Maternity Leave

policy, forms and guidance for this key benefit

From 1 January 2023, there have been some significant enhancements to the ways in which LSE is supporting staff who wish to take maternity leave, including:

  • The increase of LSE's contractual maternity pay from 18 to 22 weeks
  • The removal of the qualifying period for contractual maternity pay
  • The introduction of fully paid Neonatal Leave (for up to 12 weeks) to support parents whose baby requires hospital treatment for 7 or more days following birth. If you would would like to take neonatal leave, you should let your line manager know as soon as possible after the baby's birth. After the neonatal leave period has ended, you should confirm how many days your baby was in hospital by downloading and completing the Neonatal Leave Notification Form.

This updated page will guide you through the policy, forms and guidance that together make up this key benefit for staff. As you'd expect, the School's Maternity Policy sets out the procedure for applying for maternity leave. There are also a number of forms and tools to complement the policy and to help staff better understand the full process. On the right hand side of this page, you'll find a link to a Maternity Entitlement Calculator, which lets you see your entitlements at a glance. Once you've decided to request maternity leave, HR's Guidance Notes for Maternity Leave Notification includes useful tips and advice for how to complete the forms and make sure that the right boxes are ticked.

We also understand that it can be challenging to return to work after maternity leave, which is why HR has created a form to help you arrange a successful return to your role which fits around your circumstances. 

Below, you can find responses to some typical queries about maternity leave. Please do contact your HR Adviser if you have a query about maternity leave which is not addressed here. 

What is a MATB1 certificate? 

This is a certificate issued by the GP or midwife to verify a pregnancy and confirm the expected week of childbirth (EWC) (or actual date of birth in cases where the child is born early). The MATB1 is available from 20 weeks before the EWC.

What happens to my entitlement to maternity leave if I decide to leave the School before I'm due to start my maternity leave?

If this happens, you will not be eligible for maternity leave although you may still be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) if you are employed after the 15th week before the EWC.

If I take annual leave prior to my maternity leave, but give birth early, will my maternity leave still start after the period of annual leave?

No, because ordinary maternity leave is triggered by childbirth. Since you can’t take annual leave and maternity leave simultaneously, if you give birth while on annual leave then your annual leave will cease and your maternity leave will commence.

What if I’m already on maternity leave and decide that I want to take Shared Parental Leave instead?

In this case, you would need to end your maternity leave to take up shared parental leave. This involves completing a period of leave change form and forwarding it to HR. You need to give the School at least 8 weeks’ notice that you wish to take Shared Parental Leave.

What happens if my pregnancy does not go to plan?

In the event that your baby dies or is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy, the leave and pay provisions of the Maternity Policy will still apply. If your baby dies before this period, any absence due to ill health will come under the School’s sickness absence procedures. 

There is a network of support options that can help you in this situation. This includes your manager, HR, staff counselling services and external support agencies (including charities). Please see Further Links and Resources for more details.

What are Keeping in Touch (KIT) days?

Keeping in Touch (KIT) days allow an employee to work up to 10 days' paid work at any stage during  their maternity leave, except for the first two weeks after the baby is born. KIT days (including the timing and amount) are mutually agreed between the employee and their manager. 

When done well, KIT days can help to support an individual whilst on maternity leave as well as helping the wider team operationally. They can be used for an employee's normal day-to-day role (i.e. to carry out specific pieces of work), although it can be especially useful to use them for team and/or developmental events - such as team meetings, training or conferences.    

How should KIT days be recorded?

Your manager should keep a manual record of the days taken so that you don’t exceed the statutory provision of up to 10 days.

Are KIT days pro-rated for part-time staff?

No, up to 10 KIT days are available to all eligible staff, no matter what your hours of work are.

What happens if my baby is born prematurely? 

The updated Maternity Policy (which is linked to from the right side of this page) includes a provision for Neonatal Leave. This means that, in the event that your baby is born prematurely and needs hospital treatment for 7 days or more, LSE will pay you at your normal rate of pay for up to 12 weeks - in addition to any period of maternity leave that you choose to take. If you would would like to take neonatal leave, you should let your line manager know as soon as possible after the baby's birth. After the neonatal leave period has ended, you should confirm how many days your baby was in hospital by downloading and completing the Neonatal Leave Notification Form. Please contact your HR Partner or Adviser if you have any questions. 

What happens if I wish to take the full 52 weeks of maternity leave? 

Under the UK's statutory maternity leave provisions, eligible employees can choose to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave. From 1 January 2023, LSE staff can take the first 22 of these weeks at full pay, followed by (if they choose) 17 weeks at the rate of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP; click here to see the current rate) and finally up to 13 weeks as unpaid. If you are a member of an LSE pension scheme and have taken the remainder of your maternity leave as unpaid, remember that, in order to maintain full pensionable service during the unpaid period, you can choose to make additional contributions when you return to work; if you decide to do this, LSE will also make contributions in accordance with the pension scheme's rules. 

What happens to my holiday entitlement when I'm on maternity leave? 

Your holiday entitlement - i.e. annual leave, bank holidays and School closure days - accrues while you are on maternity leave. If you are unable to take your full holiday entitlement during a leave year due to maternity leave, you can carry over the remainder into the following leave year.