Part 2 Section 7

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PART 2: SECTION 7 - FAMILY LEAVE

FAMILY LEAVE

7.1.1 Family Leave encompasses the following family leave provisions

Maternity Leave (ML) and Pay (OMP/SMP) (Paragraphs 7.2.1 – 7.2.29)
Adoption Leave (AL) and Pay (OAP/SAP) (Paragraphs 7.3.1 – 7.3.23)
Shared Parental Leave (ShPL) and Pay (ShPP) (Paragraphs 7.4.1 – 7.4.20)
Surrogacy Leave (Paragraphs 7.5.1 – 7.5.9)
Maternity and Adoption Support Leave and Pay, incorporating Ordinary Leave and Pay (7.6.1 – 7.6.14)
Parental Leave (7.7.1 – 7.7.7)


For all Family Leave

7.1.2 Any previous employment (including probationary periods) with councils, employers listed in the Redundancy Payment (Local Government) (Modification) Order 1990 (as amended) and any other employment deemed by the council to be relevant, should be counted as continuous service (as defined in the Employment Rights Act 1996) subject to a gap in employment not exceeding one working week.


Keeping in Touch Days

7.1.3 During both ML, AL, ShPL and Surrogacy Leave the employee is allowed up to ten days at work with normal pay as Keeping In Touch Days, without bringing the leave period to an end. Normal pay will be an amount inclusive of SMP, SAP, Maternity Allowance, ShPP or Surrogacy Pay as appropriate. These days do not have to be consecutive and can be used for training or any other activity which enables the employee to keep in touch with the place of employment. Keeping In Touch Days can only be taken following agreement between the employer and the employee on both the activity and timing. The Code of Practice on Keeping In Touch Days Appendix 2.10 should be the basis for arrangements for such days.


Pension

7.1.4 The employer shall continue to make full pension contributions during the period of paid ML, AL, ShPL and Surrogacy Leave.


Right to Return to Work

7.1.5 An employee has the right to return from the periods of leave described in this Section to the post in which she/he was employed. This will be under the original contract of employment and on terms and conditions not less favourable than those which would have been applicable to her/him had she/he not been on maternity, adoption leave or paternity leave


7.1.6 Where it is not practicable, by reason of redundancy, for the council to permit the employee to return to work in her/his post, the employee is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists.


7.1.7 Suitable alternative employment may also be offered in exceptional circumstances other than redundancy (eg a general reorganisation) which would have occurred if the employee had not been on maternity, adoption leave or paternity leave, and where these circumstances necessitate a change in the post in which she/he was employed prior to her/his leave commencing.


7.1.8 A temporary employee will not have the right to return to work where her/his contract would have expired during the leave period but will be entitled to all other provisions in this Section, provided she/he meets the criteria (where these are stated).


Continuous Service

7.1.9 All periods of family leave count towards continuous service.


Maternity Leave

7.2.1 An employee is entitled to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave (ML), regardless of length of service. The 52 weeks comprises 26 weeks’ Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks’ Additional Maternity Leave.


7.2.2 ML can begin from a date not earlier than the 11th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC), unless childbirth has taken place prior to this. The period of ML may commence on any day of the week. During the ML period all the employee’s contractual terms and conditions, with the exception of remuneration, continue to apply.


Compulsory Maternity Leave

7.2.3 An employee is required to take compulsory maternity leave of 2 weeks starting the day on which childbirth occurs.


Maternity Pay

7.2.4 An employee with less than 26 weeks’ continuous service at the beginning of the 15th week before the EWC will have no entitlement to maternity pay. She may, however, be entitled to Maternity Allowance payable through the Department of Work and Pensions.


7.2.5 An employee with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service at the beginning of the 15th week before the EWC is entitled to be paid:

(a) Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP) and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) at the appropriate rate for the first 13 weeks. Taken together, these payments will be equal to the employee’s normal salary, and where eligible,
(b) SMP for the remaining 26 week period, provided that the employee’s average weekly earnings are not less than the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contribution liability.


7.2.6 Other than Keeping In Touch Days (as described in paragraph 7.1.3 above), when an employee returns to work before the full ML period then her entitlement to any balance of maternity leave and maternity pay ceases. The employee will receive her normal salary from the date of her return to work.


