Policy: Parental Leave

In this article we run through our policy for parental leave and what procedures must be followed by the staff to qualify and register for their application for shared or single parent leave

Parental Leave: Maternity / Paternity

See new & expectant Mother’s Risk Assessment

This document summarises Hatching Dragons policy and procedures applicable to all pregnant staff.  The maternity policy is based upon statutory entitlements to Maternity Leave and payment of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).

In order for the nursery to correctly advise you, you must inform the Human Resources (HR) Manager of your expected date of childbirth.

Antenatal Care - Expectant mothers are entitled to reasonable time off to receive antenatal treatment

Expected Date of Childbirth - The dates associated with the calculation of Maternity Leave and SMP will be based on your expected date of childbirth and with reference to the date that you started working for the nursery.  The expected date of childbirth is given by the doctor, midwife or hospital towards the beginning of pregnancy.  It may change as the pregnancy progresses and you should keep the HR Manager aware of any alterations to this date

Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) – The EWC is stated as the week commencing on the Sunday in which the expected date of childbirth occurs

What is Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)?

SMP provides you with some money to help you to take time off before and after the birth of your baby and is paid by Hatching Dragons. SMP is earnings and Hatching Dragons will deduct tax and National Insurance

Do I Qualify?

To receive SMP you must have been:

  • Employed by the same employer without a break for at least 26 weeks into the 15th week before the week your baby is due. Part weeks count as full weeks
  • Earning on average an amount which at least equals the lower earnings limit which applies on the Saturday at the end of your qualifying week.  The lower earnings limit is the amount you have to earn before you are treated as paying National Insurance contributions. This is £112 a week if the end of your qualifying week is in the 2016-17 tax year

When does SMP start?

The earliest date that SMP can start is from the 11th week before the week your baby is due and the latest from the day following the birth. If you continue to work after the 11th week before the week your baby is due you can choose when you want your SMP to start. SMP will start from any day you choose, once you have stopped work to have your baby. This means that your SMP should start from the first day of your maternity leave. SMP usually starts when you take your maternity leave. It starts automatically if you’re off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week (Sunday to Saturday) that your baby is due.

Changes that will affect the start of SMP

The start of your SMP will change if:

  • baby is born before the start of the 11th week or before the start of your SMP pay period. If this happens SMP will start from the day following the birth of your baby
  • You are absent from work because of your pregnancy at the start of or in the 4 weeks before your baby is due, SMP will start from the day following the first complete day you are off work because of your pregnancy related reason
  • Your baby is born before your Maternity Pay Period (MPP) has started but after the 15th week before the week your baby is due, you must inform your employer within three weeks. Your MPP will start on the day following the day your baby is born.  If your baby is born early but after the start of your MPP, SMP will continue to be paid for 39 weeks from the date your MPP started
  • Even if your baby survives only for an instant it is a live birth and you will be entitled to SMP if you qualify for it.  If your baby is stillborn earlier than the 24th week of your pregnancy you will not be able to get any SMP, but you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).  You are entitled to SMP if your baby is stillborn from the 24th week of your pregnancy. To get payment you must give evidence of the birth to your employer. This will be notification for the registration of a stillbirth from the attending doctor or midwife, or a certificate of stillbirth from the registrar

If you are entitled to SMP and leave employment:

After the start of the 15th week before your baby is due but before the start of the 11th week – SMP will start from the beginning of the 11th week before the week your baby is due. At any time after the start of the 11th week before the week your baby is due and before the start of your maternity pay period, your SMP will start from the day after you left employment

How long is it paid for?

The important date for working out how long SMP can be paid for is the date your baby is due not when your baby is actually born. SMP is paid for a continuous period of up to 39 weeks.

How much will I receive?

SMP is paid for: First 6 weeks – 90% of your average weekly earnings with no upper limit. Remaining 33 weeks – at the lower of either the standard rate of £135.45, or 90 per cent of your average gross weekly earnings

How is SMP worked out?

To qualify for SMP your average weekly earnings must be at least equal to the lower earnings limit (LEL). The LEL that applies to you is the one which is current on the Saturday at the end of your qualifying week. The LEL changes every year. The LEL is £107 a week in the 2012-13 tax year. To calculate your average weekly earnings your employer will average your gross earnings over a period of at least eight weeks up to and including the last payday before the end of your qualifying week. The qualifying week is the 15th week before the week your baby is due. This period may vary depending on how often you are paid – weekly, monthly or other intervals

For working out SMP purposes, ‘pay’ means gross pay that is due to you before any deductions. Your employer will take into account your gross pay that you received in the set period, as long as it counts for National Insurance (NI) contributions (or would count if you earned enough or were old enough to pay NI contributions). If you get sick pay, overtime payments, bonus payments, arrears of pay or holiday pay this is all included to work out your SMP, if you actually get them in your set period. It is when you get paid the money that counts, not when it was actually earned

How do I claim?

