These guidelines are for all employees of Falkirk Council to let you know about your rights and explain what maternity, adoption and surrogacy leave and pay is available. If you have any queries after reading these guidelines and the Family Leave Policy, please contact the HR Helpdesk:

  1. Table of contents

Maternity leave

Telling your manager that you're pregnant

You must tell your manager that you’re pregnant as soon as possible so that risk assessments can be carried out to assess your health and safety at work. If any adjustments are needed, this will only happen after it has been discussed with you.

If you have any concerns over your health, safety or welfare you should discuss this with your manager.

Time off for ante-natal care

You will be allowed reasonable time off with pay for ante-natal care including parentcraft classes and dental appointments. Your manager might need to see evidence of the appointments. Where possible, these appointments should be arranged out of working hours or to suit your department.

Applying for maternity leave and pay

You must tell your manager and HR about your intention to take maternity leave by the 15th week before your EWC, unless you’re not able to do this.

You must complete the application for maternity leave form and send it to the HR Helpdesk with a copy of your MATB1 so that your maternity pay and entitlements are processed. This can be sent by email or by post.

Maternity Application Form

Once we receive this, HR will send you a letter confirming your dates and entitlement.

You can’t start your maternity leave earlier than 11 weeks before your EWC (29 weeks pregnant) unless your baby is born before this date. The latest date you can start your leave is the day before the expected date of delivery. You must agree your maternity start date with your manager.

Term time employees

As a term time employee, you receive the same salary each month even though you do not work the same number of days each month, for example, you are off at Easter, Summer, October and Christmas. When starting and returning from maternity leave, an adjustment is made to ensure you have not been over or under paid for the holidays you have accrued until the point of starting or returning from maternity leave.

The salary adjustment will look at the working days you have completed and over how many months. You may have been overpaid for holidays depending on when you are starting maternity leave so the amount overpaid would need to be deducted from your salary before you are in receipt of SMP. Alternatively, you may have not been paid what you have accrued so far so may receive more pay in your first month of maternity leave.

The same process will be followed when returning from maternity leave.

The HR Helpdesk will be your point of contact for this, and they will provide advice and guidance when required. Please be aware that the HR Helpdesk cannot provide advice on this until you have provided your Mat B1 and application form.

Term time employees and holidays

You continue to accrue annual leave whilst on maternity leave. This calculation involves looking at your working days after you have started to be paid again and over how many completed months. This will determine how much annual leave you have accrued. Please be aware that you are not paid for 52 weeks of the year, so you do not accrue every day you have missed.

The HR Helpdesk will be your point of contact for this, and they will provide advice and guidance. The HR Helpdesk can only work out annual leave once your baby has been born.

Sick leave and maternity leave

If you are absent before the start of your maternity leave due to a non-pregnancy related sickness, your absence will be treated as sickness absence.

If you are absent from work for a pregnancy related reason in the 4 weeks before your EWC, your maternity leave will automatically start from that date. You or your manager should notify HR as soon as possible to ensure your pay can be amended.

We cannot pay you sick pay while you are receiving maternity pay.

If you are sick at the end of your paid 39 weeks, in certain circumstances, you may be entitled to statutory sick pay. This would be in line with the benefits agency regulations.

If you are unfit to return to work after your maternity leave has ended, you must follow the normal sickness absence reporting procedures.

Miscarriage / stillbirth

In the unfortunate circumstance that you miscarry, or your baby is stillborn, within the first 24 weeks of your pregnancy you will not be entitled to maternity leave or pay but you will be eligible for sick leave and pay.

If your baby is born but dies, or is stillborn, on or after the 25th week of your pregnancy you will be entitled to maternity leave and pay. You will be required to take compulsory maternity leave of 2 weeks.

Early birth

If your baby is born early, your maternity leave will start the day after your baby is born. Please contact HR and your manager as soon as possible to let them know that your baby has been born to allow your maternity leave and pay to be recalculated.

Notification of childbirth

You must notify HR of the actual date of birth of your child within 4 weeks.


Adoption leave

You must tell your manager and HR about your intention to take adoption leave within 7 days of being notified by the adoption agency that you have been matched with a child for adoption using the application form or as soon as possible after this.

Adoption Application Form

You must attach a matching certificate from the adoption agency and agree your adoption leave start date with your manager.

Once we receive this, HR will send you a letter confirming your dates and entitlement.


Surrogacy leave

You must tell your manager and HR about your intention to take surrogacy leave 28 days before you wish to start your surrogacy leave using the application form.