Notification of Start of Maternity Leave

7.2.7 To qualify for maternity leave and pay, an employee must notify the council in writing of:

(a) the fact that she is pregnant;
(b) the expected week of childbirth or the actual date of the birth, if this has already occurred; and
(c) the date she wishes ML to commence (the notified leave date).


7.2.8 The notification set out above must be given to the council not later than 21 days before maternity leave commences, or as soon as is reasonably practicable.


7.2.9 Confirmation of the pregnancy and expected date of childbirth should be given in the form of a maternity certificate (form MAT B1) from a registered medical practitioner or midwife.


Notification of Birth

7.2.10 An employee should notify the council, as soon as is reasonably practicable, of the date of the birth of her child.


Notification of Return from Maternity Leave

7.2.11 An employee who wishes to return to work earlier than the end of the ML period must give the council 28 days’ notice. If the appropriate notice is not given, the council may postpone her return for up to 28 days (but not to a date later than the end of the ML period).


7.2.12 No notification is required for an employee returning to work on the first working day following the end of the ML period.


Antenatal Care

7.2.13 A pregnant employee shall be allowed to take such reasonable time off, without loss of pay, as is required to attend for antenatal care, on production of evidence of appointments (if required by the council).


Antenatal Appointments for Qualifying Partners


7.2.14 Qualifying partners of expectant mothers have a statutory right to attend two antenatal appointments with the expectant mother. This time off is unpaid. While the statutory provisions allow for each appointment to be for a maximum of six and a half hours the time off request should normally be for a half day but, upon request, a longer period should be granted taking into account location and travel as well as the nature of appointment.


7.2.15 The Council is entitled to ask for evidence of a qualifying partnership which relates to:

a) The baby’s father;
b) The expectant mother’s spouse, her civil partner, or partner (of either sex) in an enduring relationship; and
c) Intended parents of a child in a surrogacy arrangement if they expect to be entitled to and intend to apply for a parental order in respect of that child.


7.2.16 The Council can also ask the individual to confirm in writing that:

• The existence of a qualifying relationship
• The request for time off to accompany the pregnant woman at an antenatal appointment
• The appointment is made on the advice of a GP, midwife or nurse


Stillbirth and Neonatal Death

7.2.17 In the event of a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, or neonatal death, an employee is entitled to maternity leave and pay provisions.


Sick Leave and Maternity Leave

7.2.18 Where an employee is absent before the start of the maternity leave period due to illness, the absence will be treated as sickness absence except when paragraph 7.19 below applies. This includes absence due to miscarriage (that is, prior to the 24th week of pregnancy).


7.2.19 If an employee is absent because of a pregnancy related illness, and there are fewer than four weeks before her baby is due, she will be deemed to have commenced ML.


7.2.20 Where an employee is unable to return to work after the ML period has ended, or on the date previously notified, due to sickness, the normal sickness notification and certification procedures as set out in Section 6 (Sickness Allowances and Notification Arrangements) apply.


Annual Leave – Maternity

7.2.21 Annual leave shall accrue during the period of ordinary and additional maternity leave.


7.2.22 A teacher or music instructor will accrue annual leave, in accordance with Section 5, paragraphs 5.3 to 5.5, during the period of her ML.


7.2.23 An education support officer, quality improvement officer or educational psychologist will accrue annual leave, in accordance with Section 5, paragraphs 5.12 to 5.15, during the period of her ML.


7.2.24 Maternity leave shall either fall within one leave year or span two leave years. Statutory leave must be provided by the council and must be taken by the employee for each leave year spanned by the period of maternity leave.


7.2.25 An employee on maternity leave which spans two leave years shall receive at the end of the first leave year a statement which notifies: the leave taken to the commencement of the maternity period and the leave accrued during the maternity period in that leave year (contractual entitlement minus leave taken). The balance to be carried forward into the next leave year.


7.2.26 When an employee has notified the council of the intended date of return, the council will issue a statement of the employee’s annual leave entitlement effective at that date, including any balance of statutory leave which will require to be taken.