You must tell Hatching Dragons when you want your maternity pay and leave to start. You should do this by the 15th week before your baby is due

You can change your mind about the date you wish your SMP to start but you must still give Hatching Dragons at least 28 days notice of the new date

You must provide Hatching Dragons with evidence of when your baby is due. This is normally on maternity certificate MATB1. The earliest that this certificate may be issued by your doctor or midwife is 20 weeks before the week in which your baby is due (around the 21st week of your pregnancy)

 You should normally give Hatching Dragons this evidence no later than 3 weeks after the date your SMP was due to start. Hatching Dragons cannot pay you SMP without this evidence

What else should I know?

If you leave your employment at any time after the start of the 15th week before the week your baby is due Hatching Dragons must pay SMP to you if you qualify for it.

If you do not intend to return to work for the employer paying SMP to you, you can still get SMP. You do not have to repay SMP if you decide not to return to work. If you cannot get SMP and have recently been employed you may be able to get Maternity Allowance from your local Jobcentre Plus.

Maternity Leave

If you are an employee you are entitled to 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave, followed by a further 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave.

What happens if Hatching Dragons says I do not qualify for SMP?

Hatching Dragons will tell you why they cannot pay SMP to you. They will give you form SMP1 explaining the reason. You may be able to get Maternity Allowance. You will need to send form SMP1 to your local Jobcentre Plus/social security office with your Maternity Allowance (MA) claim form.

I am already getting it, what happens if:

  1. I return to work for my employer for a day or a few weeks before the end of my SMP?

You can work up to ten days during your Maternity Pay Period (MPP) for the employer paying your SMP without losing your entitlement. These are called Keeping in Touch (KIT) days. Once you have worked for ten days and you do further work for that employer, you will lose SMP for each week in your MPP in which you do that work. Please note, if you work your tenth KIT day and do a further day’s work in the same week, you will lose SMP for that week. This is because you will have exceeded the ten day maximum in that week. In the MPP, a week means any period of seven days. For example, if your SMP started on a Thursday, a week will run from Thursday to Wednesday

  1.     I start work in a new job for another employer?

If you start work for a new employer before your baby is born, your SMP is not affected. After the baby is born, if you work for an employer who did not employ you in the 15th week before your baby was due, your SMP must stop. You must tell the employer paying you


During Maternity Leave, you will continue to be bound by the terms of your contract of employment.  Maternity Leave counts as continuous employment for the nursery. Should you require any clarification on any of the Maternity Leave policies, please contact the HR Manager direct.

Parental Leave

You may be entitled to 13 weeks’ (unpaid) parental leave as follows:

(a) If you are a parent of a child born or you have adopted a child on or after 15th December 1999.

(b) If you are the parent of a child entitled to a disability living allowance.  Special rules apply in each of the above cases. Please consult the Company Manager if you consider you meet any of the above criteria.

Paternity Leave/Pay

You will be entitled to choose to take either 1 week or 2 consecutive weeks’ paternity leave (not odd days) if you:

(a) Have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks prior to the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (‘EWC’) or by the week in which an Approved Adoption Agency matches you with a child.

  1. b) Continue to work for the Company from the 15th week before the EWC up to the date of the baby’s birth.

(c) You must have given notice of your intention to take the leave in or before the 15th week before EWC, specifying the EWC, length of period you have chosen to take and the date you have chosen the leave to begin which must be a date on or after the date your baby is born. Your leave must be completed within fifty six days of the actual date of birth of your baby, unless they are born earlier than expected, in which case you must take your leave between the birth and fifty six days from the first day of the expected week of  birth. You will be paid statutory paternity pay (SPP) for this leave at the standard rate or 90% of your average weekly earnings if this is less, provided that you have provided the Company with a completed self-certification form as evidence of your entitlement to SPP and have notified the Company at least 28 days before the commencement of your paternity leave.   A model self-certification form called “SC3 Becoming a Parent” is produced by H M Revenue and Customs and may be obtained on their website.

(d) Have or expect to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing and are either the biological father of the baby or are the mother’s husband or partner (which includes same-sex partners).

In respect of paternity leave where the child has been adopted, you must provide notification in writing of your intention to take leave in respect of a child no more than seven days after the date on which you are notified of having been matched with a child or if that is not reasonably practicable, as soon as is reasonably practicable. Certain information must be given. Please contact the Company for further information.

Adoption Leave Pay

If you are adopting a child and you meet certain qualifying conditions you have the right to take 26 weeks Ordinary Adoption Leave and the right to an additional 26 weeks of absence. Statutory  adoption pay is payable for up to 26 weeks at the standard rate set by the Government or 90% of your average weekly earnings if this is less.