University's contractual maternity pay scheme

The University’s contractual maternity pay scheme entitles all eligible employees (regardless of their grade or the hours worked) to receive some pay during their maternity leave that is paid to them at their normal full rate of pay (which is above the statutory minimum). Any Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) to which the employee has entitlement is included in full pay. 

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In order to qualify for the contractual maternity pay scheme, at the qualifying week the employee must: 

i. hold a current CMS contract of employment with the University; and 
ii. have at least 26 weeks' continuous service with the University, as an employee; and 
iii. provide her department with the correct notification of her intention to take leave, and 
iv. confirm her intention to return to work following the birth of her baby (for a minimum of three months. If an employee is on a fixed-term contract, please see the relevant section below.) 


Please note: 

with effect from 1 January 2020 the University will introduce a new scheme and all employees who have started employment before the Expected Week of Childbirth will be eligible for the contractual scheme as long as they meet the other requirements of the scheme.


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If an employee meets all the qualifying requirements outlined above, and her University contract of employment will continue throughout the entire period of the proposed maternity leave (unless an employee is on a fixed-term contract, which is due to expire), she will be eligible to receive the following: 

  • up to 26 weeks' leave paid at the full rate of pay (inclusive of any SMP which is due); followed by 

  • up to 13 weeks' leave paid at the rate of pay SMP (if entitled); followed by 

  • up to 13 weeks' unpaid leave. 

Total maternity leave = up to 52 weeks 

SMP is paid at a statutory flat rate set by the government. To qualify for SMP, the woman must: 

  • have worked for the University continuously for at least 26 weeks, continuing into the qualifying week;  

  • have average weekly earnings above the National Insurance lower earnings limit

  • have given her department the correct notice and proof of pregnancy (see 'Before the birth' section).  

The Payroll team can help to establish whether a woman is eligible for SMP at the appropriate time. 

SMP is paid over the first 39 weeks of maternity leave at the rate of: 

  • 90% of average weekly earnings (this figure is worked out at the qualifying week) for each of the first six weeks of maternity leave; followed by 

  • 33 weeks of flat rate SMP (for current rates see the website). The flat rate is set by the government and is subject to review every April. 

As the University's Maternity Pay Scheme pays at the rate of the employee’s normal full salary for up to the first 26 weeks' maternity leave, any SMP which is due to the employee is automatically incorporated into those payments. SMP is not paid in addition to full pay. For the next 13 weeks, the University pays SMP only. For the final 13 weeks of maternity leave no payments are made. 

In the case of a multiple birth, an employee is entitled to the same benefits as if she were having one child. 

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If an employee does not meet the qualifying criteria for the University's contractual maternity pay scheme, she may still qualify for SMP (see also the section above for further details about SMP payments). An employee is entitled to 52 weeks' unpaid maternity leave regardless of whether she qualifies for any type of maternity pay. 

Women who are not entitled to SMP may be entitled to claim up to 39 weeks' Maternity Allowance (MA), from their JobCentre Plus office, dependent upon meeting the qualifying conditions based on their recent employment and earnings records. Payroll will issue an 'SMP1' form to any woman who is not entitled to SMP, which provides information about how to apply for MA 

A woman who does not qualify for SMP or contractual pay, but who wishes to take maternity leave, still needs to provide a 'MATB1' form to her department, and to fill in a Maternity leave plan. 

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If an employee decides not to return to work at the end of her maternity leave, or returns to work for less than three months, the University reserves the right to reclaim all or part of the payments made under the University's contractual pay scheme, minus any statutory pay element to which the employee was eligible. If an employee resigns during her maternity leave, she must do so in the normal way, giving the notice period stated in her employment contract. 

All other contractual benefits will end as at the end date of her employment with the University. An employee may continue to be entitled to SMP after employment ends. Any such payment will be paid to the employee as a lump sum amount at the end of her employment. 

If an employee plans not to return to work following a period of maternity leave, before she goes on maternity leave, then she will not be eligible for the University's contractual maternity pay scheme. She may still qualify to receive SMP.

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If an employee’s fixed-term contract is due to expire during the maternity leave period (or the contract ends due to redundancy), they may still qualify for a portion of the University's contractual maternity pay scheme. However, the payments under the University’s contractual scheme and all other contractual employment benefits will cease on the contract end date. An employee may continue to be entitled to SMP after employment ends. Any such payment will be paid to the employee as a lump sum amount at the end of her employment. 

The normal arrangements for ending contracts will also apply. However, it is recommended that the department contacts their HR Business Partner for guidance on the appropriate procedures. 

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