Part A - Overarching policy

1. Policy statement

The University is committed to establishing an inclusive environment where colleagues feel supported and can thrive. The University recognises that helping parents, and especially new parents, to feel supported in the workplace is an important part of this. Furthermore, we want to encourage efforts to keep new parents who are away from work for a long period of time, connected with their workplace, and confident about their return to work. Given this the university is proud to offer new parents generous provision for family support leave (maternity, adoption, paternity / partner) without the continuous service requirements outlined in statute or historical policies.

This policy covers the description of principles, rights and responsibilities for managers and employees in relation to maternity, adoption, shared parental, paternity / partner and parental leave and pay. Full details about each of the schemes are set out in Section B of this document and the accompanying guidance (links to which can be found in section 5 below).

2. Scope

This policy applies to all staff employed on a fixed-term or open contract basis at the University.

3. Aims

This policy aims to:

  • support the attraction and retention of a high quality and diverse workforce.
  • attract prospective employees who want to build a career over many years with an organisation that will support them as their family life evolves
  • support parents to return to work, and remain employed by the University after taking maternity and adoption leave (including surrogacy where there is a parental order).

4. Principles

Maternity, adoption and paternity / partner leave and pay

With effect from 1 August 2023 employees meeting the following criteria will qualify for the enhanced occupational pay elements for maternity, adoption and paternity / partner leave schemes. Employees must

  1. have started employment with the University before their child is born (or placed with them for adoption), and
  2. not have already commenced family (maternity, adoption, paternity / partner or shared parental) leave, and
  3. intend to return to work for the University after their period of family leave for a minimum of 3 months to qualify for the University's enhanced maternity, adoption and paternity / partner leave and pay benefits.

However, qualification for Shared Parental Leave and Pay can require both parents to qualify for the statutory portion. If employees wish to explore using Shared Parental Leave and one or both parents do not qualify for Statutory Shared Parental Leave and Pay, please seek advice from HR as early as possible as this is a complex scheme.

Note that different criteria apply to Parental leave (unpaid).

5. Procedure and guidance

This policy should be read in conjunction with the following associated procedure and guidance:

6. Glossary of terms

In the context of this policy and associated process and procedure the terms outlined in the table below are the definitions that will be applied.

Term Definition
Eligible / eligibility To be eligible means that the individual meets the minimum legal criteria that enables them to take part in a scheme if they wish.
Qualify / qualification To qualify for a scheme the bar is higher than eligibility and the individual must meet specific additional criteria.
Average weekly earnings Average gross earnings over a period of at least eight weeks up to and including the last payday before the end of the qualifying week.
Qualifying period The 8 week period up to and including the 15th week before the baby is due or adoption match date.
Qualifying week The 15th week before the week the pregnant employee's baby is due
the week in which a prospective adopter (designated primary adopter) is notified they have been matched for adoption with a child.
Expected week of childbirth The week in which an individual's baby is due
Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity pay A state benefit paid via an employer's payroll (current or previous as applicable).
Maternity allowance A state benefit that may apply should an individual not be eligible for statutory maternity pay. It must be claimed directly from Jobcentre Plus.
Compulsory maternity leave The requirement by law that a minimum of two weeks' leave must be taken immediately following the birth of a child.
Compulsory adoption leave The requirement by law that a minimum of two weeks' leave must be taken immediately following the placement of a child.
Continuity of employment test (shared parental leave) The parent who is to take shared parental leave must:
  • have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before their baby is due or their adoption match date
  • still be working for the same employer a week before the start of each block of leave they take
Parent An individual who has responsibility for the child's upbringing
Designated primary parent / adopter The parent who will spend the most time with the child / children on a day-to-day basis. This could include the biological parent (gestational or non-gestational); the adoptive parent with whom the child is, or expected to be, placed, who has elected to take adoption leave in respect of the child. One of the intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement and expect to obtain a parental order in respect of the child.
Parental order parents The intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement where they are eligible for and intend to apply for a Parental Order (or where they have already obtained such an order) making them the legal parents of the child that they are having with the help of a surrogate birth parent.
A year Defined for the purposes of this policy as a rolling 12 month period
Matched 'Matched' means that the adoption agency gives you the details of the child they think is suitable for you to adopt.

7. Approval

This policy has been considered by the HR Policy Special Interest Group and has been approved by the Director of Human Resources.

8. Monitoring

Human Resources will monitor the application of this policy for consistency.

9. Review

This policy will be reviewed every 3 years or when there are any changes which affect relevance, compliance (e.g. legislative change) or applicability.

Document control

  • Approved on: 1 August 2023