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Becoming a parent: Parental Leave policy

Overview

Becoming a parent can be one of the most significant and exciting events you will ever experience. We want to support you during this time by ensuring you have some financial security and time away from work.

This policy covers maternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave, paternity leave, surrogacy and fostering to adopt. If you are interested in taking unpaid parental leave, please refer to the Time Off for
Personal Reasons policy.

We appreciate the various leave options and pay arrangements can be confusing and you might have lots of questions. If you would like more information about your options and entitlements, you can speak to HR in complete confidence at any time. Once you have decided on the best leave arrangements for you and your family and you are ready to start your leave, HR will continue to support you with information and guidance.

Here are some key points for you to consider.

Length of service and leave

All employees, regardless of length of service, can take up to 52 weeks’ maternity or adoption leave or 50 weeks’ shared parental leave. If you wish to take paternity leave, you need to have 26 weeks’ service by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due, or 26 weeks’ service by the end of the week you are notified by an adoption agency that you have been matched with a child. You can then take up to two weeks’ leave.

Maternity, adoption and paternity pay - if you have 1 years’ service or more

If you have been employed for over 12 months on your baby’s due date (as listed on your MatB1 form) or by the end of the week you are notified by an adoption agency that you have been matched with a child, you will receive enhanced maternity and adoption pay of:
• 13 weeks at 100% of contractual base pay (inclusive of statutory pay)*
• 13 weeks at 50% of contractual base pay (inclusive of statutory pay)
• 13 weeks at the statutory rate of SMP
• 13 weeks unpaid.

*If you are on a fixed term or annualised hours contract we take the average of the previous two months’ salary to calculate your base pay. If you do not meet the minimum salary threshold you will be entitled to maternity/adoption allowance rather than statutory pay.

Commission payments while on Maternity - if you have 1 years’ service or more

Where you would regularly receive commission payments were you not absent from work on maternity leave and you are entitled to Enhanced Maternity Pay (1 year continuous service or more), you will receive payment for any commission earned during the period prior to the start of your maternity leave, which may be pro rata for any period to which the payment relates in which you spent some time at work and some time on maternity leave. Commission payments do not form part of your contract of employment and there is no contractual right to receive them. St. Modwen reserves the right to alter the terms of this policy at any time.

Bonus payments while on Maternity - if you have 1 years’ service or more

Where you are absent on maternity leave during a bonus year, you may be entitled to all or some of a bonus payment for that year based on the nature of the bonus. This may include payment of a pro rata bonus which takes into account the period during the bonus year in which you were working, and the two weeks of compulsory maternity leave all employees who give birth are required by law to take.

Paternity leave is paid at your normal rate of pay for two weeks assuming the same service conditions apply.
Your benefits will continue as normal during your full pay period, unless you choose to make changes. Within your statutory period we will fund all benefits except for the Sharesave scheme. In any unpaid period we will fund benefits except for pension contributions and the Sharesave scheme. You will still be able to use your company car or car allowance throughout your leave.

Maternity, adoption and paternity pay – if you have between 41 weeks and 51 weeks’ service

If you have been employed at St. Modwen for 41 – 51 weeks before the baby is due or by the end of the week you are notified by an adoption agency that you have been matched with a child, you will be entitled to statutory pay rather than the enhanced company maternity or adoption pay.

This means for maternity and adoption leave you will receive statutory pay for 39 weeks and no pay for the remaining 13 weeks. For paternity leave you will receive statutory pay for two weeks.

The statutory rate of pay changes each year – you can find more details on gov.uk.

Within your statutory period we will fund all benefits except for the Sharesave scheme. In any unpaid period we will fund benefits except for pension contributions and the Sharesave scheme. You will still be able to use your company car or car allowance throughout your leave.

Maternity, adoption and paternity pay – if you have less than 41 weeks’ service
If you have worked with us for less than 41 weeks on the baby’s due date, or by the end of the week you are notified by an adoption agency that you have been matched with a child, you are not eligible for payments. HR will give you the relevant form so you can apply for maternity / adoption allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions. You will still be able to use your company car or car allowance throughout your leave.

Employees with less than 41 weeks’ service are not eligible for paternity leave, but you might like to ask your manager about using annual leave. We will try to be as flexible as possible.

Shared Parental Leave pay
If you are taking maternity or adoption leave, you will still be entitled to 39 weeks’ paid leave as explained above, dependant on your length of service.

If you decide to end your maternity or adoption leave before 39 weeks is up, the remaining shared parental leave will be paid at the statutory rate and can be shared between you and your partner. For example, if you decide to return to work after 35 weeks’ maternity/adoption leave, your partner could take the remaining 17 weeks’ as shared parental leave. Of this, four weeks could be paid as statutory shared parental pay and the remaining as unpaid shared parental leave.

Please note that if you are entitled to thirteen weeks’ full contractual pay followed by thirteen weeks’ half-pay and opt to take shared parental leave during the first six months of your leave, you will drop to Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) and lose your full and half pay entitlement.

