Additional information

1. Health and safety

The University is committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all employees which includes pregnant and breastfeeding employees as covered by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

As part of the University's duty of care to pregnant and breastfeeding employees, a risk assessment will be carried out when you advise your line manager of your pregnancy. If you are intending to breastfeed after your return to work you should tell your line manager as a second risk assessment will need to be carried out once you have returned.

Where a potential risk has been identified, temporary adjustments should be made to the work or working conditions and / or working hours. Your line manager may want to seek advice from their HR Advisor in these instances.

Where the risk cannot be reduced to an acceptable level you will be offered suitable redeployment on your existing terms and conditions of employment. If there is no suitable redeployment, you will be suspended on full pay for as long as the risk remains. The decision to suspend on these grounds will be taken by a Senior Manager (Member of the University Executive Board, Dean or Head of Department) acting on advice from the Health and Safety Department and HR.

Suspension on maternity grounds will not affect your statutory or contractual employment or your maternity rights. You are entitled to your normal salary and contractual benefits during any period of suspension, unless you refuse a reasonable offer of suitable alternative employment.

Redeployment or suspension will follow in the same way if there is a statutory requirement placed on the University by an employment medical advisor or doctor appointed under regulations on ionising radiations, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) etc.

If you produce a medical certificate stating that, on health and safety grounds, you should not continue to work your previous standard hours (e.g. nights) the University will either transfer you to suitable alternative day work or suspend you on maternity grounds, on full pay.

If either you or your manager have concerns arising from the risk assessment or any other health and safety related matter you may contact the Occupational Health Advisor (Ext 4608) for advice and guidance.

2. Annual leave

You will continue to accrue annual leave during your maternity leave. If you are unable to take all of your annual leave entitlement in a particular year because you are on maternity leave, you are allowed to carry forward any untaken annual leave to the following leave year. Prior to starting your maternity leave you should discuss arrangements for using annual leave with your line manager.

If you are on maternity leave on a Public/Statutory or Customary holiday you are allowed to take the day(s) of holiday at a mutually convenient time (i.e. agreed with their line manager).

Annual leave cannot be taken during a period of maternity leave. It must be taken either prior to, or following maternity leave. Any annual leave taken following the birth of the baby will be deemed to be a 'return to work' for the purposes of maternity regulations. Therefore you would be expected to resume your normal duties following the period of leave. If the payroll team has not already been informed of leave arrangements, then your line manager must do so in writing. This notification should be in writing and confirm the date maternity leave ended and the annual leave dates.

3. Pension

If you are a member of the USS or University of York Pension scheme, the University will continue to make its usual contribution for the whole of the time you are receiving Occupational or Statutory Maternity Pay. During any unpaid maternity leave your active pension scheme membership will be "suspended". This means that the period will not count as pensionable service, but that benefits will be paid in the event of their death or ill-health retirement during adoption leave, on the basis of the service and salary which counted at the end of their paid adoption leave.

Further information about pension arrangements while on adoption leave is available from

4. Rewards Extra

  • SMP is based on your earnings in the 8 week period up to and including the 15th week before your baby is due (the 'qualifying period'). It is calculated using the post-sacrifice salary which means that SMP will be reduced for individuals receiving benefits as part of a salary exchange scheme at that point.
  • You should review whether you wish to continue to receive benefits as part of a salary exchange scheme. Where you decide to leave the scheme you will need to complete a lifestyle change form.
  • In the case of the Childcare Voucher Scheme you should contact (HR Services) in the first 16 weeks of your pregnancy if you are thinking of leaving. Changes must be confirmed at least 6 weeks before the change is to take effect.

5. Managing redundancy and ending of a contract during maternity leave

If your contract is due to end during your maternity leave, the University's redundancy policy will be used.

With your agreement, redundancy consultation may start early, i.e. before your maternity leave begins. This will not affect your statutory or contractual rights and you will still receive access to redeployment opportunities, if relevant, at the appropriate time.

It's likely that you will have taken some or all of the Occupational element of maternity pay. Under normal circumstances you would be expected to return to work for at least 3 months. Where this is not possible due, for example, to the contract expiring, you will not be required to return to work for the full 3 months and maternity pay under the University's Occupational Maternity Scheme, if applicable, will be paid until the expiry of the contract.

If your contract ends before your entitlement to SMP ceases, you will remain on the University's payroll for the remainder of the period for which you are eligible for SMP. All of your SMP entitlement will be paid via the University. Your leaving date will be the date on which funding ceased, so contractual benefits such as leave entitlement and redundancy calculations would be based on this date.

6. Sickness absence

  • All sickness absence prior to starting maternity leave will be administered under the normal sickness absence procedure. You will receive contractual or Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), as appropriate.
  • In cases where a pregnancy related sickness absence occurs after the beginning of the fourth week before the EWC, maternity leave will start automatically from the first day of absence.
  • The paid period of maternity leave cannot coincide with other types of absence. Sickness during this period is treated as part of the maternity leave. If you are sick during unpaid maternity leave you may be entitled to SSP or State Incapacity Benefit and should, therefore, contact (HR Services) for advice.
  • If you are unable to return to work at the end of your maternity leave due to sickness, it will be treated as being on sick leave in accordance with the University's Sickness Absence Procedure.

7. Premature birth

  • If your baby is born prematurely but after your maternity leave has already started, the rules governing Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP), Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and Maternity Allowance (MA) do not change.
  • If you give birth prematurely before or during the 15th week before the EWC, known as the Qualifying Week (QW) you are still entitled to receive Occupational Maternity Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance as originally envisaged provided you meet the relevant eligibility and qualifying criteria.

8. Miscarriage and stillbirth

If a miscarriage occurs earlier than the 24th week of pregnancy, you will not qualify for Maternity Leave or OMP, SMP or MA. Any period of sickness absence will be dealt with under the normal sick pay arrangements.

In the event of a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy onwards, you will be eligible for maternity leave, OMP, SMP or MA in the normal way.

Helpful information on miscarriage may be found on the Miscarriage Association website.

You may also wish to access the University's confidential counselling service.

9. Equality and Diversity - including breastfeeding facilities

An employee may also like to consult the Equality and Diversity maternity web pages for useful information relating to relevant issues including breastfeeding facilities at the University.