Maternity Leave Guide
This guide is intended to help Trainees who take maternity leave during their GP Training.
Who to advise and when
It is advisable to inform your Clinical Supervisor/Trainer and Manager as soon as you find out you are pregnant, but not later than the 20thweek of your pregnancy. Your Clinical Supervisor/Trainer should organise a pregnancy risk assessment. You may require further assessments as your pregnancy progresses depending on your health and where you are working. If you are in a hospital post, this assessment will usually be undertaken by a Deputy Directorate Manager or Service Manager within the department. If you are in Primary Care your Practice Manager will advise who should undertake this assessment.
Generally speaking the risk assessment must take account of the following:
· Manual Handling
· Work Station Layout
· Hazardous Substances
· Rest Facilities
· Contact with infectious diseases
An Occupational Health referral may be appropriate if there are any concerns raised at the risk assessment.
From a rotation planning perspective we advise that you inform the GP Specialty Training Scheme as soon as you feel happy to do so. Please contact Lou Wilcox, GP Scheme Admin Assistant to arrange an appointment with Dr Nicola Gill, TPD. The purpose of this meeting is to provide you with support in planning your maternity leave, to identify any changes which need to be made to your rotation and to facilitate your return to training (RTT) following your maternity leave.
Legally you must notify your employer, in writing, before the end of the 15thweek before your expected date of childbirth. You can choose when to start your maternity leave and this can be any date from the beginning of the 11thweek before your baby is due to be born.
You are entitled to reasonable paid time off to receive antenatal care, this includes travel time.
All pregnant employees, regardless of their length of service in the NHS, are entitled to a period of 52 weeks maternity leave. This is made up of:
26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave (OML) and:
26 weeks of additional maternity leave (AML), beginning the day after OML finishes.
Doctors in training on the 2016 Terms & Conditions need to refer to Section 15 ‘Maternity Leave and Pay’ of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook, available on the NHS Employers website:
Section 15 contains all of the information you need to work out your eligibility for maternity pay. It is important to note that there are different qualifying periods for Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP) and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).
Eligibility for NHS Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP):
· Employees must have 12 months continuous service with the NHS by the eleventh week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC) and:
· Intend to return to work in the NHS for a minimum of 3 months
Eligibility for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP):
Employees must have 26 weeks continuous service with their current employer by the beginning of the fifteenth week before the expected week of childbirth. The rate of SMP as at October 2017 is £140.98 per week.
Eligibility for Maternity Allowance (MA):
If you are a GP Trainee who is rotating through different employers it is unlikely that you will meet the qualifying period for SMP. SMP is based on continuous service with your current employer not your continuous service with the NHS. If you do not qualify for SMP you need to apply for Maternity Allowance (MA), which is the same weekly rate as SMP but is paid through Jobcentre Plus. Your employer should inform you if you do not qualify for SMP and advise you how to apply for MA, further information can be found here:
If you qualify for OMP and SMP/MA, your pay breakdown should be as follows:
|8 weeks||Full pay less any SMP or MA|
|18 weeks||Half pay plus the flat rate of SMP or MA|
|13 weeks||Flat rate SMP or MA|
|Remaining 13 weeks||Unpaid leave|
Following discussion your employer should confirm in writing:
· Your paid and unpaid maternity entitlements.
· Your expected return date (based on 52 weeks paid and unpaid entitlement).
· The length of any period of accrued annual leave which it has been agreed may be taken following the end of formal maternity leave.
· The need for you to give at least 28 days’ notice if you wish to return to work before your expected return date.
Taking accrued annual leave prior to maternity leave
It is advisable to take any accrued annual leave prior to commencing your maternity leave.
Keeping in Touch (KiT) days
KiT days are intended to help you maintain confidence and facilitate a smooth return to work after maternity leave.
You are entitled to work up to a maximum of ten KIT days without bringing your maternity leave to an end. KIT days will not extend your maternity leave period.
KIT days can be consecutive and can include training or other activities which enable you to keep in touch with the workplace. KIT days must be agreed in advance with your employer.
You will be paid at your basic daily rate for the hours worked; less appropriate maternity leave payment for KIT days worked. Working for part of any day will count as one KIT day.
Many GP Trainees find attending Half or Whole Day Release as a KIT day beneficial and a good way to catch up with colleagues. This would need to be agreed with your employer in advance.
Study Leave (whilst on Maternity Leave)
The HEE curriculum delivery policy states the below:
“Trainees on Maternity/Sick Leave - It is not expected that Trainees that are absent from work on sick leave or maternity leave would apply for leave. If it is part of a Trainees ‘keep in touch’ scheme or part of the LEP policy for phased ‘return to work’ expenses will be reimbursed. These details should be clearly marked on applications, which should be submitted as described below.” The link to the HEE policy is below:
You will only require an ARCP once you have returned to work. The ARCP date will be set to review a year of time in training. A Non Assessment Form will be completed while you are on maternity leave.
