Accessibility Skip to main content

Maternity scheme

Information on the maternity scheme


  • EWC – Expected Week of Childbirth – the week in which the baby is expected to be born
  • OML – Ordinary maternity leave, i.e. covers weeks 1 - 26 of maternity leave
  • AML – Additional Maternity Leave, i.e. covers weeks 27 - 52 weeks of maternity leave
  • SMP – Statutory Maternity Pay
  • MA – Maternity Allowance


This scheme adopts provisions provided through statutory requirements (Law) and agreed National Conditions of Service (i.e. ‘Green Book’ Conditions of Employment).

An expectant mother has certain rights under the law. These rights are as follows:

  1. The right not to be unreasonably refused (paid) time off work to attend appointments for antenatal care.
  2. The right not to be dismissed or discriminated against for any reason connected with pregnancy or maternity leave.
  3. The right to receive maternity pay.
  4. The right to take maternity leave and return to work.
  5. Special considerations to health, safety and welfare whilst pregnant, following childbirth and/or when breastfeeding.

These rights are available to all expectant mothers, regardless of whether they work full- or part- time or are ‘permanent’ or ‘temporary’.


This scheme applies to all Torbay Council employees, excluding Teaching and Support Staff within Torbay Schools, where a separate policy applies.

‘Expected Week of Childbirth’

The Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) is the week, beginning with the Sunday, in which the baby is expected to be born. This date is confirmed by a midwife or medical practitioner on the ‘MATB1’ certificate.  Employees are eligible to receive the MATB1 certificate once they are 20 weeks into their pregnancy.

Notification requirements

At least 28 days before she intends to take her maternity leave, an expectant mother will be required to formally notify her line manager of her intention to take maternity leave and receive maternity pay. This should be done on MyView, by selecting the relevant parental leave form in the ‘My Forms’ area. Once this has been completed the manager will then be sent the form for approval. 

If the employee is unable to do this within 28 days before she is due to take maternity leave, for instance, if she is unaware she is pregnant or the baby arrives before that date, she should provide notification to her manager as soon as possible. In exceptional circumstances, the expectant mother will not be expected to notify her manager if she is not able to do so, but she should provide medical certification where required.

In order to apply for maternity leave and pay, the expectant mother will need to state on the form:

  • That she is pregnant.
  • The week her baby is expected to be born.
  • When she wants her maternity leave to start.

An expectant mother will be able to change her mind about when she wants to start her leave providing she provides notification at least 28 days in advance (unless this is not reasonably practicable).

Once the manager has approved the maternity leave form, MyView will send an acknowledgement by email responding to an expectant mother’s notification. Once the employee’s last full salary payment has been made, Payroll will write to the employee giving an indication of what entitlement to maternity pay she should expect and the date on which she is expected to return to work. 

Health and Safety of New and Expectant Mothers

Although formal notification of pregnancy is not required until 28 days before maternity leave begins, an expectant mother is advised to inform her line manager as soon as she learns that she is pregnant. This is in the employee's own interests, as such notification may instigate action to safeguard the well-being of the mother-to-be and of her unborn child.  The Council would be in breach of statutory obligations if it allowed an employee who it knows to be pregnant to expose herself or her unborn child to injury or disability.  Early notification enables the line manager to carry out necessary risk assessments and assist the employee in arranging suitable time off for antenatal care.

Risk assessment must be completed by Managers and Employees using Assure.  The completed risk assessment will then be reallocated to the relevant qualified manager or H&S representative for processing.  H&S will send a copy of the risk assessment to the HR Operational inbox and Assure will retain a copy as confidential in the system.

You can find the assessment on Assure - Risk – Risk Assessment Templates  - New Record – New and Expectant Mother Risk Assessment or by using the risk assessment pro forma (see the Health and Safety New and Expectant Mother Policy Appendix 1)

The line manager should save a copy of the risk assessment on the employee’s personnel file and provide the employee with a copy of the risk assessment.