Anyone on any company enhanced maternity pay will be impacted by any changes to renumeration (up or down) during their time away from work

Time off to attend ante-natal / pre-placement appointments
Pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable paid time off for antenatal appointments. Prospective fathers, or the mother’s spouse, civil partner or partner (of either sex), can take paid time off to attend two antenatal appointments with an expectant mother. If you need any further time off, please discuss it with your line manager.

If you are adopting a child, or you are the spouse, civil partner or partner (of either sex) of someone who is adopting, you can take paid time off to attend two pre-placement appointments with the adoption agency. If you need any further time off, please discuss it with your line manager. Please try to schedule appointments at a time that minimises disruption to the business, for example, at the start or end of the working day, and give as much notice as possible.

In a surrogacy arrangement, where one or both intended parents is genetically related to the baby, the same arrangements apply.

Holidays

You continue to accrue annual leave while on family leave. It may suit both you and the business to take holiday in blocks at the start or end of your leave period rather than in single days when you return. It might be possible to use your annual leave in a way that allows you to return to work on a part time basis for the first few months. Please discuss this with your line manager. You should ideally use all annual leave in the current holiday year. If this is not possible, you may carry it over for one holiday year.

Keep in touch (KIT) / shared parental leave in touch (SPLIT) days

A KIT/SPLIT day is a great way to keep in touch with work activities while you are on leave. You can use them to attend team meetings, project updates, or to undertake training. With the exception of the first two weeks of maternity or adoption leave, you can agree with your manager to use up to 10 KIT days without bringing your family leave to an end or losing your family leave pay. KIT/SPLIT days are paid at your normal salary. KIT days are not mandatory and similarly, if you request one, we may not be able to agree. If you have opted to take shared parental leave you will be entitled to take up to 20 SPLIT days (10 per partner).


Maternity – further information

As soon as you feel comfortable, please let your manager know about your pregnancy. We want to ensure you and your baby are safe while you are at work, so you might choose to notify your manager early on – depending on your working environment. In order for you to retain any statutory entitlement you need to let us know at least 15 weeks before the baby is due. Your manager will then complete a new and expectant mothers risk assessment with you to identify any potential risks.

You can start your maternity leave at any time between the 11th week before your due date, and the due date itself. Your doctor or midwife will provide you with a MAT B1 around the 20th week of your pregnancy– please pass this to your manager. When you have decided your leave details, please update them inyour Workday account and HR will be in touch to check they have all the information they need. You can always change the dates if you need to, ideally with 28 days’ notice, although we understand this is not
always possible.

Your maternity leave will automatically start if you are off work due to a pregnancy-related illness in the four weeks before the baby is due.

We will presume you will be taking the full 52 weeks’ leave, unless you tell us otherwise before your leave starts. If you want to return to work earlier or later than you intended, please give your manager eight weeks’ notice. If you return to work within six months you will return to the same role you occupied before your maternity leave with the same terms and conditions, unless a redundancy situation or reorganisation means your role no longer exists.

If you have more than 26 weeks’ leave we will try to ensure you return to the same role. If this is not possible, we will offer you an alternative role with terms and conditions that are no less favorable than before.
In the unfortunate event that you suffer a miscarriage before week 24 of your pregnancy, we encourage you to seek medical advice and take sick leave until your doctor agrees you are well enough to return to work. If you suffer a miscarriage after week 24 of your pregnancy, or your baby is stillborn, you can take your full maternity leave entitlement. A miscarriage, stillbirth or death of a child following birth is a traumatic experience, and our priority is to ensure that employees and their families receive the support and assistance they need. Please speak to your manager or HR or utilise our employee assistance programme (Click here) You can also find specialist support at www.sands.org.uk.

Adoption

Once the adoption agency notifies you that you have been matched with a child, please tell your manager within seven days. If the child you are adopting is from overseas, please inform your manager within 28 days. Adoption leave can either begin:

• From the date of the child's placement
• From a fixed date up to 14 days before the placement date
• From the date the child enters the country (overseas adoption), or
• From a fixed date no later than 28 days after the child enters the country (overseas adoption).

Please update your Workday account with the details of the leave you would like to take and provide your manager with the matching certificate from the adoption agency. HR will contact you to check they have all the necessary information before your leave starts. If you would like to return to work earlier or later than originally intended, please give your manager eight weeks’ notice.


Shared parental leave (SPL)

Shared parental leave enables new mothers and adopters to share up to 50 weeks of their maternity or adoption leave with their partners. SPL can only start after the first two weeks of maternity or adoption leave, and the total amount of pay available cannot exceed the amount of untaken statutory maternity or adoption pay (maximum 37 weeks). If you would like to end your maternity or adoption leave early, please complete the Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave and period of leave form to confirm your intention to take SPL. You can take SPL as a continuous period of leave, take leave in turns or be on leave together. We will approve any request for continuous leave. If you would like to request discontinuous leave, please discuss this with your line manager.

