Maternity Leave and Pay
The policy of the Church in Wales is to comply with the law as it relates to the rights of pregnant women. To this end its aim is to inform all female clergy of their entitlement to statutory maternity rights and to ensure that these rights are understood by those who qualify.
Clergy who are pregnant are encouraged:
- To seek information concerning the applicability of these maternity provisions at the earliest opportunity. Advice can be obtained from either the HR Department or Stipends Section at the Representative Body of the Church in Wales.
- To advise their Archdeacon of their pregnancy at the earliest opportunity so that arrangements for a risk assessment can be made.
Procedure and Rules
To qualify for maternity leave and pay, you must:
- Inform the Stipends Section at the Representative Body of the Church in Wales and the Archdeacon.
- Provide the Stipends Section at the Representative Body of the Church in Wales with a maternity certificate MAT B1 which will state the expected week of childbirth. This certificate can be obtained after the 20th week of pregnancy from the GP or midwife.
- Give notice (see attached form) to the Stipends Section at the Representative Body of the Church in Wales of when the maternity leave will commence. This notification MUST be given by the end of the 15th week prior to the expected week of childbirth. If a cleric changes her mind at a later date, she is entitled to do so, but must inform the Stipends Section of the revised start date at least 28 days before the date in question.
- In case of premature birth, a cleric must advise the Stipends Section of the fact as soon as is reasonably practicable and, produce a certificate MATB2 form which can be obtained from the GP or midwife.
- Pregnant clergy may continue working as close to the expected week of childbirth as they wish provided they continue to be capable of undertaking full normal duties. Where it is felt that the cleric’s health or that of her unborn baby is suffering as a result of her continuing to work then the Church in Wales may require the cleric to be examined by the Occupational Health Doctor.
All women who are working are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave i.e. 26 ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks additional maternity leave.
A woman may not start ordinary maternity leave before the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth unless the baby is born before then.
If a woman is unable to work for a pregnancy related reason within the last four weeks before the baby is due, or she gives birth before she intended to go on leave, then maternity leave will start automatically. Both ordinary and additional maternity leave count as continuous service.
Clergy who fall pregnant in the first twelve months of appointment to office will only be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
Clergy who qualify for Occupational Maternity Pay and intend to return to the stipendiary ministry following pregnancy and maternity leave will qualify for occupational and statutory maternity pay provisions as follows:
- Weeks 1-18 inclusive: The equivalent of full Stipend, which incorporates statutory maternity pay.
- Weeks 19-39 inclusive: In accordance with the statutory Maternity Pay Regulations.
- Weeks 40-52 inclusive: No entitlement to S.M.P.
Clergy who do not return to work following maternity leave for a period of at least three months will be required to repay the Stipend less SMP received during paid maternity leave.
Returning to Duty
No woman is allowed to return to duty during the first two weeks after giving birth.
If a woman decides to take her full entitlement to maternity leave i.e. 52 weeks, she will not need to give advance notice of her return and should simply come back on the date notified to her by the Stipends Section. It would however be helpful if contact with the Archdeacon were maintained on the likely date of return.
If a woman decides to return early before the end of her maternity leave she must give 8 weeks notice of early return (See form).
If a woman is returning to duty after 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave she is entitled to return to the same office on the same terms of service as if she had not been away.
If a woman is returning to duty after taking full maternity leave (52 weeks) she is entitled to return to the same office on the same terms of service unless it can be shown that it is not reasonably practicable to do so. Should it not be practicable to return to duty in the same office then the Archdeacon will be responsible for discussing alternative options with the cleric concerned such options being on no less favourable terms of service.
If a woman is unable to return to duty following maternity leave because of illness then she is required to inform her Area Dean/Archdeacon of the reason and the procedure relating to the Incapacity of Clergy will apply.
Transfer of Maternity Leave – Shared Parental Leave
If a woman proposes to return to duty early without using her full 52-week entitlement to maternity leave, by giving proper notification of an early return in accordance with the rules, she may be eligible to transfer her outstanding maternity leave (and outstanding SMP) to her spouse, civil partner or partner, or the father of her child, to be taken as shared parental leave on her return to duty.
During the period of maternity leave, all contractual benefits continue in force except for stipend and annual leave entitlement will continue to accrue.
Contact during Maternity Leave
The Work and Families Act 2006 introduced “keeping in touch” days for women on maternity leave. The regulations allow a woman during maternity leave, if it is acceptable to the Church in Wales, to work for up to 10 days during her maternity leave without the risk of losing her entitlement to maternity leave or maternity pay.
If clergy wish to work during maternity leave then this arrangement must be discussed and agreed with the Archdeacon.
Stillbirth and Miscarriage
This is a particularly emotive area and special provisions apply should a woman have a stillbirth or miscarriage. For the purposes of the Regulations childbirth is defined to include the birth of a living child (however premature) or a child living or dead after 24 weeks pregnancy. In these circumstances the woman will be entitled to the same leave and statutory maternity leave, as she would have received had her baby lived.
If however a woman loses her child before reaching the 25th week of her pregnancy then she is not entitled to maternity leave or maternity pay. Her absence should then be treated as sickness in accordance with the provisions for clergy incapacity.
Cover During Maternity Leave
During maternity leave, cover for services and pastoral care will be treated as in an Interregnum.
Arrangements for adoption leave are granted in line with the above arrangements.
Advice and Guidance
Advice on the application of these provisions can be obtained from the following:
HR Department 2 Callaghan Square, Cardiff, CF10 5BT
Stipends Section 2 Callaghan Square, Cardiff, CF10 5BT