even if they are in different Departments) if the father should apply for such special leave, then the amount of "unused" maternity leave available to the mother may be granted.
9. Return to work
9.1 Under the provisions of the Employment Relations Act 1999, an employee is not permitted to return to work during the compulsory maternity leave period, which is for 2 weeks commencing with the day on which childbirth occurs.
9.2 An employee who is absent from work because of pregnancy or childbirth and is entitled to maternity leave has the right to return to work in the same substantive grade and working in the same hours at any time up to the end of her period of maternity leave.
9.3 An employee exercising her right to return to work after maternity leave will normally be employed in the same division and post as before, and in any event will be treated for posting and transfer purposes no less favourably than if she had not been absent. Alternatively, if she wishes to return to work on a part-time basis, then the WG will try to accommodate her subject to the needs of the division.
10.Returning from maternity leave
10.1 With the employee’s approval, line managers may meet with the employee prior to their going on maternity leave to agree how they will keep in touch with the office and what arrangements will be made for their return.This should be documented and sent to the Corporate Shared Service Centre - Shared Service Helpdesk for their file.
11.Keeping in Touch Days ("KIT")
11.1 With both parties agreement, line managers may also meet with the employee during the period of maternity for Keeping Touch ("KIT") days. KIT days are designed to give employees the chance to go to work to undertake training, receive updates and important communications and generally keep in touch without losing their right to maternity pay. Up to 10 KIT days (or part days) may be agreed. Should an employee attend a KIT day when she is either in receipt of SMP or not receiving any maternity pay, she will be paid for the hours actually worked (this will be inclusive of the element of SMP however).
11.2 Employees returning from maternity leave will normally return to their existing post. If this is not possible or desirable it will be discussed and agreed prior to their going on maternity leave, if at all possible. Where a return to their existing post is not desirable or possible the Deputy Director, in discussion with the Director General and the employee, will need to identify a suitable post for them to return to.
12. Postponing return to work
- The WG may postpone an employee's return to work for up to 21 days from the proposed date of return or from the end of the maternity leave period provided they notify her of their reasons before that date and pay her for the period of non-employment; or
- An employee may postpone her own return by sending the WG a certificate of incapacity from a registered medical practitioner before the notified date of return enabling her to qualify for sick pay.
12.2 An employee will be treated as having resigned if she informs the WG in writing (please note the notice period of 8 weeks is required) that she does not intend to return to work immediately following maternity leave. She will then be informed by the WG that:
- she has no statutory right to return to work;
- she may nevertheless be allowed to return at the discretion of the WG if she so wishes and if she does so within 4 weeks before the end of the maternity leave period she would have otherwise have been entitled to had she not resigned. Her resignation will then be cancelled and a period of absence will be counted as paid and/or unpaid maternity leave.
13.Requirement to pay Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
13.1 The SMP that the WG is required to pay will be offset against payment of paid maternity leave. An employee may qualify for SMP even if she does not intend to return to work after the baby is born.
13.2 An employee who qualifies for paid maternity leave will receive SMP as part of her salary (which the WG will top up to normal pay) and will be paid on normal pay days during paid maternity leave. Any SMP due after paid maternity leave is exhausted will also be paid on normal pay days and be notified by means of a pay slip.
13.3 SMP is subject to tax and national insurance and can be claimed from the eleventh week before the expected week of childbirth.
13.4 An employee who has completed 26 weeks service by the fifteenth week before the expected week of childbirth has a statutory entitlement to 39 weeks pay at the current Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) rate. The up-to-date rates are available from the Corporate Shared Service Centre - Shared Service Helpdesk.