If the expectant mother is found to be at risk at any time during her pregnancy, during the 6 months following the birth of her child, or whilst she is breastfeeding the following steps by the line manager will be taken:

  • Temporary adjustment to working conditions and/or hours of work; or if that is not possible,
  • offer of suitable alternative work; or if that is not feasible,
  • suspension from work for as long as necessary to protect her or her child (if continuously suspended for the duration of the pregnancy, maternity leave will begin at the point the expectant mother intends her maternity leave to begin in normal circumstances or at the time of childbirth, whichever is earlier).

These provisions do not apply where the expectant mother is signed off sick by her GP, but rather where she is able to come to work but unable to perform her particular job duties for pregnancy related reasons.

New and expectant mother risk assessments shall be reviewed by a risk assessor on a 3 monthly basis (at the beginning of each trimester) if practicable, or if there are any significant changes to the working task, the workplace or to the health of the new and expectant mother. The review should be conducted by the original risk assessor.

Further guidelines and information regarding Risk Assessments for New and Expectant Mothers is available in the Health and Safety New and Expectant Mother Policy.

Antenatal Care

An expectant mother is entitled, regardless of her length of service or number of weekly hours worked, not to be unreasonably refused time off work for antenatal care if she has been advised to attend such an appointment by a GP, midwife or health visitor. Such time off will be on full pay, the expectant mother will not be required to make up the hours lost and the amount of time off will include any reasonable time required to travel to/from appointments as well as the appointment itself.

Time off to attend ‘antenatal classes’, which include relaxation, aqua-natal and parent-craft classes, will only be regarded as reasonable if they are specifically recommended by a midwife, GP or health visitor and where they cannot be attended outside of normal working hours (or Core Hours, if in the Flex Scheme).

The expectant mother should provide reasonable notice to request time off for attending antenatal appointments.  The expectant mother should provide her line manager with an appointment card each time she requests time off work.

From 1st October 2014 employees and agency workers who have a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman, or an expected child are entitled to take time off work to accompany that pregnant woman at up to two antenatal appointments.

Employees will have the right from day one of their employment. The right to time off is capped at a maximum of six-and-a-half hours on each occasion, which can include travelling time, waiting time and attendance.

An employee has a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman or her expected child if he or she:

  • is the husband or civil partner of the pregnant woman;
  • lives with the pregnant woman in an enduring family relationship, but is not her parent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt or uncle;
  • is the father of the expectant child; or
  • is an intended parent in a surrogacy situation who meets certain conditions.

The antenatal appointment must be made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse.

The employee should provide reasonable notice to request time off for accompanying a pregnant woman at antenatal appointments.  The employee should provide their line manager with an appointment card each time he/she requests time off work.

Time off to attend ante-natal appointments will be paid.   Employees wishing to request this time-off must record this within the adjustment panel on their flexi record, where in operation.

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave may not start before the 11th week before the EWC (or from the time of childbirth if that is earlier). 

All women will have the right to 52 weeks maternity leave in total.

The following table explains the different types of maternity leave available:

Type Qualifying service Duration
Compulsory Maternity Leave None.

2 weeks.

2 week period immediately following childbirth (including a child who is stillborn at any time after 24 weeks of pregnancy). It is unlawful to allow a woman to return to work during the compulsory maternity leave period. Compulsory Maternity Leave is included within the entitlement to Ordinary and Additional Maternity Leave detailed below.

Ordinary Maternity Leave None.

26 weeks

Additional Maternity Leave None.

26 weeks.

The 26 weeks immediately follows on from Ordinary Maternity Leave.

(Ordinary and Additional Maternity Leave = 52 weeks total).

Other than Compulsory Maternity Leave, a mother may choose to take less than the full entitlement provided.  Also, for parents of children with an expected week of birth beginning on or after 5th April 2015 or in an adoption situation, where the notification of the match with a child is on or after this date, there is the option for eligible parents to take Shared Parental Leave.  Further details are contained in the Shared Parental Leave Policy, available from MyView, under ‘My Documents’.

A flowchart showing an overview of the Maternity Leave entitlement

Planned maternity leave can start on any day of the week.  SMP will therefore start to be paid on the day the expectant mother specifies in her maternity notice letter, provided she starts her maternity leave on this day.  However, if the baby is born more than 15 weeks before the EWC or before the planned start of maternity leave, maternity leave and pay will commence the day after the birth and the weeks will run on a rolling 7 day basis (i.e. if the baby is born on a Monday, maternity leave and pay commences on the Tuesday and the mother’s ‘maternity pay weeks’ run from Tuesday to Monday).

