The University of Cambridge aims to provide maternity benefits which comply with both the letter and the spirit of the law on maternity rights and are in excess of these statutory requirements. The maternity leave policy aims to inform employees of their contractual and statutory maternity rights, and to ensure that those rights are understood.
The policy applies to all female employees, regardless of their length in service and entitlement to statutory maternity benefits.
What pay am I entitled to?
All staff are entitled to receive 18 weeks of full-pay (regardless of length of service), on the provision that you will return to work for a period of 3 months after your maternity leave. If you receive enhanced pay and subsequently do not return to work for the full 3 months, you will be required to pay back a proportion of this as below:
|Up to one month||All maternity pay|
|One month up to two months||Two-thirds of maternity pay|
|Two months up to three months||One-third of maternity pay|
If at the point of applying for maternity leave you are aware you will not be returning to work, it is advisable to complete the form requesting to receive statuary maternity pay (SMP) only.
There are eligibility requirements to receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), in relation to your length of service and average weekly salary. Further guidance on this can be found on the University webpages (maternity policy page) or gov.uk (gov – maternity leave). If you are not eligible to receive SMP, you will be able to apply for Maternity Allowance (MA) through your local job centre with your MATB1 and a completed SMP1 form. Your HR Team will provide you with these with your letter confirming arrangements.
Keep in touch days (KIT)
Keeping in Touch days are the provision for you (with the agreement of your Head of Department) to carry out up to 10 days’ work during maternity leave (excluding the first two weeks from the date of birth) without ceasing your maternity leave. In accordance with legislation, any work carried out on any day shall constitute a full days’ work.
“Work” means any work done under your contract of employment and may include training, attending meetings or any activity undertaken for the purposes of keeping in touch with the workplace.
Neither you or your department are obliged to make use of these days, and the provision does not confer the right for the department to require work to be carried out, or for you to request to work during your maternity leave.
If you wish to take a KIT day, liaise with your line manager in order to confirm the day(s) you wish to take as KIT days. Your line manager will then need to complete the KIT days template below. Once the KIT days template has been completed this then needs to be submitted to your departmental HR team who will then submit the spreadsheet to Payroll for processing. If you are on the full pay period when taking a KIT day, you will not receive additional pay, however if the days are taken whilst you are on Statutory Maternity Pay then you will receive payment according to the hours you complete on the KIT day(s).
All academic staff eligible for sabbatical leave under Statute D,II,5 are entitled to retain any terms falling during any maternity leave period as reckonable, for future sabbatical leave purposes.
Further information can be found in the Sabbatical Leave policy.
Annual leave entitlement as stated in your contract of employment will continue to accrue as normal during your maternity leave. All accrued annual leave will need to be taken within 3 months of your return from maternity leave. Your department will be able to inform you of the amount of leave you have accrued prior to or on your return.
Whilst on maternity leave, you will remain entitled to access all the usual support networks available to you. This includes administrative staff within your department, the HR team, and the Occupational Health Service and University Counselling Service.
Whilst on maternity leave, you will remain entitled to redeployment support and advice if your contract is due to come to an end. You can access this by contacting the Clinical School HR Team via email@example.com.
Can I attend ante-natal classes during working hours?
Yes. You are entitled to take time off with pay in order to attend ante-natal appointments, to include classes. Your line manager or department may request you to produce appointment cards from your clinic.
What if I become unwell during pregnancy?
If you are off work with an illness unrelated to pregnancy, you will be able to remain on sick leave until the start date of your maternity leave (subject to the standard requirement of submitting Statements of Fitness for Work (or “Fit Notes”) obtained from a doctor as required after 7 calendar days of absence, as per the Sickness Absence Policy.
If you are on sick leave due to a pregnancy-related illness, at the beginning of the 4th week prior to the expected week of childbirth your sick leave will automatically transfer to maternity leave. If you become unwell with a pregnancy-related illness after the 4th week prior to the expected week of childbirth, your maternity leave will start with effect from the first day of illness.
What if my baby is born early?
If your baby is born early, your maternity leave will start from the date of birth. In usual circumstances, you are not able to start maternity leave until 11 weeks prior to the expected week of childbirth (except in exceptional circumstances). If however, your baby is born prior to the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth, your maternity leave and pay will commence immediately.
Please ensure to inform your line manager or departmental administrator if your baby is born early, as soon as reasonably possible after the birth.
What if I suffer a miscarriage or still birth?
If your pregnancy sadly ends in stillbirth after the 24th week of pregnancy, you will still remain eligible to take your full entitlement of maternity leave and pay. This will commence from the date of birth.
As mentioned in the “what benefits do I retain whilst on maternity leave?” section, whilst on maternity leave you will still have full access to University support services, including the University Counselling Service.
What benefits do I retain whilst on maternity leave?
During maternity leave your contract of employment continues in force. All terms and conditions of the contract (with the exception of salary) continue, and your continuity of service is maintained. Any standard incremental progression due to take place during your maternity leave will be implemented. Access to non-contractual benefits (such as CAMBens Discounts) will also continue.
What if I do not wish to return to work full-time?
If you wish to return to work on a part-time basis or working less than your contractual hours, you may request to return to work in graduated stages under a “graduated return”. Alternatively, you may request to decrease your hours on a fixed-term or permanent basis. If you wish to discuss any changes to your working arrangements following your return from maternity leave, you should contact your Head of Department or departmental administrator at the earliest opportunity (where possible, at least 8 weeks prior to your return to work). Requests will be considered on the basis of the operational requirements of the department.
What if my contract is due to end before or during my maternity leave?
If your contract is due to cease whilst you are on maternity leave, the standard procedures of the ending of a fixed-term or open-ended contract will be followed, and the usual consultation periods will apply.
|If your contact ends during the 18 week period||You are in receipt of enhanced pay, your full-pay will cease with effect from your contract end date but your SMP/MA will continue for the remainder of the full 39 weeks. You will not be required to pay back any full-pay you have already received.|
|If your contact ends after the 18 weeks period||You are in receipt of enhanced pay, you will not be required to pay back any full-pay, and your SMP/MA payments will continue for the remainder of the full 39 weeks.|
|If your contact ends prior to the start of your maternity leave, but after the qualifying week (15 weeks prior to the expected week of birth)||You will still be entitled to take the full 52 weeks maternity leave, but you will not be entitled to any full-pay. You will receive any SMP/MA payments you are entitled to for the full 39 weeks.|
You may also wish to refer to the redeployment section.
What is Shared Parental Leave?
Shared Parental Leave (or “SPL”) is the provision to share up to 50 weeks of your maternity leave and 37 weeks of your SMP with your child’s father/your partner. This enables you to be off work together, or at different times, to give you flexibility in considering how best to care for and bond with your child during the first year following the birth.
For more information, speak to your department HR team in the first instance.