Your CCT date will change after you return to training. The date we give you at this point is provisional and may change if you take additional TOOT (time out of training).
Return to Training (RTT)
Prior to your return to work you should have return to training (RTT) meeting with Dr Nicola Gill, TPD. This can be arranged through Lou Wilcox and can be any time after your baby is born but no less than four months before you intend to return to work.
As part of your RTT meeting, and in line with the HEE RTT Scheme a phased return to work may be agreed. This phased return period will not count towards your training.
Your Return to Work (RTW) date is different from your Return to Training (RTT) date. During maternity leave (both paid and unpaid) you will accrue annual leave and public bank holidays. These will need to be taken at the end of your maternity leave prior to returning to training. You will need to contact your employer to agree the amount of annual leave you have accrued during your maternity leave and agree the date you wish to end your maternity leave and then the date you actually return to training. The period in-between will be your annual leave. You will end your maternity leave and officially return to work but will be on annual leave. Accrued annual leave is paid is your normal hourly rate including any pay increments and is based on the hours you were employed at the time you commenced maternity leave. For example if you were full time but are returning Less Than Full Time your annual leave should be calculated on your full time hours and your LTFT hours will begin following your accrued annual leave on your RTT date.
Less Than Full Time Training (LTFTT)
You may apply to Health Education England Yorkshire and Humber to request to work LTFT.
You are advised to apply a minimum of 3 months before you intend to commence LTFT.
In ST1 & ST2 LTFT working is usually at 50% of full time. In ST3 you can apply to work at 50% or 60% of full time. You can’t train less than 50% of full time.
Working LTFTT is not the same as flexible working, i.e. you have to fit in with the start/finish times of the team in hospital or GP and have to be in the Practice on specific days to ensure you have at least 50% overlap of work time with your trainer. We advise that you contact your Trainer at the earliest opportunity to discuss and agree your working hours and days.
Hospital posts for LTFT trainees will usually be in slot shares of full time posts.
RCGP and ePortfolio requirements for evidence are pro rata.
LTFT Trainees are not allowed to do any other work outside of their training post (i.e. no locum work).
You are expected to give as much notice as possible, usually a minimum of 3 months, if you decide to return to full time training.
Study leave and annual leave entitlements are pro rata.
LTFT Attendance expectations at GP Teaching (HDR & WDR)
ST1 & ST2 LTFT 50% in hospital posts to attend all Whole Day Release (WDR).
ST1 & ST2 LTFT 50% in GP – attend the equivalent of one full day teaching per month, this could be mixture of WDR or HDR sessions to be decided by the Trainee.
ST3 LFTF 50%/60% - to attend HDR on a pro rata basis.
Employers are required to undertake a risk assessment and to provide breastfeeding women with suitable private rest facilities. The Health and Safety Executive Guidance recommends that employers provide:
· a clean, healthy and safe environment for women who are breastfeeding;
· suitable access to a private room to express and store milk in an appropriate refrigerator
We strongly advise you to plan your childcare early and to take into consideration the differing requirements of the remaining posts on your scheme. You should consider what you might do if your child is unwell and can’t attend nursery/childminder or if your childcare is closed/unavailable. Is there a plan B? If you are relying on relatives please consider what happens when they are on holiday or are unwell.
Shared Parental Leave
This enables eligible parents to choose how to share the care of their child during the first year of birth or adoption.To qualify for statutory pay you and your partner must first meet certain qualifying conditions as described in the relevant legislation. Details of the qualifying conditions can be found on the www.gov.uk
Details of how to apply for Shared Parental Leave is included in the Trust Maternity Policy. You must also inform the GPST office so we can make appropriate provision for your altered training needs.
If you are a member of the BMA you can change your subscription to a lower rate while you are on maternity leave:
You may be eligible for a 50% discount on your annual retention fee if your income falls below a certain threshold:
This can be suspended whilst you are not working. Remember to restart it before you go back to work and allow time for this to be organised.
There is a reduced annual membership subscription rate for Trainees who are on maternity leave or training Less Than Full Time. Please see the RCGP Website for further details:
Looking after yourself
It is important to look after your emotional and physical wellbeing as these can be tested during and after pregnancy. This may be the first time you come into contact with the hospital as a service user. Being on the receiving end of care can be challenging and stressful.
By looking after yourself well you are also preparing for looking after your unborn child. Both of you will benefit from the extra care you take to ensure you remain in good health.
Many trainees take maternity leave during their GP Training. If you choose to do this we aim to offer as much support as possible and be as flexible as we can when restructuring your rotation. Undertaking GP Training with a young family is hard work and may trainees find it hard to return to working in a career in which they have not consolidated their skills. We are here to help and advise and if you have any questions regarding planning or taking maternity leave please contact us to talk.
Updated September 2018
Review September 2020