Section 03: Family Friendly Policies

3.1    Maternity policy


The following document sets out the Board's policy on maternity leave, maternity pay and other issues relating to pregnancy and maternity and gives details of the procedure that should be followed by employees, Line Managers and HR during your pregnancy and following the birth of your child.

This represents the law at the date of this policy and may have to be amended in the light of future changes to the law.

The policy is designed to be as comprehensive as possible. However, if you have any questions about the policy, please contact the HR Team.


It is the responsibility of all DBF employees and line managers to follow the procedural guidelines. It is the responsibility of line managers to –

  • facilitate time off in accordance with this procedure
  • discuss and agree level of contact/any keep in touch days prior to maternity leave commencing
  • maintain agreed contact with employees on maternity leave
  • Ensure that the HR team is kept up-to-date with any developments

It is the responsibility of the HR Team to provide advice and guidance on this policy and procedure

Time off for antenatal care

If you are pregnant, you are entitled to take paid time off during your normal working hours to receive antenatal care. This should be at times agreed with your line manager and preferably at the start or end of your working day.

You should advise your line manager that you will be absent as far in advance of your appointment as possible.

(1)        Maternity leave

All pregnant employees are entitled to 26 weeks’ Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) and an additional further 26 weeks’ Additional Maternity Leave (AML), regardless of length of service or hours worked, provided they comply with the notification requirements.

You are entitled to benefit from all your contractual terms and conditions – except for wages or salary – throughout the entire maternity leave period, i.e. during both OML and AML.

(2)       When does your maternity leave start?

You can choose to start your maternity leave at any time after the start of the 11th week before the week in which your child is due except in the following cases:

a)         If you are absent because of an illness related to your pregnancy at any time after the start of the 4th week before your child is due. You are required to start your maternity leave on the first day of that absence;

b)         If your child is born earlier than your planned date of starting maternity leave, then the maternity leave starts on the day the child is born. You should write as soon as possible to notify the Board, enclosing form MAT B1, unless you have already submitted this.

Note that if your child is stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy, you retain your maternity leave rights (and your right to statutory maternity pay (SMP), subject to the SMP rules stated below).

You must take at least two weeks' leave at the time of the birth (this is Compulsory Maternity Leave).

(3)       Notification requirements

At least 28 days before you start your maternity leave, you must give notice in writing, by completion of the ‘Application Form for Maternity Leave’. That notice must state:

that you are pregnant;

a)         the expected week of confinement (note that, for these purposes, a week begins on a Sunday);

b)         whether you intend to take ordinary maternity leave (OML) only or additional maternity leave (AML)

c)         the date your maternity leave will begin

You should enclose a form MAT B1 signed by your GP or midwife with your Application Form, unless this has been given to the Board earlier. The MAT B1 maternity certificate is available from your Doctor of Midwife after the 20th week of pregnancy.

You should forward your completed application form to the HR Team. Following receipt of your application form for maternity leave, you will receive confirmation of the length of maternity leave you are entitled to and expected date of return to work.

If you are unable to give 28 days' notice because you have to start your maternity leave sooner than you anticipated, provided that you give notice as soon as you can, you will not lose your right to take maternity leave.

(4)       Returning from maternity leave

a)         If you return to work at the end of your 26-week OML period, you need not formally notify the Board in advance of your return and you will return to work in the same job and terms and conditions that you left before you started your maternity leave. If, for health and safety reasons, you were doing a different job from your usual one while you were pregnant, you may be required to return to that different job for a short time if you are still at risk when you return to work.

b)         If you are returning from Additional Maternity Leave, you also have the right to return to the same job, unless this is not reasonable practicable. Should this be the case you will be offered a similar job on terms and conditions, which are no less favourable than you would have been entitled to had you not been absent.

c)         If you wish to return to work before the end of your additional maternity leave period, you must give 8 weeks advance written notice specifying the date of your return.

d)         If you cannot return to work because you are ill, you should notify the HR Team, who will advise you how much, if any, sick leave you are entitled to. Please note that, in some circumstances, if you cannot return to work at the appointed time, you could lose your right to return to work altogether.

e)         If you decide not to return to work at the end of your MLP, you must notify the HR Officer at once in writing of your decision.

(5)       Maternity pay (SMP)

To quality for SMP, you must have been continuously employed by the Board for 26 weeks up to any day in the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth., and you must give at least 28 days’ notice of when you would like the SMP to start (usually the same day as your Maternity Leave begins). Note that if your normal weekly earnings are less than the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions for the previous eight weeks, then you will not quality for SMP. If you do not quality for SMP, you may be entitled to claim Maternity Allowance. Your local Department for Work and Pensions office will be able to advise you how to claim this.