7.2.27 On return from maternity leave the employee shall take any remaining statutory leave in that leave year. Where it is not practicable to take that leave in full or in part any balance will be carried forward into the next leave year but must be taken as leave. The timing of this leave shall take account of the needs of the service and,

(a) in the case of teachers and music instructors, should normally be taken in the term in which the return to work takes place, or within the following term; or
(b) in the case of education support officers, quality improvement officers and educational psychologists, should normally be taken as soon as possible following the return to work.


7.2.28 The balance of annual leave, in excess of statutory leave, accrued during the period of maternity leave shall be taken following the end of the maternity leave period. The timing of this leave is subject to the overriding needs of the service and,


(a) in the case of teachers and music instructors, the accrued leave can be directed to be taken during the days of school closure, with payment to be arranged in accordance with Section 5, Paragraph 5.7 above with any remaining leave to be taken in the term in which the return to work takes place, or within the following term; or
(b) in the case of education support officers, quality improvement officers and educational psychologists, should normally be taken as soon as possible following the return to work.


7.2.29 Where an employee gives written notice to the council that she does not intend to return to work at the end of her ML period, the council will make a payment in lieu of leave accrued during the ML period. This is in accordance with the provisions in Section 5, Paragraph 5.8.


Adoption Leave

7.3.1 An employee is entitled to 52 weeks of Adoption Leave (AL) regardless of length of service. The 52 weeks comprises 26 weeks’ Ordinary Adoption Leave and 26 weeks’ Additional Adoption Leave.


7.3.2 The AL may begin:

(a) from the date of the child’s placement; or
(b) from a fixed date up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.


7.3.3 Where more than one child is placed as part of the same adoption arrangement, only one period of leave will be granted.


7.3.4 Where a couple jointly adopts a child, the couple must choose one person to take the adoption leave.


Adoption Pay

7.3.5 An employee who has less than 26 weeks’ continuous service, prior to the week in which she/he is notified of being matched with a child for adoption, is entitled to 52 weeks’ AL without pay.


7.3.6 An employee who has 26 weeks’ continuous service prior to the week in which she/he is notified of being matched with a child for adoption will be entitled to be paid:

(a) Occupational Adoption Pay (OAP) and Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) for the first 13 weeks. Together, these payments will equal the employee’s normal salary; and
(b) SAP for the next 26 weeks, provided that the employee’s average weekly earnings are not less than the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contribution liability.


7.3.7 Other than Keeping In Touch Days (as described in paragraph 7.1.3 above), when an employee returns to work before the full AL period then her/his entitlement to any balance of adoption leave and adoption pay ceases. The employee will receive her/his normal salary from the date of her/his return to work.


Notification of Start of Adoption Leave

7.3.8 An employee must inform the council in writing of her/his intention to take AL within 7 days of being notified by their adoption agency that they have been matched with a child for adoption (where this is reasonably practicable).


7.3.9 Such notification must include:

(a) the expected date of placement;
(b) the date on which they intend to start their adoption leave; and
(c) a matching certificate from the adoption agency.


7.3.10 An employee who wishes to change the date on which her/his adoption leave starts must give the council 28 days’ written notice, where this is reasonably practicable.


7.3.11 The council will respond in writing, within 28 days, to an employee’s notification to change the start date of adoption leave and will also state the latest date on which the employee is expected to return to work. Notification of Return from Adoption Leave


7.3.12 An employee who wishes to return to work prior to the end of the adoption leave period must give the council 28 days’ notice. If the appropriate notice is not given, the council may postpone her/his return for up to 28 days, or to the end of the adoption leave period if this is earlier.


Pre-adoption Meetings

7.3.13 Paid time off is allowed for up to 5 adoption appointments for the main adopter and up to 2 for the secondary adopter.


Termination of Placement

7.3.14 Where the adoption placement ends, for any reason, during the adoption leave, the employee will notify the council. Where the adoption placement ends within the first 26 weeks of AL the employee will be entitled to remain absent from work until the end of the 26 week period. Where the adoption placement ends after the 26th week of AL the employee will be entitled to remain absent on AL for up to 8 weeks after the end of the placement or until the end of the AL period, whichever is sooner. Notification of the intended date of return should be given in accordance with paragraph 7.3.12 above.