Sick Leave – before planned maternity leave starts

Maternity leave will start automatically if the expectant mother is absent from work for a pregnancy related illness during the 4 weeks before the start of her EWC, regardless of when she has said she actually wants her maternity leave to start. Such sickness absence may affect the return to work date.  Sickness absences that are not pregnancy related will not automatically trigger maternity leave and will count as normal sickness absence. Maternity leave and pay commences on the day after the first complete day of absence from work.

Maternity Pay

The Maternity Pay Period lasts 39 weeks. It starts on the same day as maternity leave starts. 

Rates of pay and how they are paid are dependent upon length of service and earnings. The amount of maternity pay received is based upon average earnings in the 8 weeks up to and including the ‘qualifying week’. Where a pay rise is awarded between the start of the 8 weeks and end of the maternity leave period, maternity pay will be reviewed and recalculated to reflect the new rate of pay. 

The following will apply to maternity pay entitlements:

Type Qualifying service Duration/Amount
Statutory Employed by Torbay Council for 26 Weeks into the 15th Week before the EWC (known as the Qualifying Week); To have worked in the Qualifying Week and earned at least as much as the lower earnings limit for paying National Insurance Contributions.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP):*

6 weeks at 90% of salary (weeks 1 - 6).

33 weeks at the SMP rate per week (weeks 7 – 39).


Contractual 1 year’s Local Government service at the 11th week before the EWC.

6 weeks (weeks 1 – 6) at 90% salary (offset against SMP or MA payments). Followed by:-

12 weeks Half Pay (from week 7). The entitlement to Half Pay is fully recoverable if the employee does not return to work for the Council for three complete months (immediately following maternity leave, and any other leave that is taken following on from a period of maternity leave for instance, parental leave).


33 weeks (weeks 7- 39) of SMP weekly rate, if entitled.

SMP is in addition to Contractual Maternity Pay (Half Pay) but Half Pay plus SMP cannot exceed full pay.

A flowchart showing an overview of the Maternity Leave entitlement

An expectant mother who wishes to discuss a variation in the distribution of the 12 weeks Half Pay entitlement during the remaining weeks of her maternity pay period should contact the Payroll Section, Human Resources. Any variation must be mutually agreed between the expectant mother and the Council. 

No later than 28 days before the expectant mother intends to start her maternity leave, the original MATB1 certificate should be provided in order for the Payroll Section to determine whether SMP is payable by the Council. If the expectant mother does not qualify for SMP from the Council, the Payroll Section will return the MATB1 certificate for the expectant mother to give to the Benefits Agency/Jobcentre Plus in order to claim maternity pay.

The MATB1 certificate should be forwarded to the Payroll Section, Human Resources, together with the Maternity Leave Plan (or other formal maternity notification from the expectant mother). A MATB1 certificate cannot be accepted if a midwife or GP signs it earlier than 20 weeks before a baby is due.

Maternity Allowance

Expectant mothers who are not entitled to SMP may be entitled to Maternity Allowance (MA) which is paid by the Benefits Agency/Jobcentre Plus Office.  The Payroll Section confirms whether an expectant mother qualifies for SMP.  A form entitled ‘SMP 1’ can be obtained from Payroll for an expectant mother who does not qualify for SMP.  Expectant mothers may also check with the Benefits Agency/Jobcentre Plus whether they would qualify for SMP or MA.

Shared Parental Leave

From 5th April 2015, eligible parents can share maternity or adoption leave and pay under Shared Parental Leave arrangements.  Shared parental leave enables parents to commit to ending their maternity or adoption leave and pay at a future date, and to share the untaken balance of leave and pay as shared parental leave and pay with their partner, or to return to work early from maternity or adoption leave and opt in to shared parental leave and pay at a later date.

Employees can refer to the Council’s policy on shared parental leave, where they will find full details of the eligibility requirements, as well as instructions as to how the parents’ maternity or adoption leave can be curtailed.

The Shared Parental Leave Policy is available from MyView, please see ‘My Documents’.