SMP is currently payable for a maximum of 39 weeks, for the first six weeks at 90% of your weekly earnings, followed by 33 weeks at either the statutory rate or at 90% of your weekly earnings, whichever is the lower. You will be given a statement of your exact entitlement when you start your maternity leave.

To claim SMP, you must give 28 days' notice in writing of your absence on maternity grounds and you must give the original MAT B1 form, not a photocopy, to the Finance Department. You can only receive SMP once you have stopped work.

Once you start your maternity leave, your maternity pay will be paid into your bank account on the same day that you would have received your salary, and will be subject to deductions for income tax and National Insurance.

If you do not qualify for SMP, we will give you form SMP1 detailing the reasons why. You should take this to your local Department for Work and Pensions Office as you may be entitled to receive Maternity Allowance.

(6)       Continuous Service

Both OML and AML count towards your period of continuous employment.

(7)       Holidays

You will continue to accrue holiday entitlement during both OML and AML. Annual leave must be taken in the year which it is accrued and cannot usually be carried over to the next holiday year. Prior to commencement on maternity leave, you must take at least the proportion of annual leave to which you are entitled up until the commencement of your maternity leave.

If you return to work on reduced hours, any annual leave entitlement whether or not carried over leave, is taken pro-rata on the basis of the hours being worked when the leave is actually taken.

(8)       Bank Holidays

Employees have no automatic right to take Bank Holidays that fall during maternity leave. Employees are entitled to take and be paid for any bank holidays which fall before or after the maternity leave period (pro-rata for part-timers).

(9)       Pension Contributions

Your Maternity Leave Period will be treated as pensionable service and the Board will therefore continue to make contributions on your behalf into the pension scheme based on your usual salary.

(10)     Health and Safety

If you are employed in a job that has been identified as posing a risk to your health or that of your unborn child, you will be notified immediately and arrangements will be made to eliminate that risk.

For this reason, you are required to notify your line manager as soon as you are aware that you may be pregnant. Arrangements will then be made to alter your working conditions or, if this is not possible, you will be offered a suitable alternative job for the duration of your pregnancy.

If there is no alternative work, the Board reserves the right to suspend you on full pay until you are no longer at risk.

These alternative arrangements may continue after the birth of your child if you are still considered to be at risk.

If you have any concerns about your own health and safety at any time, you should let your line manager know immediately.

(11)      ‘Keeping in touch’ days

Any employee on maternity leave (either OML or AML) can, with the agreement of the Board, attend work, training or any other work-related activity for up to 10 days during the maternity leave (this is not permitted in the period of Compulsory Maternity Leave). The employee will not lose any entitlement to SMP on the condition that the number of days does not exceed 10. The Board is not required to offer work and the employee is not obliged to accept work. The use of the 10 keeping in touch days does not extend the period of maternity leave.

The Board will pay the employee her normal rate of pay when attending work on these days.

The Board is entitled to maintain reasonable contact with its employees on maternity leave. Examples of such contact will include (but is not limited to) discussions of issues such as return to work, to keep you informed of developments in the workplace and of relevant vacancies / job opportunities.

3.2    Adoption leave


To quality for adoption leave you must:

  • Be an employee of the Board
  • You must satisfy the Board that you are the child's adopter by producing a Matching Certificate from the adoption agency and have agreed the date of adoption with the agency. Leave will be allowed for any new placement of children up to the age of 18 and will apply to individuals, married and unmarried couples, including same sex couples.

Duration of adoption leave

Eligible staff will be entitled to 26 weeks’ paid ordinary adoption leave and up to 26 weeks’ unpaid additional leave. The earliest date on which adoption leave can begin is 14 days before the expected date of placement. The latest date on which leave can begin is the date on which the child is placed.

Notification of adoption leave

You must notify the Board no more than 7 days after the date on which you are notified of having been matched with the child for the purposes of adoption, or as soon as

reasonably practicable after that date, of the date on which the child is expected to be placed with you, the amount of leave you wish to take and the date on which the leave will begin. If you are adopting a child from overseas please contact the HR Team for guidance.

Returning to work

You must give notice of the date the ordinary adoption leave period is to start. You are not required to give the Board notice of your intention to return at the end of the ordinary or additional adoption leave.

