We recognise that some of our colleagues may not identify with the term ‘maternity’ so we have added the term ‘pregnant parent’ into this process 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 were used, this term includes all pregnant parents.
Notification of pregnancy
Colleagues should tell their manager that they’re pregnant as soon they can – and no later than the end of the 15th week before their baby’s due.
Managers should talk to the colleague regularly to support them throughout their pregnancy – use the Maternity informal meeting guide 1 to support the initial conversation with the colleague about their pregnancy.
Either the colleague or their manager then needs to call HR Services to tell them about the pregnancy. If you work nightshifts and calling in the day is difficult, there’s a Maternity Notification Form which can be used instead.
Once they’ve been notified, HR Services will email the colleague to give them all the information they need to know about their Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave and also an ML1 Form.
The manager then must carry out a risk assessment using the Maternity Risk Assessment Form within two weeks of being told about the pregnancy. This risk assessment should be reviewed throughout the colleague’s pregnancy and also when they return to work. If any risks to the health of the colleague or their baby are identified, the manager should contact ER Services to discuss appropriate steps that should be taken to remove/minimise these risks.
The colleague should talk to their manager about any antenatal appointments they need to go to and managers must agree time off for these if they fall within work time.
Managers can use the Maternity Informal Meeting Guide 2 between weeks 12 – 26 of the colleague’s pregnancy, which covers antenatal appointments, as well as the MATB1 form and holidays.
MATB1 and ML1 forms
When the colleague gets their MATB1 form from their doctor or midwife, sometime after the 21st week of their pregnancy, they should give it to their manager as soon as they can.
The colleague then needs to agree with their manager when their Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave is going to start. See the Maternity and Pregnant Parent Policy for more details about taking Maternity Leave.
Next the colleague should complete the ML1 (Application for Maternity Leave) Form and ask their manager to sign it.
The manager should send both the colleague’s MATB1 form and the completed ML1 form to HR Services.
HR Services will send the colleague an ML3 form, confirming their Maternity/Pregnant Parent Pay entitlement and when their 52 weeks’ Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave entitlement will end (although they may agree with their manager to return on an earlier date). They’ll also include a form for the colleague to complete if they are a member of a Co-op pension scheme and want to repay their pension contributions.
If a colleague wants to return to work earlier than either the end of their 52 weeks Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave, or the return date they’ve agree with their manager, they need to tell their manager in writing at least eight weeks before the date they’re due to return. There’s a template letter (ML4, below) for managers to use to respond to requests to return to work early.
Before going on Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave, the colleague should discuss and agree with their manager when they’ll take the holidays which they’ll accrue while on Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave. This is covered in the Maternity Informal Meeting Guide 2.
Keeping in touch
Before starting Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave, managers should agree with the colleague how they would like them to keep in touch while the colleague’s away from work.
The colleague can take up to 10 paid Keeping in Touch (KIT) days during their Maternity/Pregnant Parent Leave. These need to be agreed in advance with their manager. There’s more information about KIT days in the Maternity and Pregnant Parent Policy.
Managers can use the KIT Day Record Form to record details of any KIT days that are requested and taken. They should notify HR Services using this form il to make sure the colleague gets their full contractual pay for any KIT day worked.
Managers can use the Maternity Informal Meeting Guide 3 from week 26 of the colleague’s pregnancy onwards to help discuss ways of keeping in touch, KIT days and returning to work.
If something unexpected happens during a colleague’s pregnancy and things haven’t gone to plan, managers should speak to the colleague to find out what support they need and contact HR Services for advice.
Returning to work
It’s important that managers call HR Services to confirm the colleague’s return date so the colleague is put back onto the time capture system and paid correctly. Managers should also inform HR Services whether they’ve authorised the colleague to carry forward their holidays into the next holiday year, as this won’t happen automatically. There’s an End of Maternity Notification Form available for managers of nightshift workers to use.
HR Services will send managers a copy of the Maternity Informal Meeting Guide 4 12 weeks before the colleague is due to return. Managers should contact the colleague to talk about their return to work and can use this guide to support the conversation. It’s good to arrange for the colleague to come into work for this meeting, perhaps during a KIT day.
HR Services will also send a letter to the colleague confirming the details of their return to work.
Managers may find it helpful to develop a Return to Work Plan for the colleague’s first few weeks back in work – there’s a template for this at the back of Maternity Informal Meeting Guide 4. This could include any refresher training needed, introducing them to any new team members and updating them on any changes within the business.
If relevant to the colleague’s job, managers also need to contact IT to make sure that the colleague’s access to IT systems is restored in time for their first day back.