Terms and Conditions during Maternity Leave

During the period of Ordinary and Additional Maternity Leave terms and conditions of employment, apart from receipt of normal pay, continue. This includes, for example, accrual of annual leave and bank holidays, and any other contractual benefits that the employee may be receiving, such as payment of child-care vouchers, staff benefits including reduced parking fees where appropriate.  The employer's duty of trust and confidence, and any terms which relate to notice of termination by the employer, redundancy pay, grievance and disciplinary procedures will also continue. The employee's duty of good faith is maintained, as are any terms relating to notice on termination, disclosure of confidential information, the acceptance of gifts or other benefits, and involvement in any other business.

Pay awards and other improvements to benefits continue in the normal manner as if the employee was still at work.

It is common practice for expectant mothers to request a period of annual leave immediately prior to or after a period of maternity leave.  Any annual leave should be requested, and those requests dealt with, in accordance with normal Torbay Council procedures. 

All contractual benefits continue to apply to employees in receipt of such benefits.

Pension Arrangements During Maternity Leave

If the employee is a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme, pension contributions will be paid and deducted from pay in the usual manner and at the same percentage rate during the period of paid maternity leave. 

Any periods of authorised unpaid maternity leave will not be treated as pensionable and will reduce the amount of pension earned during the year. Employees can, however, choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APC) to buy the ‘lost’ pension. Employees can elect to pay an APC within 30 days of returning to work and the Council will pay 2/3rds of the APC. 

If the employee elects to pay an APC after 30 days of returning to work, the Council will not be required to make a contribution and the employee will bear the full cost. For employees who want to pay additional contributions to buy the ‘lost’ pension for this period, they should complete the LGPS Calculator below and return one copy of their completed application form to Peninsula Pensions and the other copy to:- Pensions, Torbay Council, Lower Ground Floor, Town Hall, Torquay, TQ1 3DR. For any queries in completing the application form, please contact Pensions, Tel:  01803 207410.

LGPS contributions calculator

Special considerations

If a mother has a stillbirth from the start of the 25th week of pregnancy onwards, she would be eligible for maternity leave and pay in the usual way.  If a mother gives birth prematurely to a living child, even in cases where the baby later dies, at any point in her pregnancy, she will be entitled to maternity leave and pay in the usual way.

Return to Work

An employee who has taken maternity leave is entitled to return to the same job on terms and conditions of employment as if they had not been absent.  Where it is not practicable, for instance by reason of redundancy, for Torbay Council to permit the employee to return to work in her job, the employee shall be entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists under a new contract that begins on the day immediately following the day on which the employee's previous contract came to an end. The work to be done under the new contract must be both suitable for the employee and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances. The provisions of the new contract relating to the capacity and place in which the employee is to be employed, and the other terms and conditions of employment, must not be substantially less favourable to the employee than if he or she had continued to be employed under his or her previous contract.

Consideration will be given to the full range of flexible working arrangements when requested by a woman returning to work after maternity leave, including a temporary reduction in hours.  Any adjustments should be discussed with the line manager as soon as reasonably practical and made in accordance with procedures. 

Consideration will be given to introducing the employee back to the workplace by providing any necessary training or updating.

Unless otherwise notified, it will be assumed that the employee will return to work at the end of her maternity leave as stated in the Maternity Leave Plan and Confirmation of Maternity Letter provided by Payroll. The employee is therefore expected back to work on the next working day after maternity leave finishes. 

Payroll will need to be informed by the employee’s line manager when the employee is due back to work in order to ensure that she is paid correctly and on time. The MyView form ‘Change to Employment Details’ should be used, or where the employee returns to a new job (i.e. with new post number), a ‘Single Starter’s Form’ should be completed and sent to Payroll.

Where the employee is granted a period of annual leave or parental leave at the end of the maternity leave period, the employee will be regarded as ‘back to work’ following maternity leave and on annual or parental leave etc.  Normal procedures and entitlements apply when booking any other leave at the end of maternity leave.

Notification of Early Return to Work

An employee who wants to come back to work early during maternity leave will need to give the Council:

  • 21 days' notice of the date she wants to return to work following Ordinary Maternity Leave or
  • 21 days’ notice of the date she wants to return to work following Additional Maternity Leave.