However the Board would contact you 21 days before the end of your ordinary adoption leave seeking confirmation of the date of adoption and whether it is your intention to return at the end of your ordinary adoption leave.

If you wish to return early you must give the employer 28 days’ notice.

Where you are returning from adoption leave as an isolated period, or where the adoption leave was the last of two or more consecutive periods of leave (that do not include, paternal leave of more than 4 weeks or additional adoption leave), you should be allowed to return to the job in which you were employed before your absence.

If you are returning from another period of leave, including additional adoption leave, you have the right to return to the job you had immediately before the first period of absence unless that is not reasonably practical. If it is not reasonably practical to return to the same job, you would be offered a suitable and appropriate job on no less favourable terms and with the same seniority, salary and pension rights etc.

Statutory adoption pay

To be eligible for Statutory Adoption Pay you must:

  • have been continuously employed by you for at least 26 weeks up to any day in the week you were matched with a child
  • be on the Board’s payroll and earn on averagefor the 8 weeks prior to this not less than the lower limit for the payment of National Insurance contributions
  • give 28 days’ notice before you want to be paid Statutory Adoption Pay, unless the time between the child being matched and placed is less than that.
  • provide proof of the adoption shown here:

Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks. The weekly amount is 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks, and the rate of SAP or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks. It’s paid in the same way as your salary and tax and National Insurance will be deducted.

3.3    Unpaid parental leave

All parents (biological or adoptive) will have a right to parental leave subject to the following conditions:

Conditions of Parental Leave

  • All parents with children under 18 years old will be entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave, taken in blocks of one week. This leave may not exceed a total of 4 weeks in any one year and may be taken at any time up to the child's 18th birthday. (This also applies to employees who have formal responsibility for a child e.g.: guardians);
  • To be eligible for parental leave you must have at least one year's service with a previous employer from 15 December 1998 or if not, you must have at least one years' service with the Board;
  • If you work part-time, the parental leave would be on a pro-rata basis;
  • Application for parental leave must be made in writing to your Line Manager;
  • You must give at least 21 days’ notice of your intention to take parental leave. 
  • You will not receive any payment for any parental leave taken;
  • Any part weeks taken count as whole weeks leave;
  • If any employee is returning from a parental leave break of 4 weeks or less than he/she is entitled to return to the job which he/she left before his/her absence. If, however, the leave period is 4 weeks or above, then he/she would return to his/her previous position, unless it is not reasonably practical. In which case he/she will undertake a position which is suitable and appropriate;
  • The Board has a right to postpone the leave where the operation of the Board's functions is unduly disrupted and employees can then take an alternative period in the next 6 months.

3.4    Paternity leave

A father may be granted up to 2 weeks' paternity leave which must be arranged via your immediate Manager subject to the following guidelines.


To quality for paternity leave, you must:

  • Have responsibility for the child's up-bringing, be the biological or adoptive father of the child or the mother's husband or partner (this includes same sex partners;
  • Have worked continuously for the Board for at least 26 weeks into the 15th week before the expected week of the child's birth (or “matching week” in the case of adoption).

The Board reserves the right to ask you to provide a self-certification as evidence that you meet the requirements.

Duration of paternity leave

Eligible staff can either take 1 or 2 weeks consecutive weeks' paternity leave, but not odd days. One period of leave only is allowed irrespective of whether it is a multiple birth. You can start your leave from the date of the baby's birth or from another date that you give notice of, as long as that date is after the birth.

The leave can start on any day of the week but must be completed within 8 weeks of the actual birth (or if the baby is born early, between the actual date of birth and up to 8 weeks after the expected week of the birth).

Notification of paternity leave

You must inform the HR Team in writing of your intention to take leave in or before the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. You must include in your letter:

  • The week the baby is due;
  • Whether you want to take 1 or 2 weeks leave;
  • When you want your leave to start.

Providing you give the Board at least 28 days’ notice in writing, you can change your mind about the start date for leave.

Returning to Work

Where you are returning from paternity leave as an isolated period, or where the paternity leave was the last of two or more consecutive periods of leave (that do not include, parental leave of more than 4 weeks or additional adoption leave), you should be allowed to return to the job in which you were employed before your absence.

Where you are returning from other periods of leave, you have the right to return to a job that is suitable and appropriate.

Statutory paternity pay

If you are eligible, Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) will be paid at the rate of SPP or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is the lower.

You must also earn on average for the 8 weeks period prior to this not less than the lower limit for the payment of National Insurance contributions.