Surrogacy Application Form

You must provide us with a copy of the MATB1 which the birth mother will receive from their GP or midwife. You must agree your surrogacy leave start date with your manager.

You should also provide us with a copy of the parental order which you can apply for from the Sheriff Court.

Once we receive the necessary paperwork, HR will send you a letter confirming your dates and entitlement.

General information for all types of leave

Your maternity/adoption/surrogacy leave and pay will start after your last day worked. For example, if you finish work on the Wednesday your maternity leave will begin on the Thursday. You can change this date by giving 28 days written notice. HR will send you a letter confirming the latest date you are expected to return to work.

Flexible benefits

If you are currently a member of any flexible benefit scheme (including shared cost AVC's, childcare vouchers, cycle to work or purchased annual leave) you should contact the HR Helpdesk to discuss how your maternity leave affects this. More information on your options if you are in the childcare voucher scheme is detailed below.

Stay in the scheme

If you choose to continue to receive childcare vouchers (CCV’s) or SCAVC’s this will impact on your maternity pay (the calculation undertaken to determine maternity pay will be based on your salary minus your salary sacrifice amount, so maternity pay will be reduced). You will be able to continue to buy CCV’s or SCAVC’s while you are in receipt of OMP but these will be suspended when your pay drops to SMP rate or you are on unpaid maternity leave. If you do not restart your childcare vouchers within 12 months of your last salary deduction, you will no longer be able to participate in the scheme. You can restart your SCAVC’s at any time after your return to work.

Suspend your scheme membership

If you choose to suspend your CCV or SCAVC deductions your maternity pay will be based on your full salary. However, you will be unable to buy any more CCV’s or SCAVC’s from 28 weeks before your EWC until you return to work after your maternity leave. If you do not restart your childcare vouchers within 12 months of your last salary deduction, you will no longer be able to participate in the scheme. If this is your preferred option, you must advise the HR Helpdesk no later than 28 weeks before your EWC. You can restart your SCAVC’s at any time after your return to work.

Best start grant

The best start grant is 3 cash payments that you can apply for from the Scottish Government if you're a parent or a carer.

Return to work

You must inform HR of your return to work date by email to:

You cannot, in any circumstances, return to work within 2 weeks of childbirth.

You will be advised of your latest expected return date before going on maternity, adoption or surrogacy leave. If you choose to return to work before this date, you must give 8 weeks' notice (SJC & Craft)/ 28 days’ notice (Teachers) to HR to make sure you are paid correctly.

Not returning to work

If you decide, whether now or later, that you do not intend to return to work, you must give your contractual notice in writing.

SJC/Craft only - If you have received OMP/OAP or any allowances during your maternity, adoption or surrogacy leave you will have to repay these, unless you return to work for 3 months. You will not have to repay SMP/SAP.

Return to work when you have ended employment (maternity only)

If you have ended your employment due to pregnancy or childbirth, but in the unfortunate circumstances that your child does not live immediately after birth, you may be entitled to return to work. There is no right to return to the same post with the same grade and salary. You must provide a doctor’s statement stating that you are medically fit to return to work and give 8 weeks’ notice of when you want to return. A redeployment search will be carried out to identify any suitable vacancies.

Right to apply to work flexibly

You have the right to request to work flexibly. This may be returning on a part-time or job-share basis or changing the number or pattern of hours worked. Further information on the flexible working options within the Council can be found in the Flexible Working Policy.

You must provide at least 3 months notice using the application form in the policy. Any reasons for refusal will be provided in writing.

Breastfeeding

Falkirk Council is committed to supporting you if you wish to continue breastfeeding on your return to work. Please see the Breastfeeding Policy and speak to your manager or the HR Helpdesk to make arrangements.

Other leave options

Further details in relation to all leave options noted below are available in the Family Leave Policy.

Shared parental leave

This is designed to give parents/adopters more flexibility in how to share the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption. If you are eligible you can share up to 50 weeks leave and can decide to be off work at the same time and/or take turns to have periods of leave to look after your child. More information is available in How to apply for shared parental leave.

Parental leave

If you have a minimum of 1 year continuous service you are entitled to unpaid parental leave. This is a period of up to 18 weeks leave, which can be taken from the time your child is born until their 18th birthday. Parental leave must be agreed in advance with your manager and a maximum of 4 weeks parental leave can be taken in any one leave year. More information is available in the Family Leave Policy.