Eligibility criteria for shared parental leave
If your partner is taking maternity or adoption leave, for you to be eligible for shared parental leave, one of the following must apply:

• In the case of a woman on maternity leave, you are either the father of her child, or her spouse, civil partner or partner (of either sex)

• In the case of an individual who is adopting, you are either their spouse, civil partner or partner (of either sex), or

• In the case of a couple who are adopting jointly, you are the adoptive parent who is not taking adoption leave.

The total amount of shared parental leave and pay you can take as parents cannot exceed the unused balance of maternity or adoption leave. If you are both on leave for a week together, this will use up two weeks of your joint entitlement.
If you are the mother/primary adopter, you and your partner must meet the same criteria. For your partner to be eligible, you must also:

• Have been employed or self-employed during at least 26 of the 66 weeks immediately before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) or expected date of placement, and

• Have average weekly earnings of at least the maternity allowance threshold for any 13 of those 66 weeks.


Eligibility criteria for shared parental pay (ShPP)
The total amount of shared parental pay (ShPP) available to both parents cannot exceed the amount of untaken statutory maternity or adoption pay (maximum 37 weeks). To qualify ShPP:

• If you are the mother or primary adopter, you must meet the same eligibility conditions as required for shared parental leave (listed above) and be entitled to statutory maternity pay (SMP) or statutory adoption pay (SAP), or

• If you are the partner of the mother or primary adopter, you must meet the same eligibility conditions as required for shared parental leave (listed above) and must be entitled to statutory paternity pay (SPP).

Please provide specific information about your partner and a signed declaration confirming that they agree to ShPP by completing the Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave and period of leave form. Please inform us in writing how you intend to use your ShPP and provide evidence (such as a copy of the child’s birth certificate/declaration of the place and date of birth if the birth has not been registered yet or a placement confirmation from your adoption agency), at least eight weeks before the first week of ShPP.


Paternity

If you are a prospective father, or if your spouse, civil partner or partner (of either sex) gives birth or adopts a child, you can take up to two weeks’ paternity leave around the time of the birth or adoption. As soon as you are ready, let your manager know you are looking to take paternity leave. We just ask that you let us know at least 15th weeks before the baby is due. In the case of adoption, tell your line manager within seven days (or 28 days if you are adopting from overseas). You need to take paternity leave within
eight weeks of the baby’s birth/placement/entry into the country. Paternity leave can begin on one of three dates:

• From the date the baby is born or the child is placed for adoption (UK adoptions), or

• From a chosen number of days or weeks after the baby’s birth or placement for adoption (UK adoptions), or

• On the date the child arrives in the UK or an agreed number of days after this (overseas adoptions only).

Remember to update your Workday account with your leave details. You can only take one period of leave for each pregnancy or adoption, even if more than one child is born or placed at the same time. We will also ask you to complete an SC3 form for the birth of a child or an SC4 form for adoption and send this to HR. If you are considering taking shared parental leave, you will need to take paternity leave first.

Surrogacy

A surrogacy arrangement is slightly different from adoption, as the surrogate who gives birth and her partner are the child’s legal parents.

If you are an intended parent in a surrogacy arrangement and if the legal rights to the child are transferred to you through a parental order or adoption, you may take adoption leave and pay (assuming you qualify).

Please notify us at least 15 weeks before the due date stated on the surrogate’s MatB1 that you intend to take adoption leave, and confirm the baby’s due date. You then need to provide at least 28 days’ notice for any adoption pay period to start.

Parental order surrogacy

To apply for a parental order you must be the egg or sperm donor, and in a relationship where you and your partner are either married, civil partners or living as partners. You can apply for a parental order once the baby is born, and can start your adoption leave before you receive it. Adoption leave for parental order parents always begins on the day the child was born, or the day after if you are in work that day.

Non-biological parents

If you are unable to apply for a parental order because neither you nor your partner are genetically related to the baby (for example, if donor egg and donor sperm or donor embryos were used), you may decide to adopt. Once you have a matching certificate, which may be a few months later, you are able to access adoption leave.

Fostering to adopt

The ‘Fostering to adopt’ scheme is when a child is placed with a foster family with the expectation that they will formally adopt. If you are part of this scheme you may take adoption leave and pay from up to two weeks before the child is placed with you.
To be eligible, you must:

• Be a local authority foster parent who has been approved as suitable to adopt the child that you will initially foster

• Have been notified by the local authority of its decision to place a child with you, and

• Have notified the local authority that you agree to the placement (initially for fostering) and the date it will take place.

Please be aware that in fostering for adoption cases, you can only take adoption leave once, either when the child joins you for fostering or once the adoption goes ahead. In cases when the adoption is not formalised, for example, because the child or children are returned to their birth parents, you are still entitled to your remaining adoption leave up until 8 weeks after the child has left or until the end of your adoption leave, whichever is earlier. To apply for this type of leave, please provide your child matching notification from the local authority and your ‘Notification of Adoption Leave’ form to your line manager within seven days of being told you have been matched with a child. If this is not possible, you should inform us as soon as you are able to.

Scope

This policy applies to all current employees of St. Modwen plc regardless of your length of service.