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UK maternity leave policy template

2-minute read

Josh Hall

17 September 2020

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We’ve partnered with Farillio to bring you a maternity policy template for small businesses, helping you meet your legal obligations for your maternity leave policy.

Maternity leave policy template - free Word download

Choose to download your template now, or get it directly from Farillio’s site where you’ll also get access to their full suite of customisable legal templates.

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Why use a Farillio template?

Every small business has its own specific legal needs, but most can't afford in-house counsel or the services of a corporate lawyer. That’s why we’ve partnered with Farillio – they provide customisable, quality legal documentation online, designed with small business owners in mind.

Why should small businesses use a maternity policy template?

Maternity and paternity leave are important legal obligations.

When it comes to maternity leave, through a combination of employer and the state, employees get:

  • Statutory Maternity Leave
  • Statutory Maternity Pay
  • time off for antenatal care
  • extra government help (dependent on the circumstances)

As maternity leave is a legal obligation, small businesses that have employees should have a maternity leave policy.

But drawing up a maternity leave policy can be challenging, especially if you don’t have in-house legal expertise. First, you need to make sure that your policy meets your statutory requirements. As well as that, you might want to offer extra perks.

That’s because small businesses that have more generous maternity and paternity leave terms can help them attract and retain talent – useful when competing against larger businesses.

Statutory maternity policies

Employers have legal requirements when it comes to maternity policies.

First, your maternity leave policy should be easily available to all employees. For example, you could have hard copies available in the office, or a digital copy on your company intranet.

The key responsibilities can be split into leave and pay.

For Statutory Maternity Leave:

  • employees who have an employment contract and who give the correct notice are entitled to up to 52 weeks of leave
  • they can start their leave up to 11 weeks before the week in which the baby is due
  • they’re obliged to take at least two weeks after the birth, or four if they’re a factory worker

For Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP):

  • employees may be eligible to be paid for up to 39 weeks
  • for the first six weeks, they must be paid at least 90 per cent of their average pre-tax earnings
  • for the following weeks, they’re entitled to £140.98, or, again, 90 per cent of their average pre-tax earnings, whichever is lower

Extended maternity leave policies

As long as you’re meeting your statutory requirements, you could also go beyond the legal minimum with your maternity policy. For example, you might want to make your maternity leave policy more generous, or increase maternity pay. Remember that you’ll still have to deduct income tax and National Insurance contributions from pay during leave.

Shared parental leave

You should also bear in mind that you may need to give paternity leave or shared parental leave (SPL). Employees who are eligible for SPL or shared parental pay may be able to take their leave in blocks, with periods of work in the middle.

It's important to remember that you can’t discriminate on the basis of gender with parental leave or pay. For example, offering larger sums in maternity pay than in shared parental pay is likely to be unlawful.

Maternity policy template

This customisable maternity leave policy template for small business lets you to tweak the document to ensure it’s right for both you and your employees. It’s available in Word format.

When communicating maternity leave policies to your employees, remember that all employment rights are protected during the period. These include pay rises, holiday, and return to work practices.

Maternity leave policy template – free Word document for download

If you’d like to make changes and don’t have Adobe Acrobat, you can also download our maternity leave policy template in Word format.

This document has been produced by Farillio so we can’t take responsibility for its contents. We'd recommend you take professional advice before making any important decisions based on its contents.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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