Please note that the following is only a general guide, and should not be taken as an authoritative statement of the full maternity entitlements within the Statutory/Contractual/Regulatory provisions.
Maternity Leave Entitlement
Police officers are entitled to take up to 15 months maternity leave, irrespective of their length of service. Maternity leave can be taken in one or more blocks, 6 months before and 12 months after the week the baby is due. Leave can be started at any time after the 13th week of pregnancy.
All maternity leave must start on a Sunday.
Application for Maternity Leave
Officers should give notice of their intention to take maternity leave by the 15th week before the Expected Week of Confinement, but are encouraged to inform line managers as soon as possible. Form MAT1A (available from Administration Sections) should be completed and forwarded to line managers.
Completion of Form MAT1A will enable a mandatory risk assessment to be carried out as soon as pregnancy is confirmed. The purpose of this is to ensure that neither staff nor expected babies are placed at risk by work or the working environment. For some staff, this may mean a change of duties whilst pregnant or breast feeding. Night shift duty can be replaced by daytime working on receipt of a certificate from a doctor which states the health concerns and the adverse effect of continuing to work night duty.
+ Police officers may need to consider
+ Movement to non-confrontational duties
+ No contact with prisoners or potential prisoners
+ Any duties outside of police buildings to be carried out in plain clothes
The maternity certificate, MATB1 can be issued by Doctors/Midwives from 27th week of pregnancy and should be forwarded to Personnel Administration. On receipt of Form MAT1A and MATB1 certificate, applicants for maternity leave will be notified within 28 days of a proposed return to work date, based on the assumption that the full entitlement of leave will be taken.
When a baby is born before the maternity pay period was due to start, notice is required of the birth of the baby no later than three weeks after the event. The maternity pay period will then begin the Sunday after the birth.
Death of a Baby or Stillbirth
If, in the unfortunate event that a baby dies or is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy, the provisions within the maternity scheme will apply. When this occurs before 24 weeks (miscarriage), sympathetic consideration will be given to any request for special leave.
Time off for ante natal appointments
Expectant mothers are entitled to take time off with full pay during normal working hours for antenatal examinations with GPs and hospital clinics. However, wherever possible, appointments should be arranged at the start or the end of the working day. Evidence of appointments must be provided on request from supervisors, who should be advised of antenatal appointments as far in advance as possible.
Maternity pay will be paid into bank accounts on the same date as a salary would be received, and will be subject to the usual deductions.
If pay increases come into effect during a maternity pay period, regulatory/occupational maternity pay will include any additional amounts due.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
Police officers who have at least 26 weeks service by the end of the 15th week before the Expected Week of Confinement (EWC) will be entitled to receive Statutory Maternity Pay whether or not there is an intention to return to work.
SMP is payable from the 11th week before the EWC for a maximum of 26 weeks comprising 9/10ths of average salary for the first six weeks, followed by a set statutory rate per week for the remaining period, subject to the usual deductions.
Regulatory Maternity Pay
Officers who have 63 weeks continuous service at the beginning of the EWC (Sunday), will be entitled to full pay and allowances for the first 13 weeks of maternity leave.
To receive maximum benefit of 13 weeks regulatory maternity pay and 26 weeks statutory maternity pay, officers must start their maternity leave 24 weeks before the EWC. Where Regulatory Pay and SMP coincide, officers will be paid the greater of the two, not both.
Where officers receive regulatory maternity pay, they must return to work for at least 1 month following maternity leave. This requirement affects both those working reduced hours and full time and includes both sick and annual leave taken during that time. If an officer does not return to work for 1 month then the difference between the statutory and regulatory maternity pay must be repaid.
Officers in receipt of 13 weeks regulatory maternity pay will also be entitled to housing allowance. Once regulatory maternity pay has ceased, officers will no longer be entitled to this allowance. However, if an officer�s husband is also a serving police officer and eligible for housing allowance, the full married allowance may be claimed for the period when the allowance is not longer received by a spouse. In order to claim the allowance, officers must notify the Finance Department at least 1 month prior to the start of the unpaid leave.
Returning to work after Maternity Leave
Those taking their full maternity leave entitlement will not be required to give notification to Personnel Administration of their intention to return to work, unless they wish to do so before the end of their additional maternity leave.
Returning to work before the end of additional Maternity Leave
Officers who intend to return to work before the end of additional maternity leave within 26 weeks will normally return to their previous job. Where this is not possible, they may return to an alternative post, but this would be on terms and conditions not less favourable than if they had not been absent.
Police officers can postpone their return date and give 21 days� notice again of the revised date.
The Force reserves the right to postpone a return to work by up to 4 weeks. If a return is postponed, officers will be notified in writing of the reason for the postponement and the date on which they should return. Rights under Regulation 36A are not affected.
For health and safety reasons, staff may have been required to change their duties while pregnant. For the same reason, staff may also be required to return to a different job for a short time on return to work.
If preferred, officers may have a phased return to work. This may include working reduced hours/days or flexible working for the first 28 days following a return to work.
Officers should follow the �Return to core policing� guidance to ensure any training and development needs are addressed on return to work.
Returning to work on Reduced Hours
Officers wishing to return to work on reduced hours should complete the appropriate form (available from Administration Sections) and submit this to their Area Commander as soon as possible. Whilst every request will be looked at sympathetically, the operational needs of the Force will take precedence.
Officers are advised to contact the pension section at Gateshead Council for details of how working reduced hours may affect a pension.
Failure to return to work
If a decision is made not to return to work, then Personnel Administration must be notified immediately.
Applying for other posts whilst on Maternity Leave
Officers can apply for and accept another post whilst absent on Maternity Leave.
All maternity leave, whether paid of unpaid, is regarded as service for the purpose of calculating annual leave.
Although annual leave is accrued during maternity leave, it cannot be taken during maternity leave. However, it may be taken either at the beginning or the end of the maternity leave.
Officers may carry forward 5 days into the next leave year.
If a decision is made not to return to work, leave entitlement will be a proportion of the full annual leave year calculated from 1 January to the last day of service.
Officers will continue to pay their pension contributions at the appropriate percentage whilst on PAID maternity leave.
Officers will have up to 6 months from their return to work following maternity leave to make contributions in arrears.
A maternity uniform is available from Supplies for both police staff and officers required to wear a uniform. Police officers may also wear plain clothes.
Court attendance during Maternity Leave
Officers on unpaid maternity leave will be regarded as being on duty and will be paid for and receive an appropriate allowance for the days attended at court.
Continuity of Service
The first 26 week of maternity leave are counted for the purposes of assessing pay progression, leave and probationary service for police officers. Additionally, maternity leave taken within the first 29 weeks of a baby being born will also be counted for officers with 26 weeks service at the 14th week before the EWC.