Maternity Leave Policy

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1 1. Policy Summary This policy covers all female members of staff whilst in the employment of UCD. Legislation: Maternity Protection Act 1994 and Scope This policy covers all female employees who: are pregnant; have recently given birth, i.e. within 14 weeks of giving birth; All female employees are covered including all full-time, part-time and temporary employees. In the case of temporary staff employed under a fixedterm contract of employment, any entitlement to leave or other benefits lasts only as long as the fixed term contract of employment lasts. 3. Leave Entitlements of Female Employees 3.1 Paid Maternity Leave Female Employees are entitled to twenty six weeks' Maternity Leave, at least two of which must be taken before the birth and four of which must be taken after the birth. Part-time/Job-sharing employees and those on the Shorter Working Year are entitled to maternity leave on a pro-rata basis. Maternity leave with pay is available to all members of staff, who must have completed at least 26 weeks of continuous employment prior to commencing the Leave (ie with no break in service which is defined below). Continuous employment is not broken by the following; by sickness or injury, maternity leave, additional maternity leave, adoptive leave and parental leave, holidays or any other absence authorised by the employer. Continuous employment is broken if a member of staff is on a fixed term contract that expires and is not renewed within more than 3 months. If there is a break in service for more than 3 consecutive months then the entitlement to full pay during the Maternity Leave will only come into force after the staff member has completed 26 weeks consecutive service from the start date of the most recent contract. Page 1 of 10

2 Any (outstanding) period of probation is suspended for the duration of protective leave or the formal commencement of maternity leave. Probation is then resumed when the employee returns to work. If staff are employed on a fixed-term or specified-purpose contract, any leave (or any other benefit) will end when the contract ends. If your baby is born earlier than two weeks before the due date and before you have commenced Maternity Leave, then the twenty six weeks' Maternity Leave will begin on the day of the birth. Regardless of when your baby is born, you must take four weeks' Maternity Leave after the birth. If your baby is born so late that you have fewer than four weeks remaining in your Maternity Leave, then you are nonetheless entitled and obliged to take four weeks' Maternity Leave after the birth. This extension of your Maternity Leave is called Extended Maternity Leave and is governed by the same criteria as Maternity Leave. If you wish to take Extended Maternity Leave, you must notify UCD HR in writing as early as possible and no later than four weeks before the end of your maternity leave. Availing of Extended Maternity Leave does not in any way affect your right to take Additional Maternity Leave as well. 3.2 Additional (Unpaid) Maternity Leave Employees may take up to an additional sixteen weeks' leave immediately following the twenty six weeks' Maternity Leave. Part-time/Job-sharing employees are entitled to Additional Maternity Leave on a pro-rata basis. This Additional Maternity Leave is in all cases unpaid and is not pensionable. When taking any unpaid leave, please contact the Payroll Office regarding deductions from salary. In order to avail of this Additional Maternity Leave, however, employees must notify UCD HR in writing at least four weeks before the end of the Maternity Leave, indicating the dates of the Additional Maternity Leave. Employees may notify UCD HR of their intention to take Additional Maternity Leave at the same time as notifying UCD HR of their intention to take Maternity Leave. Subject to agreement with managers there are provisions that if employees become ill during additional maternity leave this leave can be terminated. Page 2 of 10

3 An employee s absence from work on additional maternity leave will count for all employment rights associated with the employment (except remuneration and superannuation benefits) such as seniority and annual leave. Employees may revoke their decision to take additional maternity leave, however they must notify UCD HR in writing at least four weeks before the Maternity Leave is due to end. 3.3 Postponement of Maternity Leave The period of maternity leave / additional maternity leave can be postponed by the employee, (subject to the agreement of the employer) in the event of the hospitalisation of the child. The maximum amount of time the leave can be postponed for is six months. Note your employer has the right to refuse your application to postpone maternity leave. Leave can only be postponed after 14 weeks maternity leave has been taken, 4 of which must be taken after the birth. (This provision does not apply to fathers who are on maternity leave). If you postpone maternity leave and return to work, then you may take your leave in one block, not later than 7 days after the child has been discharged from hospital. You will be required to provide UCD HR with a letter from the hospital confirming the child has been hospitalised and following the discharge a letter confirming the date of discharge. If you postpone your maternity leave and return to employment, you need to notify the Department of Social and Family Affairs of this. You must notify them in writing that your child has been hospitalised and you have returned to employment. A letter from your family doctor (GP) / hospital is required to confirm to the Department that the child has been discharged from hospital and your maternity benefit should resume. Your Personal Public Service (PPS) Number should be clearly identified on all documents you send to the Department. Remember, you may only apply to postpone your maternity leave if the baby has been hospitalised not if the child is unwell If you have postponed your maternity leave and become ill when you return to work (before resuming your postponed leave), you may be considered to have started your resumed leave on the first day of your absence because of illness. Alternatively, you may choose to forfeit your right to resumed leave and have your leave treated as sick leave. 4. Entitlements of Fathers Page 3 of 10

