Maternity Leave and Pay

The Council’s maternity scheme operates alongside the Statutory Maternity Pay Scheme. All pregnant women regardless of length of service are entitled to paid time off for antenatal care and a maximum of 52 weeks maternity leave commencing no earlier than 11 weeks before the week the baby is due. Levels of maternity pay are dependent upon earnings and length of continuous local government service. If you are not eligible for the Occupational Maternity Leave and Pay Scheme you may still be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay.

More detailed information on Maternity Leave and Pay can be found in the Work Life Balance Policy however we recommend that you read the information contained on this page.

Notification Flow Chart


Ante-Natal Care

You will be entitled to paid time off during working hours for the purpose of ante-natal care. You may be required to produce an appointment card or some other document confirming all appointments other than the first to your line manager. Antenatal care is not restricted to medical examinations and could include relaxation and parent craft classes as long as these are advised by a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor.

With effect from 1st October 2014 your husband, civil partner, partner, the father of your expected child if he is not one of the aforementioned, a parent, or an intended parent in a surrogacy situation who meets specified conditions will have the right to take unpaid time off on up to two occasions for a maximum of six and a half hours on each occasion to attend antenatal appointments with you.

Health and Safety

There is an obligation on the Council to conduct a risk assessment when informed that you are pregnant. Once this assessment has been undertaken appropriate action must be taken to reduce any risks identified. The risk assessment will be undertaken by a suitably qualified/ experienced person from within your employing department or alternatively by the Corporate Health & Safety section of the authority. It should be noted that you are prohibited to work for a period of two weeks from the date of childbirth.

Keeping in Touch Days

Employees may, by mutual agreement with their employer do up to 10 days’ work under their contract of employment during the maternity leave period. The type of work that the employee undertakes on keeping in touch days is a matter for agreement between the two parties. They may be used for any activity which would ordinarily be classed as work under the woman’s contract, for which she would be paid, but could be particularly useful in enabling a woman to attend a conference, undertake a training activity or attend a team meeting. Any work done at any stage during the maternity leave period will count as a whole keeping in touch day, up to the 10 day maximum. Further information is available in the Work Life Balance Policy.



When should I notify my line manager that I am pregnant?

We recommend that you notify your line manager of your pregnancy as soon as possible in order that you can receive paid time off to attend ante-natal appointments/classes and so that your line manager can arrange a risk assessment.

When should I notify Corporate HR of my intention to take maternity leave?

You are required to notify HR of your intention to take maternity leave by the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth (EWC). You should do so by submitting a Maternity Leave Application Form together with your MAT B1 certificate (usually given by your Midwife). If you decide to change your maternity leave commencement date, you must give HR 28 days’ notice, unless that is not reasonably practicable.

When can I start my maternity leave?

The earliest you can commence leave is the 11th week before your baby is due. If during the four weeks before the expected week of childbirth, you are absent from work due to a pregnancy-related illness your maternity leave may be automatically triggered.

When will my maternity pay start?

The earliest point at which maternity pay can commence is the 11th week before your baby is due, as per maternity leave. Maternity pay will start when you commence maternity leave.

Will I be entitled to time of for Ante Natal Care?

All pregnant women have a statutory right to paid time off for antenatal case, regardless of length of service or the number of hours they work. After your first appointment you should show your line manager your appointment card and discuss your need for time off, so your line manager has time to make the necessary arrangements to cover your absence. In exceptional circumstances, your line manager may ask that you change the time of your appointment if it will be inconvenient to the department and you should comply with this if practical.

What happens if my baby is born early?

Normally maternity leave and pay will not be affected if your baby is born after the intended start date of your maternity leave. If your baby is born after the 11th week before your expected week of childbirth, but before the intended start date of your maternity leave, your maternity leave will start automatically on the day after the birth.

What happens if I lose my job before beginning my SMP?

If you lose your job or stop work before the qualifying week (the 15th week before your baby is due) you will not be entitled to SMP. If you lose your job or stop work after the qualifying week, you will still be entitled to SMP.

How much notice do I need to give to my employer if I am returning to work before the end of my maternity leave?

If you want to return to work before the end of your agreed maternity leave you will need to give your line manager 21 days’ notice of your new return to work date. Employees are encouraged to discuss their return to work date with their line manager at the earliest opportunity, so that suitable arrangements are put in place. If you intend to return to work at the end of your full maternity leave entitlement you will not be required to give any further notification.

What if I am not entitled to any maternity pay?

In order to qualify for maternity leave, regardless of pay, you are required to inform your line manager of your pregnancy intentions in writing. You may be entitled to Maternity Allowance, which is available from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). You will be provided a SMP1 form from payroll in order for you to complete, with which you will be able to claim Maternity Allowance direct from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

How much SMP do I receive if I have a multiple birth?

You are only entitled to one SMP payment regardless of the number of children born. However, you may be entitled to Child Benefit for each child. Contact your local Benefits Agency for further details.

What happens if I am sick at the end of my maternity leave?

You will need a sick certificate from your doctor. You will be recorded as having returned from maternity leave, and you will then be on sick leave and will need to follow the normal departmental procedures for reporting sickness absence.

Can I return part-time or to a job share?

If you wish to apply for a flexible working arrangement following maternity/adoption leave then you would need to do so in line with the Authority’s Work Life Balance Policy. Options may include part-time working or job share, where these options are appropriate and available and within the needs of the service provision. However, in the absence of such an agreement, you will be expected to return to your previous job under the same terms and conditions.

If I decide to Breastfeed and wish to continue to do so after returning to work how can this be accommodated in work?

If you have opted to breastfeed your baby returning to work doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding. If you intend to continue breastfeeding after returning to work you should give your employer written notification. It is advisable to do this before you return to work so that we can ensure that you return to a healthy, safe and suitable environment. On receipt of the notification a specific risk assessment will be undertaken. We will endeavour, in line with the Health and Safety Executive recommendation, to provide a private, healthy and safe environment for you to express and store milk. We will also, as stipulated in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 provide suitable facilities for you to rest, which where necessary, will include somewhere to lie down.

Can I go back on maternity leave once I have returned to work if it’s still within the maternity leave period?

No. Subsequent pregnancies will, of course, give rise to maternity leave rights associated with that separate pregnancy.

Will I still be entitled to Annual Leave & Bank Holidays? 

Annual leave and Bank Holiday entitlement is accrued during the whole period of maternity leave whether paid or unpaid. It may be beneficial to both yourself and your line manager to take annual leave before and/or after the formal (paid and unpaid) maternity leave period. The amount of leave to be taken this way or carried over must be discussed and agreed with the manager who will have to consider service commitments.

Will my pension contributions be interrupted?

During paid maternity leave, the Authority will continue to make pension contributions as if you are working and earning your normal pay. During the unpaid maternity leave, your occupational pension rights will continue to accrue. If you are already making contributions to the Local Government Pension Scheme and you decide to take the option of unpaid maternity leave, you will be required to pay the accumulated contributions to cover the unpaid maternity leave. The accumulated contributions are taken over a period of time from your salary when you return back to work.

What happens if I have a stillbirth or miscarriage before the 24th week of pregnancy?

If you miscarry earlier than the 24th week of your pregnancy you will not qualify for maternity leave, SMP or Maternity Allowance. You will remain off work as long as your GP and the Occupational Health department consider it necessary, and you will be on sick leave.

What happens if I have a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy onwards?

If you have a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy onwards you would be eligible for maternity leave, SMP and MA in the usual way.