(These are contractual notice periods which will prevail over the statutory notice period, currently 8 weeks) 

If an employee wishes to change her early return to work date to an even earlier date, or to postpone her early return date to a later date, she will need to give the Council notice in writing in accordance with the above time periods. 

If an employee returns to work before the end of the period in which she is entitled to receive any maternity pay (which currently lasts 39 weeks), she will not receive the full entitlement to maternity pay and will instead receive her pay in accordance with her contracted hours.

If the employee does not give the required notice, Torbay Council reserves the right to postpone her return until the required notice has been given, or up until the day she would have been expected back.

An employee who does not want to return to work following maternity leave should give the Council notice as per her terms and conditions of employment.  Once resigned, the employee loses her statutory right to return to work after maternity leave and any contractual ‘Half Pay’ entitlement will be lost.  Annual leave will accrue up to the last day of service and not the last day worked.

Sick Leave – at the end of maternity leave

If a woman is unable to return to work at the end of her maternity leave because of sickness, then the period of maternity leave will end and the absence will be treated as sick leave and the normal sickness absence procedures apply.

Return to Work following a Resignation and a Break for Maternity Reasons

Where an employee returns to local government service following a break for maternity reasons, she will be entitled to have previous service taken into account in respect of the sickness and maternity schemes, provided that the break in service does not exceed eight years and that no permanent paid full time employment has intervened.  For the purpose of the calculation of entitlement to annual leave the eight years time limit does not apply, provided that no permanent full time employment has intervened.

Working during Maternity Leave

A woman will be able to work up to 10 days during her maternity leave without bringing her maternity leave to an end (‘work’ is defined as being any work done under contract of employment and may include training or any activity undertaken for the purpose of keeping in touch with the workplace).  This will also extend to her entitlement to receive SMP and provided that the employee works no more than 10 days during her maternity leave, she will not lose any SMP.  Any work carried out whilst on maternity leave will not have the effect of extending the period of maternity leave. 

Any time worked as a ‘Keeping in Touch Day’ will be paid at the employee’s normal full rate of contractual pay and will be paid in hours.  The payment will be off-set against any SMP payment that the employee may be receiving.  Working for part of a day will be recorded as one full Keeping in Touch day, e.g. if the employee works for 2 hours, this will be recorded as one Keeping in Touch day and will count against their 10 day allocation .  A ‘Keeping in Touch’ form will need to be completed by the employee’s manager and returned to Payroll.  This form can be found on MyView, under ‘My Forms’.

The Council cannot insist that the employee carries out any work and is protected from suffering a detriment or being dismissed for refusing to do so.  Equally, an employee cannot insist on being given any work to do. 

Under no circumstances should the employee be expected to work nor should she expect to carry out work during the first two weeks following the birth of the child (during compulsory maternity leave).  It is an offence to permit an employee to work during this period of time. 

Contact during Maternity Leave

It is reasonable to expect that the employee and their manager should remain in contact during the employee’s period of maternity leave.  This does not constitute ‘work’ and therefore does not form part of the 10 working days described above nor does such contact bring the maternity leave period to an end.  This contact time aims to keep the channels of communication open between the employee and their manager during the leave period and also ensures that the employee is kept informed of workplace issues.  Typical issues that may be discussed are: significant changes/workplace developments, training opportunities, job vacancies, return to work arrangements and any other work issues which may affect the employee.  An employee’s informal visits to her office location/normal place of work may also constitute contact time.

A flowchart showing an overview of Maternity Rights and process to be followed is contained on pages 18 - 19 of this document.

Support and signposting

  • Becoming a parent useful articles, tools and calculators are available via Money Helper in the Family and Care section of the Financial Wellbeing Toolkit
  • Staff Benefits, including Staff Parking, local discounts and MyLifestyle
  • Counselling and Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
  • Information regarding support for Breastfeeding at work is available via the New and Expectant Mother Risk Assessment on SheAssure

Policy Feedback

Should you have any comments regarding this policy, please address them to the HR Policy Feedback mailbox –

This separate maternity policy was agreed on 9 December 2010 by Torbay JCC/Single Status Group.  Previous policy changes are recorded on the former ‘Maternity, Adoption, Paternity (Maternity Support Leave) Scheme’ held by Human Resources.

