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Maternity leave


These pages provides a brief overview but please read the policy and related documents for full details

Maternity leave

If you are having a baby you will be able to take 52 weeks maternity leave. You can find our guidance for employees here.

You can decide when you would like your leave to start and how long you wish to take, within certain parameters:

  • the earliest you can start your leave is 11 weeks before your baby is due
  • your leave will be automatically start if you are absent from work wholly or partly because of pregnancy after the beginning of the 4th week before your baby is due, or if you give birth early
  • the earliest you can return to work is 2 weeks after your baby is born.

If you are not taking the full 52 weeks leave, you will need to provide written notice of your return to work date.

Managers can find guidance on supporting employees here.

Informing your line manager and People & OD Employment Services

Please inform your line manager as early as possible. This is important in terms of safeguarding your health during your pregnancy especially if you work in a high risk area. Your manager will need to undertake a risk assessment and cannot do so if they are not aware of your condition. 

Employment Services will help you to work out your dates and to check how much leave and pay you qualify for. Contact your Employment Services Team to make a personal appointment.

You must give your completed application form to your line manager and P&OD Employment Services, at the latest, by the end of the qualifying week (i.e. 15 weeks before your baby is due - this is approximately week 25 of your pregnancy). 

A checklist is provided which sets out all the necessary steps you need to take before - during - and after your maternity leave. You will find this in the pack of maternity leave forms

Ante-natal appointments

You will be able to take paid leave to attend ante-natal appointments on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, this includes reasonable time for relaxation/parentcraft classes.

You will need to show proof of your appointments to your line manager. Please make apointments at the start or end of the day wherever possible, so as to cause least disruption to your work.

Annual leave

Annual leave accrued prior to the start of your maternity leave period must be taken within the current leave year, ideally before you start your maternity leave.

During your maternity leave you will continue to accrue annual leave, including bank holidays and closure days, in the normal way. This should also be taken in the current leave year, i.e. at the end of your maternity leave. If this is not possible because your maternity leave runs over into the next leave year, you will be able to carry over any annual leave it has not been possible to take.

Keeping in touch during your leave

Before you go on maternity leave, please discuss with your line manager how much contact you would like to have. You will obviously need to keep your manager informed of your return to work date and your manager will keep you informed of any significant changes in the workplace that may affect you. 

During your maternity leave you also have the option to work for up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KIT) days. This enables you to keep up to date with developments at work, and may include working, attending training or a meeting.

KIT days are optional, if you are interested in doing this, please discuss and agree these in advance with your line manager.

Shared Parental Leave

You now have the option if you wish to, to end your maternity leave early and to share your remaining leave and pay entitlement with your partner.

As a couple you can decide how you would like to split this remaining leave, - you may decide to be off work at the same time or take it in turns to have periods of leave to look after your child.

Details are contained in the Shared Parental Leave Policy. 

Policies & forms

Please see our maternity toolkit

with links for all the relevant policies, guidance and forms you will need