Working parents

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Your maternity entitlements

NHS Scheme

If you have notified your intention to return to work you are entitled to:

  • 8 weeks' full pay, less any Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance (MA) (including any dependants' allowances) receivable.
  • 18 weeks' half pay plus any SMP or MA (including any dependants' allowances) receivable, providing the total receivable does not exceed full pay.
  • 13 weeks' SMP or MA that they are entitled to under the statutory scheme (see Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance)

It is possible to reach a prior agreement with the employer to have the entitlement paid in a different way, for example, a combination of full pay and half pay or a fixed amount spread equally over the maternity leave period.

If you qualify for the NHS scheme but do not have 26 weeks' continuous service with the same trust ending with the qualifying week, that is the 15th week before the expected Week of childbirth (EWC), the employer will not be able to claim back SMP from the state as the qualifying criteria for SMP have not been met. Therefore you will need to claim the MA, direct from the Benefits Agency. The employee will still receive their full entitlement; they will only be claiming the additional statutory benefit separately.

If you do not satisfy the qualifying conditions for the NHS scheme you may be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or the Maternity Allowance (see Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance). All employees have a right to take 52 weeks of maternity leave whether they return to NHS employment or not.

 

Unpaid maternity leave

You are also entitled to take a further 13 weeks as unpaid leave to bring the total of leave to 52 weeks. However, the NHS scheme allows for this to be extended by local agreement in exceptional circumstances for example, where employees have sick pre-term babies or multiple births.

 

Calculation of maternity pay

Maternity pay is calculated on the basis of average weekly earnings for the eight weeks ending with the qualifying week, which is the 15th week before the EWC.

Gross earnings are taken into consideration, which include regular contractual payments such as London weighting and banding supplements for junior hospital doctors, but members would need to check their own situation with their employing authorities or trusts. When considering having a baby, therefore, it is important for employees to ensure that they are earning their normal salary during the maternity pay calculation period as this determines what maternity pay they will receive.

Where a pay award or annual increment is implemented before the paid maternity period begins, the pay should be calculated as though the pay award or increment had effect throughout the entire statutory maternity pay calculation period. If such a pay award was agreed retrospectively, the maternity pay should be re-calculated on the same basis.

Where a pay award or annual increment is implemented during the paid maternity leave period, the maternity pay due from the date of the pay award or annual increment should be increased accordingly. If such a pay award was agreed retrospectively, the maternity pay should be re-calculated on the same basis.

Where an employee is on unpaid sick leave or on sick leave attracting half pay during the whole or part of the period used for calculating average weekly earnings, average weekly earnings for the period of sick absence shall be calculated on the basis of notional full sick pay.