Annual Leave – Adoption

7.3.15 Annual leave shall accrue during the period of ordinary and additional adoption leave.


7.3.16 A teacher or music instructor will accrue annual leave, in accordance with Section 5, paragraphs 5.3 to 5.5, during the period of her/his AL.


7.3.17 An education support officer, quality improvement officer or educational psychologist will accrue annual leave, in accordance with Section 5, paragraphs 5.12 to 5.15, during the period of her/his AL.


7.3.18 Adoption leave shall either fall within one leave year or span two leave years. Statutory leave must be provided by the council and must be taken by the employee for each leave year spanned by the period of adoption leave.


7.3.19 An employee on adoption leave which spans two leave years shall receive at the end of the first leave year a statement which notifies: the leave taken to the commencement of the adoption period and the leave accrued during the adoption period in that leave year (contractual entitlement minus leave taken). The balance to be carried forward into the next leave year.


7.3.20 When an employee has notified the council of the intended date of return, the council will issue a statement of the employee’s annual leave entitlement effective at that date, including any balance of statutory leave which will require to be taken.


7.3.21 On return from adoption leave the employee shall take any remaining statutory leave in that leave year. Where it is not practicable to take that leave in full or in part any balance will be carried forward into the next leave year but must be taken as leave. The timing of this leave shall take account of the needs of the service and,

(a) in the case of teachers and music instructors, should normally be taken in the term in which the return to work takes place, or within the following term; or
(b) in the case of education support officers, quality improvement officers and educational psychologists, should normally be taken as soon as possible following the return to work


7.3.22 The balance of annual leave in excess of statuory leave accrued during a period of adoption leave leave shall be taken at the end of the adoption leave period, following the employee’s return to work. The timing of this leave is subject to the overriding needs of the service and,

(a) in the case of teachers and music instructors, the accrued leave can be directed to be taken during days of school closure, with payment to be arranged in accordance with Part 2, Section 5, paragraph 5.7 above, with any remaining leave to be taken in the term in which the return to work takes place, or within the following term; or
(b) in the case of education support officers, quality improvement officers and educational psychologists , should normally be taken as soon as possible following the return to work.


7.3.23 Where an employee gives written notice to the council that she/he does not intend to return to work at the end of the AL period, the council will make a payment in lieu of leave accrued during the adoption leave period. This is in accordance with the provisions in Part 2, Section 5, Paragraph 5.8


Eligibility for shared parental leave

7.4.1 For employees to be eligible to take shared parental leave, both partners must meet certain eligibility requirements. A partner is defined as: The father of the child, or the person who, at the date of the child’s birth, is married to, the civil partner of, or the partner of the mother. A partner may be someone of either gender, who lives with the mother and the child in an enduring family relationship but who is not the mother’s child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.


Mother's eligibility for Shared Parental Leave (ShPL)

The mother is eligible for shared parental leave if she:

• has at least 26 weeks' continuous employment ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth and remains in continuous employment with the organisation until the week before any period of shared parental leave that she takes;
• has, at the date of the child's birth, the main responsibility, apart from the partner, for the care of the child;
• is entitled to statutory maternity leave in respect of the child; and
• complies with the relevant maternity leave curtailment requirements (or has returned to work before the end of statutory maternity leave), and shared parental leave notice and evidence requirements.


Adopter’s Eligibility for Shared Parental Leave (ShPL)

The person taking adoptive leave, as set out in Paragraphs 7.3.1-7.3.4 above, is eligible for shared parental leave if she:

• has at least 26 weeks' continuous service prior to the week in which she/he is notified of being matched with a child and remains in continuous employment with the organisation until the week before any period of shared parental leave that she takes;
• has, at the date of the child's birth, the main responsibility, apart from the partner, for the care of the child;
• is entitled to statutory adoption leave in respect of the child; and
• complies with the relevant adoption leave curtailment requirements (or has returned to work before the end of statutory adoption leave), and shared parental leave notice and evidence requirements.


Surrogate’s Eligibility for Shared Parental Leave (ShPL)

The person taking surrogacy leave, as set out in Paragraph 7.5.8 below, is eligible for shared parental leave:

• has at least 26 weeks' continuous service prior to the weeks in which she/he receives the child and remains in continuous employment with the organisation until the week before any period of shared parental leave that she takes;
• has, at the date of the child's birth, the main responsibility, apart from the partner, for the care of the child;
• is entitled to Family Leave in respect of the child; and
• complies with the relevant leave curtailment requirements (or has returned to work before the end of Family Leave), and shared parental leave notice and evidence requirements.


