The maternity leave period normally starts on the date the employee has notified her department that she intends to start leave. There are some exceptions to this rule as follows:
(i) Absence due to childbirth before the intended start date
If the baby is born before the date the employee has notified that she wishes to start leave (or before she has had the opportunity to notify any date) the maternity leave period starts automatically on the day after the date of the birth. This happens even if the birth takes place before the 11th week before the birth was originally expected. In this circumstance the woman should give her department notice (in writing if the department asks for it) of the date of the birth if it has already taken place, and the date on which the baby was originally expected. The actual and expected dates of birth can be provided together on the maternity certificate (MATB1) if this is still to be issued by the time the baby is born.
In the unusual circumstance that the baby is born prematurely before the qualifying week, the employee will be taken as satisfying the continuous employment rule for the University's contractual maternity pay scheme if she would have been continuously employed but for early childbirth. The maternity pay will be paid from the day following the birth of the baby.
In the very unfortunate circumstances that a baby is stillborn before the 25th week of pregnancy, the woman is not entitled to pay under the statutory or University pay provisions. Sick leave or compassionate leave should be considered in such circumstances. The Departmental Administrator (or equivalent) should seek advice from their HR Business Partner should such a situation arise.
(ii) Sickness absence for a pregnancy-related reason before the intended start date
An employee who is absent from work due to illness will normally be able to take sick leave until she starts maternity leave on the date notified to her department. However, if a pregnancy-related illness occurs at or after the beginning of the fourth week before the EWC, the maternity leave period will start automatically on the day after the first day of absence.
(iii) Dismissal, resignation or end of contract before the intended start date
If an employee resigns, her contract ends or she is dismissed before the date she has notified to begin her leave, or before she has notified a date, she loses the right to the University's contractual maternity pay scheme and all other employment benefits as at the end date of her employment with the University. She may still qualify for SMP if the eligibility criteria are met. The Departmental Administrator (or equivalent) should seek advice from their HR Business Partner should such a situation arise.
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