4 4.1 Entitlement of Fathers to take Maternity Leave in the case of the Death of the Mother Fathers are only entitled to maternity leave if the mother dies within 24 weeks of the birth. In these circumstances, the father may be entitled to a period of leave, the extent of which depends on the actual date of the mother s death. If the mother s death occurs within 24 weeks following the birth, then a father who is employed under a contract of employment is entitled to the remainder of the maternity up to the 24 th week. If the father is employed on a fixed-term or specified-purpose contract, this leave will end when the contract ends. The period of leave shall commence within 7 days of the mother's death. The father should notify his employer in writing no later than the day on which his leave begins on the death of the mother, and of the length of the leave to which he believes he is so entitled. If requested by his employer, the father should supply his employer, as soon as it is reasonably practicable, with a copy of the death certificate made in respect of the mother and of a birth certificate in respect of the child. 4.2 Entitlement of Fathers to take Additional Maternity Leave in the case of the Death of the Mother In the case of a father who is already on Maternity Leave, the increased entitlements to additional unpaid maternity leave will apply. A father who has taken leave shall, if he so wishes, be entitled to further leave for a maximum period of sixteen consecutive weeks commencing immediately after the end of leave taken, as outlined above. Entitlement to further leave shall be subject to the father having notified in writing his employer of his intention to take such leave, not later than four weeks before the date which would have been the father's expected date of return to work. If the father is employed on a fixed-term or specified-purpose contract, this leave will end when the contract ends. 4.3 Entitlement of Fathers to take Paternity Leave As and from 1 June 2000, male staff employed in UCD, who meet the requirements outlined below, are entitled to 3 days paid leave on the birth of their child. Paternity Leave with pay is available to all members of staff provided they have completed continuous service of more than six months. Paternity Leave must be taken within seven days of the birth of the child, except in exceptional circumstances. Page 4 of 10

5 In order to apply for Paternity Leave you must complete and sign the Notification of Intention to take Paternity Leave form and have it countersigned by your Head of School/Unit. This form is available on the UCD HR website. On completion it should be submitted to Compensation and Benefits, UCD HR, Roebuck Offices. Page 5 of 10

6 5. Terms and Condition of Employment while on Maternity Leave 5.1 Payment while on Maternity Leave Maternity Benefit is paid for twenty six weeks. For pre 1995 permanent employees, on class D1 PRSI, the University pays full salary during Maternity Leave. All employees that are paying class A1 PRSI contributions must claim Social Welfare Maternity Benefit, as their salaries will be reduced by the maximum statutory benefit at source (unless another amount is specified). See 7.2 below for further information on claiming Social Welfare Benefit. The rate of payment is 80% of an employee's weekly earnings in the income tax year that governs the employee's claim, subject to maximum and minimum rates at a given time. 5.2 Annual Leave/Public Holidays While on Maternity Leave, Extended Leave and Additional Maternity Leave, employees accrue Annual Leave. Once it has been agreed with your Head of School/Unit your Annual Leave may be added on to the end of this period. During Maternity Leave, Additional and Extended Leave employees retain their entitlement to Public Holidays which may be taken at some other time, or exceptionally, payment may be made in lieu. Absence while on Maternity Leave shall not be treated as part of any other leave from employment to which the employee concerned is entitled. 5.3 Employment during Maternity Leave, Additional Leave and Extended Maternity Leave Permanent employees during any of the above periods will remain in the employment of UCD. However, in the case of temporary employees, their employment with the University will last only until the expiry date of their contract of employment. 5.4 Extension of periods of Training, Apprenticeship or Probation UCD reserves the right to extend periods of training, apprenticeship or probation to take account of absence due to Maternity Leave 5.5 Returning to Work after Maternity Leave Page 6 of 10

