Here at the Co-op we know that having new child is an important and exciting time and we want to support you during this time. This policy sets out the entitlements to leave and pay for pregnant parents at the Coop, including surrogate birth parents. Please note if you are having a new child by adopting (including Fostering to Adopt/Concurrent Planning) or through a Surrogacy arrangement, your entitlements are set out in our Adoption and Surrogacy Policy or the Paternity, Non-Pregnant Parent and Co-Adopter Policy.

We recognise that some of our colleagues may not identify with the term ‘maternity’, so we have added the term ‘pregnant parent’ into this policy to ensure inclusivity for our LGBTQ+ parents. However, for simplicity, and in line with legislation, the term ‘maternity’ will still be used in our forms and systems, including payroll, so please note that where used, this term includes all pregnant parents.

There are some important things that you need to know and do to help us make all the arrangements for your Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave and pay – so talk to your manager if you have any questions or concerns or you can speak to HR Services on 0330 606 1001.

Crucial bits

Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave

As a pregnant parent, you can take up to 52 weeks Leave – it doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked here or how many hours you work. This applies to surrogate birth parents too. 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/ Pregnant Parent Leave you take.

If you are sharing responsibility for the upbringing of your new baby, you may be able to end your Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave early and you and/or your partner can take Shared Parental Leave instead. This allows you to share your remaining leave with your baby’s other parent during your baby’s first year. Both you and your partner need to be eligible – see our Shared Parental Leave Policy for more details.

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/Pregnant Parent 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. Then either you or your manager need to call HR Services on 0330 606 1001 to let them know about your pregnancy, so agree with your manager who will do this

  • You’ll get a 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/Pregnant Parent 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/Pregnant Parent 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/Pregnant Parent 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 (below) and ask your manager to sign it. The form is available on the colleague website

  • HR Services will then send you an ML3 form, which confirms your Maternity/Pregnant Parent Pay entitlement (see below for more information about Maternity/Pregnant Parent Pay) and also when your 52 weeks’ Maternity/Pregnant Parent 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

  • If you have more than one job with the Co-op, the start and end dates of your Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave need to be the same for each of your roles. You need to tell both of your managers about your pregnancy, but the maternity/pregnant parent process will usually be handled by your primary manager – the one for the role you’ve got the most contracted hours. Your primary manager will keep your other managers informed

Maternity/Pregnant Parent pay

Here at the Co-op we give enhanced Maternity/Pregnant Parent pay (for simplicity and in line with legislation, referred to as Co-op Maternity Pay - CMP) if you qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and you’re employed by us at the point your CMP will start. To qualify for SMP you’ll need to:

  • have been working here for 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your baby’s due;
  • be earning at least £120 a week on average*.

The table below shows how much Maternity/Pregnant Parent pay you’ll get:

Maternity Pregnant Parent Pay Table

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

If you’ve got more than one Co-op job, we’ll calculate your entitlement to CMP and SMP based on your earliest start date with Co-op, and we’ll use your combined earnings across all of your roles with the Co-op to calculate your pay.

There’s more information about how CMP is calculated in the Colleague Maternity/Pregnant Parent Guide. This is available on the Intranet, or we’ll send you a copy once you’ve told us you’re pregnant. If you don’t qualify for SMP, you may be able to claim Maternity Allowance from the Government. HR Services will send you an SMP1 form and you can contact your local Jobcentre Plus to find out if you’re eligible.

Just so you’re aware, if you leave the Co-op while you’re still getting CMP it will stop on the date you leave, unless you leave because of redundancy. You’ll still get any remaining weeks of SMP that you’re entitled to as a lump sum.

If you’ve got more than one Co-op job and leave one role and not another, the amount of CMP for the role you’ve left will stop. You’ll continue to get CMP for your remaining Co-op role.

CMP is a discretionary benefit and isn’t part of your terms and conditions, unless your contract says otherwise. This means that the Co-op 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 and SMP this will be paid for the first 39 weeks of your Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave, through our normal pay run. If you don’t qualify, you may not get 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.

If you have more than one job at the Co-op, each of your managers will need to complete a separate risk assessment for each role.

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 a Co-op pension scheme then you’ll continue to be a member during your Leave. While you’re getting CMP or SMP your pension contributions will be based on the actual pay you receive each period, but the Co-op’s contributions will be based on your normal full pay. During any unpaid period of your Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave all pension contributions will stop. Visit https://colleagues.coop.co.uk/pensions or contact the Pensions Department for more information.

Other benefits

If you get any other benefits that you contribute to through a salary sacrifice arrangement, like childcare vouchers or a season ticket loan, contact HR Services to find out how Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave may affect these.

If you get any other contractual non-salary benefits, such as a car or medical insurance, these will continue throughout your Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave.

Holidays

Your holiday entitlement will continue to accrue while you’re on Maternity/Pregnant Parent 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/Pregnant Parent 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/Pregnant Parent 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/Pregnant Parent Leave, which let you work without losing your entitlement to CMP or SMP. 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/Pregnant Parent 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 in the SMP period of your leave, 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/ Pregnant Parent 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/Pregnant Parent 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.

Breast/chest feeding

If you want to breast/chest feed 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 work in 1 Angel Square you can use the Tommy’s Room. If you work in a store or other location, speak to your manager to make arrangements.

If you need further support

The Maternity/Pregnancy Parent Leave Process contains a step-by-step guide to Maternity/ /Pregnant Parent 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//Pregnant Parent Leave, speak to your manager or HR Services If managers need advice they can contact HR Services.

We know that it can be challenging to balance having a new baby with your work. Flexible working might help - you can find our Flexible Working Policy on the colleague website.

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.