7.4.2 In addition, for the mother to be eligible for shared parental leave, the partner must:

• have been employed or been a self-employed earner in at least 26 of the 66 weeks immediately preceding the expected week of childbirth;
• have average weekly earnings of at least the maternity allowance threshold [currently £30] for any 13 of those 66 weeks; and
• have, at the date of the child's birth, the main responsibility, apart from the mother, for the care of the child.


Partner's eligibility for Shared Parental Leave (ShPL)

7.4.3 The partner is eligible for shared parental leave if he/she:

• has at least 26 weeks' continuous employment ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth and remains in continuous employment with that employer until the week before any period of shared parental leave that he/she takes;
• has, at the date of the child's birth, the main responsibility, apart from the mother, for the care of the child; and
• complies with the relevant shared parental leave notice and evidence requirements.


7.4.4 In addition, for the partner to be eligible for shared parental leave, the mother, primary carer in adoption or chosen person in surrogacy (set out in paragraph 7.5.5 below)must:

• have been employed or been a self-employed earner during at least 26 of the 66 weeks immediately preceding the expected week of childbirth;
• have average weekly earnings of at least the maternity allowance threshold [currently £30] for any 13 of those 66 weeks;
• have, at the date of the child's birth, the main responsibility, apart from the partner, for the care of the child;
• be entitled to statutory maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance in respect of the child; and
• comply with the relevant maternity leave or pay curtailment requirements (or have returned to work before the end of statutory maternity leave).


Notification for Shared Parental Leave (ShPL)

7.4.5 Before either parent can take shared parental leave the mother must give the Council:

(i) A leave curtailment notice which sets out the date on which she intends to bring her maternity leave to an end.
(ii) A declaration stating that her partner has given his or her notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave and that she consents to her partner taking that amount of leave.
(iii) A notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave. This notice should set out how much shared parental leave the parents or partners each intend to take, subject to para 7.4.10 below.


7.4.6 The mother must provide the leave curtailment notice (as set out in (i) and the declaration as set out in (ii)) no less than 8 weeks before the start of the first period of shared parental leave. This can be waived in event of premature birth.


7.4.7 The employee, whether the mother or her partner, must give the employer a notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave no less than 8 weeks before the start of her or his period of shared parental leave. The mother must take two weeks maternity leave after the birth of a child. This 2 weeks cannot be transferred.


7.4.8 The Council, on receiving notice from an employee that he or she intends to share parental leave, should/can request (i) a copy of the child’s birth certificate and the name and address of the employee’s partner’s employer or (ii) a notification of adoption or (iii) a copy of the surrogacy certificate.


7.4.9 The Council can only contact the partner’s employer to check whether the partner is entitled to shared parental leave with the express consent of the employer’s partner. If only one partner is eligible for Shared Parental Leave that person is entitled to use discontinuous leave in separate blocks provided the other partner meets certain criteria, based on the same test as maternity allowance, viz

(i) Must have worked in an employed or self-employed capacity in at least 26 of the 66 weeks immediately before EWC.
(ii) Earned an average of at least £30 per week based on any of the 13 weeks (prescribed average weekly earnings).


7.4.10 Discontinuous leave can be requested for shared parental leave. The minimum block of time for a teacher or associated professional is normally 4 weeks and the employee should set out the pattern of discontinuous leave requested. The Council should have a stated procedure for considering requests and should arrange a meeting within 10 working days to discuss any requests received. The Council can decline to agree a discontinuous leave request. However, they should arrange for any challenge to discontinuous leave being declined to be dealt with timeously through an appeals procedure, in keeping with the appeals mechanism which applies locally to deal with flexible working appeals.


7.4.11 Once a mother has given notice to curtail maternity/adoption leave and either parent has informed their employer of their entitlement to take ShPL then the notice to end maternity leave is binding and cannot be withdrawn unless

(i) Within eight weeks of the mother submitting notice to end their maternity/adoption leave it transpires neither parent qualifies for Shared Parental Leave or Shared Parental Pay; or
(ii) When notice was given before birth, it may be withdrawn without a reason up to six weeks following the birth; or
(iii) The mother’s partner dies.


