Maternity Leave

The University is committed to helping you to be fully aware of all the options available to you when planning for the birth of a child and managing time off in the first year.  This maternity leave guide should be read alongside the University's procedures on Paternity and Shared Parental Leave, to ensure that you know all the options available to you and your family.

This guide explains how much time you can take if you are pregnant and want to take maternity leave, as well as answering frequently asked questions.

Further Information and Downloads

Further information on what you need to know if you want to take maternity leave as well as details of other leave you may be entitled to:

Frequently Asked Questions for Pregnant Employees

If you have any queries about your maternity leave that are not answered below, please contact your nominated Human Resources Officer.

Am I eligible for maternity leave?

All pregnant employees are entitled to a period of 52 weeks maternity leave regardless of their length of continuous service. The amount of pay received does however differ depending on an employee’s length of service with the University and whether or not they return to work following maternity leave.

What am I entitled to?

  • If you have completed at least 52 weeks continuous service for Swansea University by the date your baby is due you will be eligible to Occupational Maternity Pay.
  • If you have 26 weeks continuous service with Swansea University by the 15th week before your baby is due you are entitled to 39 weeks Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) followed by 13 weeks’ unpaid maternity leave.
  • If you have less than 26 weeks’ continuous service with Swansea University by the Qualifying Week then you will be entitled to 26 weeks unpaid Maternity Leave and you can apply for Maternity Allowance.
  • If you want to end your maternity leave early, you can choose to opt into Shared Parental Leave with your partner and share the remaining weeks' leave and pay.

How and when should I notify the University that I am pregnant?

You should inform the Human Resources Department that you are expecting a baby as soon as possible to enable a work based risk assessment to be carried out and to protect your right to time off for antenatal appointments. By the 15th week before your baby is due, at the latest, you need to inform the University of the following:

  • That you are pregnant and intend to go on maternity leave
  • The date that you intend to commence your maternity leave
  • That you intend to return to work if you wish to be eligible for Occupational Maternity Pay
  • Provide a Maternity Certificate (MAT B1).

What happens next?

The Human Resources Department will write to you, outlining the details of your maternity leave and pay. A risk assessment will be carried out on your workplace to ensure your work is not putting you or your baby at risk.

Is it ok to take time off work for ante-natal care before I start my maternity leave?

Yes - all pregnant women have the right to reasonable time off for ante-natal care. You may be required to show evidence of your appointments to your Head of Directorate/College, and you should ensure that you give reasonable advance warning of any planned visits during normal working hours.

When can I start my maternity leave?

At any time from the 11th week before the baby is due. If you become ill with a pregnancy related illness in the 28 days before your baby is due, your maternity leave and any maternity pay will automatically begin.

What happens if my baby is born before I am due to start my maternity leave?

If your baby is born before your maternity leave is due to commence then the day after the delivery will be recorded as the first day of your maternity leave.

What will happen to my pension whilst I am on maternity leave?

While you are in receipt of full pay, your contributions will be deducted as usual.  After this there is a certain amount of flexibility regarding pension payments and you should make arrangements directly with the Superannuation Office.

What happens to my holiday entitlement whilst I am on maternity leave?

You will accrue holiday entitlement through all periods of maternity leave and this should be taken at the end of your maternity leave period. Any Bank Holidays which fall within your maternity leave will be lost.

Is there any restriction on when I can return from my maternity leave?

You cannot return within two weeks of the birth of your child. Otherwise you have the right to return to work at any time during your period of leave, provided you give the appropriate notice.

Will it be possible to return on a part time/job share basis?

You are entitled to apply to vary your working arrangements and you Head of College/Directorate will consider your request.

See further information on flexibile working arrangements

I am on a fixed term contract - how will this affect my maternity leave/pay?

If your contract is due to expire during your maternity leave period or prior to the completion of 3 months return to work, you should consult a member of the HR Department at the earliest opportunity. Where no extension is possible because there is no further funding available Statutory Maternity Pay will continue for the full 39 weeks for eligible staff. This may be paid in a lump sum as will any unpaid Occupational Maternity pay on the termination of the contract of employment.

My salary is financed by external funds - will this affect my maternity pay/leave?

If you are externally funded you should discuss this with the grant holders and Human Resources Department at the earliest opportunity. Some funding bodies do have a policy to extend grants to cover maternity periods. Your rights will not be affected.

What happens if I work term time only / less than 52 weeks per year?

Your entitlement to maternity pay will be pro-rata to a full time entitlement. Payment of Occupational Maternity Pay will coincide with periods during which you normally work and will be suspended during vacation periods. SMP will be paid continuously from the start of your maternity leave. Your total period of maternity leave will not exceed one year.

What should I do if I feel that I am being treated unfairly because I am pregnant?

Contact the Human Resources Department for advice straight away.