7 Under the Maternity Protection Act, you have a right to return to work in the same or similar job as you left, under the same employment contract. (This right does not, of course, extend to those people whose fixed-term or specified-purpose contracts expired during any of the above periods.) The University can offer alternative employment but only if it is not reasonably practicable for the University to allow you to return to work in the same job under the same or a similar contract of employment. In this case the University may offer you suitable alternative employment under a new contract. The terms and conditions of this suitable alternative employment, in relation to the place of employment, the capacity in which you will be employed and the monetary and other terms of employment, cannot be substantially less favourable than those which previously applied. 6. Other Relevant information 6.1 Risk Assessment Although there is no legal requirement, a female employee is advised to notify her employer as soon as she becomes aware that she is pregnant under the Health, Safety & Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations Once informed, the employer must ensure that a pregnant employee risk assessment is carried out to determine what hazards she and her unborn child may be exposed to. It should be noted that the risk assessment should be carried out as soon as possible after the member of staff informs the employer that she is pregnant. It is the responsibility of the Head of School/Unit to arrange for the risk assessment to be carried out through the UCD Safety Office. 6.2 Time off for ante- and post-natal medical checks Time off for ante-natal and post-natal (up to fourteen weeks after the birth) medical appointments will be given as necessary. You must however give your Head of School/Unit at least two weeks' written notice of the date and time of your medical appointment and, if requested, produce an appointment card or other certification. Fathers are also entitled to paid time off to attend the last two classes immediately prior to the birth. In all cases, employees are in receipt of their full pay during time off for anteor post-natal checks. 6.3 Provisions in relation to Protective Leave and Health and Safety Leave during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Page 7 of 10

8 Employers are obliged to provide breastfeeding employees with either a reduction in working hours, or subject to nominal cost, breastfeeding facilities to express breastmilk in the workplace for up to 6 months after the birth. Please contact the Safety Office on Ext 2070 or for further details. 6.4 Stillbirths, Miscarriages and Neonatal Death If you have a stillbirth, miscarriage or neonatal death (where a baby lives for only a few hours or days after birth) any time after the 24 th week of pregnancy, you are entitled to full Maternity Leave. From 1 March 2007 this means a basic period of twenty-six weeks and sixteen weeks of Additional Maternity Leave. If you have satisfied the PRSI requirements, Maternity Benefit is payable for the twenty-six weeks of the basic Maternity Leave. 7. Procedures 7.1 Notification Procedures In order to apply for Maternity Leave, you must complete and sign the form 'Notification of Intention to take Maternity Leave' and have it countersigned by your Head of School/Unit, no later than four weeks before the start of your Maternity Leave. This form can be downloaded from the UCD HR Web site. It should be forwarded to Compensation and Benefits, UCD HR, Roebuck Offices. You must also attach a medical certificate confirming your pregnancy and the expected week of confinement. If the Social Welfare Maternity Benefit form (MB10) is submitted by you at the same time as the notification form, provided that it has been signed by your doctor a second medical certificate will not be required. If you wish to take Additional or Extended Maternity Leave, you must notify UCD HR no later than four weeks before the end of your Maternity Leave. If you wish to return to work after any period of leave, you must notify UCD HR no later than four weeks before the return to work date. If you do not wish to return to work after your baby is born, you must give one month s notice in writing to UCD following the completion of your maternity leave. All the above notification must be in writing. 7.2 Procedures for claiming Social Welfare Benefit Page 8 of 10

9 Staff paying PRSI classes A or E, must claim Maternity Benefit from the Department of Social Welfare, as salary will be reduced by the maximum statutory benefit at source (unless another amount is specified). Please note that Maternity Benefit will be subject to income tax effective 1 July Information about Maternity Benefit is available from Maternity Benefit Section, Department of Social and Family Affairs Lo-call or their web site. Application forms for benefit can be downloaded from their web site ( To qualify for Maternity Benefit, you must satisfy one of the following PRSI contribution conditions. You must have: at least 39 weeks PRSI paid contributions in the 12-month period before the first day of your maternity leave, or at least 39 weeks PRSI paid contributions since starting work and at least 39 weeks PRSI paid or credited contribution in the relevant tax year, or in the year following the relevant tax year, or at least 26 weeks PRSI paid contributions in the relevant tax year and at least 26 weeks PRSI paid contributions in the tax year before the relevant tax year. Only PRSI at Classes A and E count. If you were in insurable selfemployment, before starting insurable employment as an employee, your class S PRSI contributions may help you qualify for Maternity Benefit if you do not satisfy the employee conditions outlined above. You may use contributions in the tax year later than the relevant tax year to help you satisfy the PRSI contribution conditions. However, the amount of Maternity Benefit you may get depends only on your earnings in the relevant tax year. Page 9 of 10

10 8 Policy Revision History Version Date Description Author 5.0 April 2012 Policy Versioning Implemented UCD HR 6.0 December Policy update to include Neonatal Death and UCD HR 2012 Budget changes regarding Maternity Benefit 7.0 November December 2014 subject to income tax Policy updated to confirm that unpaid maternity leave is not pensionable. This is effective for unpaid maternity leave commencing after 1 st December Section 3.1 made clearer UCD HR UCD HR Page 10 of 10

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