7.4.12 In the circumstances above it is open to the mother to formally revoke the curtailment of leave. This must be in writing and can be given only if the mother has not returned to work.


7.4.13 It is open to partners to vary the leave allocation between them at any stage. To vary an agreed allocation, each partner must notify her/his employer in writing of the following:

(i) Details of the original agreed allocation of leave
(ii) A formal request to change the allocation and to vary any booked leave
(iii) Details of the proposed allocation


7.4.14 Both partners must sign the variation and present notice of variation to each employer. A partner may choose to start a period of parental leave on the day of the child’s birth or adoption or when the mother is on maternity or adoption leave. In these circumstances, however, the leave curtailment notice must still be provided, indicating the distribution of leave between the partners.


7.4.15 Employees can make a maximum of three requests for leave or to vary leave per pregnancy, adoption placement or surrogacy arrangement.


Shared Parental Pay

7.4.16 A partner who has previously taken a period of Shared Parental Leave (ShPL) in respect of a child will not be entitled to take ordinary Paternity Leave (PL).


7.4.17 A mother who would otherwise qualify for occupational maternity pay, in accordance with paragraph 7.2.5 above will be entitled to the same allowance as maternity pay allowance, subject to:

(i) In keeping with paragraph 7.2.3 above the first two weeks of OMP is not transferable
(ii) The entitlement to 11 weeks OMP and SMP equal to the mother’s normal pay is not transferable to the partner.


7.4.18 A partner will be entitled to share SMP (as Shared Parental Pay) and has no entitlement to OMP.


Keeping In Touch

7.4.19 During ShPL any employee is entitled to take SPLIT days (Shared Parental Leave in Touch Days) up to a maximum of 20 days for each parent. The number of days available shall be in consultation with the employer. SPLIT days will not bring any period of Shared Parental Leave to an end. These days do not have to be consecutive and can be used for training or any other activity that enables the employee to maintain reasonable contact with the place of work and shall be organised in accordance with Appendix 2.10.


7.4.20 SPLIT days are separate and additional to any KIT days provided for women on maternity leave as set out in paragraph 7.1.3 of the Handbook, SPLIT days, taken by Council employees, shall be paid at the normal contractual daily rate.


Surrogacy Leave

7.5.1 Parents who receive a child following a surrogacy arrangement apply to the Sheriff Court for a Parental Order. The application can only be made after the child is six weeks old and before the child is 6 months old.


7.5.2 A copy of the Parental Order should be provided to the employer to confirm Parenthood. It is recognised that the Family Leave may have commenced before this event.


7.5.3 The intended parent should provide the Council with a copy of the Mat B1 which the birth mother obtains from their GP or midwife at around 26 weeks before the baby is due. This would provide the employer with notice if the impending birth and date the Family Leave is to commence.


7.5.4 Notice to take Family Leave should be no less than 28 days’ written notice.

The leave may begin:

(a) from the date of the child’s placement, or
(b) from a fixed date up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.


7.5.5 The couple must choose one person to take the Family Leave.


7.5.6 An employee is entitled to 52 weeks Family Leave regardless of length of service.


7.5.7 An employee who has less than 26 weeks continuous contractual service, prior to the week in which she/he received the child, is entitled to 52 weeks’ Family Leave without pay.


7.5.8 An employee who has 26 weeks continuous service prior to the weeks in which she/he received the child will be entitled to be paid:

(a) 13 weeks at normal salary and
(b) 26 weeks at a sum equivalent to Statutory Adoption Pay.


7.5.9 Annual leave shall accrue in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 5.3 to 5.5.


Maternity and Adoption Support Leave and Pay

7.6.1 Support Leave of one week with normal pay will be granted to the spouse or partner or nominated carer of an expectant mother or of someone taking adoption leave at or around the time of birth or placement. The nominated carer is the person nominated by the mother or the person taking adoption leave to assist in the care of the child and to provide support to her/him.