3.5    Shared parental leave and pay

You and your partner may be able to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if you’re having a baby or adopting a child. You can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you. You need to share the pay and leave in the first year after your child is born or placed with your family. You can use SPL to take leave in blocks separated by periods of work, or take it all in one go. You can also choose to be off work together or to stagger the leave and pay.

To get SPL and ShPP, you and your partner need to give your employer at least 8 weeks’ written notice of your leave dates; and meet the eligibility critera. Please speak to the HR Team for further details.

3.6    Dependants care leave

The Employment Relations Act 1999 (ERelA) introduced a statutory right to unpaid dependants’ leave. The Act defines a ‘dependant’ and the ‘unexpected or sudden problems’ for which leave would be granted and these are detailed below.

You will be entitled to unpaid leave to deal with family emergencies (up to a maximum of 3 days).

Entitlements will be per employee’s leave year and pro rata for part-timers.

Employees using this provision must telephone their supervisor before 9.30 am or as soon as is reasonably practicable on the day. You must seek authority from your immediate line manager in such instances.

Employees are expected to use annual leave or TOIL (if available) in other situations, or at the discretion of the CEO, special/compassionate leave may be granted.

The definition of a ‘dependant’ emphasises the people you are close to rather than a particular blood relationship i.e.:-

  • Spouse/Partner
  • Child (including adopted or foster child)
  • Parent
  • Someone who lives with the employee (excluding lodgers, friends, flatmates etc).
  • Someone who reasonably relies on the employee for assistance.

Dependants Care Leave is for unforeseen matters, not where you know in advance that you are going to require time off. The situations covered by Dependants Care Leave are:-

  • Caring for a dependant who is ill, injured or assaulted. (Dependants Care Leave only applies where the employee accompanies dependants to doctor or hospital appointments for emergency visits and not to planned, routine visits).
  • Making arrangements for care of a dependant who is taken ill or injured.
  • Making new arrangements when there is an unexpected disruption or termination of care arrangements for the dependant. This would include the employee looking after their children when the normal childcare arrangements are disrupted.

3.7    Foster care leave

Employees who are foster carers are eligible to receive up to a maximum of 5 days leave per annum (pro-rata for part timers) for the purposes of training courses, statutory review, education and other meetings related to their foster care responsibilities. Leave must be authorised by their Line Manager. Dependants Care Leave will apply to Foster Carers.

3.8    Flexible working

The Board has a legal duty to consider applications for flexible working from employees. To be eligible you must have been employed by the Board for 26 weeks or more at the date the application is made.

How to apply for flexible working

You must make an application in writing to your Line Manager clearly stating:

  • The working arrangement you wish to have considered;
  • Whether you have made any previous application to the Board and if so, when;
  • The date of which you would like the change to become effective;
  • The effect that you think making the change would have on the Board and how you think such an effect might be dealt with.

Unless expressly agreed to be a temporary change, an accepted application will mean a permanent change to your terms and conditions of employment and therefore you should give careful consideration to:

  • Which working pattern will help you best
  • Any financial implications it might have on you in cases where the chosen working pattern will involve a drop in salary;
  • Any effects it will have on the Board and how these will be accommodated.

A meeting will be arranged within 28 days of receiving the request with your Line Manager and HR to:

  • Explore the desired work pattern in depth and discuss how it might best be accommodated whilst considering the needs of the Board;
  • Consider other alternative working patterns should there be problems in accommodating the desired work pattern outlined in the application.

You would have the right to be accompanied at this meeting with another employee of the Board.

Within 14 days after the date of the meeting the HR Team will write to you to either:

  • Agree a new working pattern and start date or
  • Provide clear grounds why the application cannot be accepted and the reasons why the grounds apply to the circumstances.

Should you wish to appeal against the decision made then you should appeal in writing to the CEO The appeal should be made clearly stating the grounds of the appeal within 14 days of the date on which the Board rejected the application.

Within 14 days of receiving the appeal, the CEO will arrange a meeting, hear your appeal and a decision will be confirmed to you in writing within 14 days of the appeal being heard.

If you are unhappy with the decision, you have the right to further appeal against the decision to the Chairman of the Board within 14 days of receiving written confirmation of our decision. Your letter must clearly state the grounds of your appeal. The Chairman will then hear your appeal and a decision will be confirmed to you in writing within 14 days of the appeal being heard.

The Chairman's decision is final and binding on both you and the Board.

Page last updated: Friday 22nd January 2021 11:20 AM
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