Here at the Manx Co-operative we know that having a baby is an important and exciting time and we want to support you if you’re pregnant or a new mother. There are some important things that you need to know and do to help us make all the arrangements for your Maternity Leave and pay – so talk to your manager if you have any questions or concerns.

Crucial bits

Maternity Leave

If you’re having a baby you can take up to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave – it doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked here or how many hours you work. You have to take at least two weeks leave after your baby’s born, but after that it’s up to you how much Maternity Leave you take.

It’s really important that you follow the steps below for giving us information about your pregnancy. If you don’t, you might not be eligible for Maternity Leave or pay or be able to start and/or end your leave when you want.

  • As soon as you can after finding out that you’re pregnant – and no later than the end of the 15th week before your baby’s due – you must tell your manager.
  • You’ll get a maternity certificate (MATB1 form) from your doctor or midwife sometime after the 21st week of your pregnancy – please check that it’s been signed no earlier than 20 weeks before your due date. You need to give this to your manager as soon as possible.
  • You’ll then need to agree with your manager when your Maternity Leave is going to start and end. You can start it any time after the 11th week before the expected week of the birth. If your baby arrives early before you’ve started your Maternity Leave, your leave will begin then. If you’re off sick due to your pregnancy within four weeks of your expected due date, your Maternity Leave will just start automatically.
  • Once you’ve agreed a start date with your manager, you should complete the ML1 – application for maternity leave form and ask your manager to sign it. The form is available within the Manx Co-operative maternity leave process.
  • You’ll then be sent an ML3 form, which confirms your maternity pay entitlement (see below for more information about maternity pay) and also when your 52 weeks’ Maternity Leave entitlement will end. Of course, you don’t have to take the full 52 weeks of leave – if you want to come back to work before this, you can agree an earlier return date with your manager.
  • If you change your mind and want to come back on a different date to the one you agreed with your manager, you’ll need to write to them at least eight weeks before you’re due to return. If you want to come back earlier and don’t give us this notice, we might need to delay your return for up to eight weeks, but it won’t be past your original agreed return date.

Maternity pay

Here at the Manx Co-operative we give Co-op Maternity Pay (CMP) of 12 weeks full pay if you meet the qualifying criteria and you’re employed by us at the point your CMP will start.

You may also be able to claim Maternity Allowance from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) – there’s information on the government website. If you do qualify for Maternity Allowance you’ll need to send us the letter you receive from the DHSC giving the amount, and then we’ll use your CMP to top you up to full pay for the first 12 weeks of your Maternity Leave.

To qualify for Co-op Maternity Pay you’ll need to;

  • have been working here for 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your baby’s due, and
  • be earning at least £118 a week on average*

The table below shows how much maternity pay you’ll get:

Maternity pay 1-12 weeks 13-39 weeks 40-52 weeks
CMP - Full pay, based on your average contractual earnings (any Maternity Allowance you receive will be topped up to full pay) If you qualify for Maternity Allowance this is paid for up to 39 weeks. If you choose to take this amount of leave, these weeks will be unpaid.

*Average earnings are based on what you’ve been paid during the eight weeks ending on the 15th week before your baby’s due.

Just so you’re aware, if you leave the Manx Co-operative while you’re still getting CMP it will stop on the date you leave, unless you leave because of redundancy. You may still receive any Maternity Allowance payments that you’re entitled to.

CMP is a discretionary benefit and isn’t part of your terms and conditions. This means that the Manx Co-operative has the right to change or withdraw CMP at any time, but we won’t do this if you’re already receiving it.

If you qualify for CMP you’ll still be paid in the normal way for the first 12 weeks of your Maternity Leave. If you don’t qualify, you may not have a payslip during your leave.

Things to think about

Risk assessments

Tell your manager as early as you can that you’re pregnant. They’ll conduct a risk assessment of your role and your workplace and make any adjustments needed to protect your health and safety. They’ll review things with you throughout your pregnancy and also when you come back to work.

Antenatal care

You’ll have antenatal appointments to go to. It would be helpful if you could try to arrange these outside your normal working hours if you can. If not, then you’ll get paid time off to attend. Let your manager know as early as you can when your appointments are and try to arrange them at the start or end of the day if possible. They might ask to see your appointment card or email/text confirmation to confirm things.

Pensions

If you’re a member of our pension scheme then you’ll continue to be a member during your Maternity Leave. If you’re getting CMP your pension contributions will be based on the actual pay you receive each period. During any unpaid period of your Maternity Leave all pension contributions will stop. For more information contact the scheme administrators, Edgewater Associates, Isle of Man, 01624 654000 or enquiries@edgewater.co.im

Holidays

Your holiday entitlement will continue to accrue while you’re on Maternity Leave. If your bank holidays aren’t already included in your holiday entitlement, you’ll also get days in lieu of any bank holidays which fall during your Maternity Leave.

Talk to your manager before you start your Maternity Leave about taking your holidays either before or at the end of your leave and agree dates with them. If you return to work too close to the end of the holiday year to take all your holidays, speak to your manager about carrying forward any remaining days.  

Keeping in touch

It’s good to stay in touch with your colleagues and your manager during your Maternity Leave. We’ll try to keep you updated about any important changes or other things you need to know while you’re away from work. Agree with your manager the best way of keeping in touch.

You can have up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KIT) days during your Maternity Leave, which let you work without losing your entitlement to CMP, or Maternity Allowance if you are receiving this. KIT days need to be agreed with your manager first and can be used for anything that would normally be part of your job, including training courses and announcements. You can take them at any point during your Maternity Leave, apart from during the first two weeks after your baby’s born. You don’t have to arrange any KIT days, and we’ll never insist that you work a KIT day.

On a KIT day you’ll get paid your full contractual rate of pay for the hours you work. If you’re getting Maternity Allowance, your pay will be ‘topped up’ to your normal hourly rate. This means that payment for a KIT day won’t ever be more than a normal day’s pay. Just so you’re aware, even if you don’t work a full day, this will still count as one of your 10 KIT days.

Returning to work after Maternity Leave

Unless there’s a business reorganisation – in which case we’d consult with you about what this means for you – you’ll usually be able to come back to the same role and with the same terms and conditions of employment that you had before your Maternity Leave.

Your manager will get in touch with you before you’re due to come back to work to talk about the arrangements for your return. You might want to try and arrange a KIT day with your manager so you can come into work and discuss things with them.

Breastfeeding

If you want to breastfeed when you’re back in work we’ll do what we can to support you, so talk to your manager about what you need.

If you need further support

The Maternity Leave Process contains a step-by-step guide to Maternity Leave so everyone is clear about the steps that need to be followed when a colleague is pregnant.

If you have any questions about Maternity Leave, speak to your manager. If managers need advice they can contact Trudi Sewell on trudi.sewell@coop.co.uk

Having a baby can mean big changes in your personal life and you may need extra support and guidance in adapting to these. Remember we have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) who can provide colleagues with support. You can contact the EAP on 0800 069 8854. It’s independent and totally confidential. And there’s no charge for Co-op colleagues.