7.6.2 Maternity Support Leave and Adoption Support Leave can be taken:

(a) from the date of the child’s/children’s birth or placement for adoption; or
(b) from another date after the child’s/children’s birth or placement for adoption.

This is subject to paragraphs 7.6.8 to 7.6.11 below, Ordinary Paternity Leave and Pay.


Ordinary Paternity Leave and Pay


7.6.3 In addition to the maternity support leave described above, an employee who is the spouse or partner of an expectant mother (and who has at least 26 weeks’ continuous service at the start of the 15th week before the baby is due) is entitled to a further week’s Ordinary Paternity Leave (OPL).


7.6.4 In addition to the adoption support leave described above, an employee who is the spouse or partner of a person taking adoption leave and who has at least 26 weeks’ continuous service at the start of the notification week is entitled to a further week’s OPL.


7.6.5 OPL can be taken:

(a) from the date of the child’s/children’s birth or placement for adoption; or
(b) from another date after the child’s/children’s birth or placement for adoption.


7.6.6 Leave can start on any day of the week, but must be taken within 56 days of the actual birth or placement date. If the birth is early, leave must be taken within the period from the actual date of the birth up to 56 days after the expected week of birth.


7.6.7 An employee who is on OPL shall receive Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP).


7.6.8 An employee who wishes to take OPL must inform the council of her/his intention to take paternity leave by the 15th week before the week in which the child is expected (where reasonably practicable). In the case of adoption, employees must inform their employers of their intention to take paternity leave within 7 days of the employee being notified by their adoption agency that they have been matched with a child/children, unless this is not reasonably practicable. He/she must state in writing:

(a) the expected week of childbirth or date of placement for adoption; and
(b) when they want the leave to start.


7.6.9 There can only be one period of leave. Where an employee elects to take 2 weeks’ leave, these must be consecutive. Where an employee elects to take only 1 week of leave then this will be taken as a complete week of leave. The first week will be support leave and paid at full pay while the second week will be ordinary paternity leave and SPP will be paid. Where paternity leave is before and during a period of annual leave or school closure period, the paternity leave comes first and the whole period of annual leave and any unpaid leave follows.


7.6.10 The employee shall accrue annual leave, in accordance with Section 5, Annual Leave, during the leave period. This leave should be taken following the employee’s return to work. The timing of this leave is subject to the overriding needs of the service and,

(a) in the case of teachers and music instructors, the accrued leave can be directed to be taken during the days of school closure, with payment to be arranged in accordance with Part 2, Section 5, paragraphs 5.7 above; or
(b) in the case of education support officers, quality improvement officers and educational psychologists, should normally be taken as soon as possible following the return to work.


7.6.11 Employees may alter the date on which their leave starts by giving 28 days’ notice in writing, where this is reasonably practicable.


7.6.12 Only one period of leave is available to employees, irrespective of whether more than one child is placed for adoption or in the case of multiple births.


7.6.13 An employee shall be entitled to the above provisions in circumstances where the child is stillborn after 24 weeks or has died or where the child’s mother has died within the period of leave.


7.6.14 The ordinary paternity leave and pay provisions allow for up to 2 weeks’ OPL and SPP for employees who meet the criteria. The provisions above provide for normal pay for the first week and SPP for the second week. In the first week SPP is offset against normal pay.


Parental Leave

7.7.1 Parental leave is a right for all employees who are parents, and who have at least 1 year’s continuous service, to take time off work to look after or make arrangements for their child’s welfare. Parental leave is unpaid.


7.7.2 Employees are entitled to 18 weeks in total for each child and adopted child.


7.7.3 This leave can be taken up until the child's 18th birthday.


7.7.4 Parental leave must be taken in week blocks or multiples of one week except where the employer agrees otherwise or if the child is disabled. Parents of a disabled child can take parental leave in multiples of one day.


7.7.5 Up to 4 weeks’ parental leave can be taken in any calendar year.


7.7.6 The council may postpone parental leave for up to 6 months but not in the case of leave required following the birth or adoption of a child. Postponement can only take place if the absence would unduly disrupt the Service. Notification of postponement arrangements should be issued to the employee no later than seven days following the employee’s notice to take leave.


7.7.7 Employees are entitled to return to their job following a period of parental leave.

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