History of policy changes
Date Page Details of Change Agreed by:
9 December 2010 Various Separate out Maternity, Adoption and Paternity from former Maternity, Adoption and Paternity Scheme. TJCC/SSG 9.12.10
9 December 2010 8 New information relating to Additional Paternity Leave Legislation change – 9.12.10
May 2014 9 Update regarding unpaid leave and pension payments Legislation change April 2014
October 2014 4 Update following introduction of new ante-natal rights. Legislation change October 2014
April 2015 9 Removal of section relating to Additional Paternity Pay, replaced with Shared Parental Leave. Legislation change April 2015
November 2015 7 Include wording to confirm recalculation of maternity pay following a pay rise. For information only November 2015
March 2018 3, 15, 16

Change to maternity confirmation letter – to be sent out after last full salary payment.

Review of associated policies and guidance – removal of Employee and Managers’ Guidance docs. Update to Maternity Rights and Process Flowchart.

Updates in regard to MyView and submission of maternity leave plan form.

TJCC 9.2.18
Jan 2022 All Put onto new corporate template
Sept 2022 5, 6

Link to new H&S New and Expectant Mother Policy and risk assessment process. Update links for further guidance.

August 2023 3, 4, 10, 15

Reference removed to guidance documents no longer available. Clarification re when MATB1 issued. Link added to Assure New and Expectant Mother Risk Assessment. Clarification of Terms and Conditions continuing during Maternity Leave. Section added on support and signposting.

Sept 2023 18 Reformatted flowchart.

This policy will be reviewed should operational or legislative changes require it.

Other relevant policies and guidance available from MyView

  • Career Break Scheme
  • Flexible Working Requests Guidance
  • Ways of Working
  • Fertility Treatment (IVF) Support Scheme (part of Leave Arrangements policy)
  • Parental Leave Policy (part of Leave Arrangements policy)
  • Time Off to Care for Dependents (part of Leave Arrangements policy)
  • Shared Parental Leave Policy
  • New and Expectant Mothers Risk Assessment

Maternity Rights and Process Flowchart

Employee informs manager of pregnancy

Employee completes ‘Maternity Leave Plan’ on MyView

Pregnant employee must notify her manager of her intention to take maternity leave by the 15th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth, unless this isn’t reasonably practical. She will need to formally tell her manager:

  • That she is pregnant
  • The week that her baby is expected to be born
  • When she wants her maternity leave to start

Employee is entitled to paid time-off for:

  • Ante-natal care
  • Health and Safety risk assessment to also be updated by manager

If employee is absent from work with a pregnancy related illness during the 4 weeks before EWC, maternity leave starts automatically

If the baby is born before the date the employee has notified, maternity leave starts automatically, and the employee must notify her manager of the date of birth as soon as is reasonably practical

Following employee’s last full salary payment - Payroll calculates employee’s entitlement to maternity pay – employee receives ‘Maternity Pay Confirmation Letter’

If employee works during maternity leave, Manager must complete and send a ‘Keeping in Touch Notification Form’ to Payroll in order for employee to get paid (up to 10 days can be worked without bringing SMP to an end)

Employee returns to work – Payroll need to be notified by line manager using either:- Change in Employment Details Form OR New Starter process

Employee has right to return to the same job on terms and conditions of employment as if they had not been absent. (Where it is not practicable, e.g. by reason of redundancy, for Torbay Council to permit the employee to return to work in her job, the employee shall be entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists).

Maternity Leave Entitlement

Compulsory Maternity Leave (CML)

(2 weeks)*

2 week period immediately following childbirth (including a child who is stillborn at any time after 24 weeks of pregnancy).


By law, a woman must take 2 weeks’ leave following the birth of her baby


*2 weeks CML forms part of the OML period (see below)

Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML)

(26 weeks)

Follows on immediately from CML – no qualifying service necessary

Additional Maternity Leave (AML)

(26 weeks)

Follows on immediately from OML – no qualifying service necessary

All employees entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave in total