Calculating maternity pay for concurrent periods of maternity leave

The below scenario provides support and clarity for calculating pay for concurrent periods of maternity leave (section 15.2 TCS Handbook)

14 February 2023

This scenario aims to provide additional support and clarity for ensuring correct payment of maternity pay where an employee currently on maternity leave intends to take a second period of maternity leave, either concurrently or in close succession, and where the maternity pay should be calculated on the basis of notional full pay.

Getting pregnant during maternity leave

Meet Jen.

Jen is currently on maternity leave after having her first child and has an entitlement of 52 weeks in total.

For the first eight weeks, Jen received her full salary pay (which is inclusive of the statutory maternity pay which she qualified for).

Having completed eight weeks at full pay, for the next 18 weeks she is due to receive half of her full pay (plus statutory pay).

After 26 weeks of maternity leave, Jen will continue to receive her statutory maternity pay for an additional 13 weeks.

After 39 weeks, her final 13 weeks of maternity leave will be unpaid.

Jen’s maternity pay has been calculated based on both her average weekly earnings and also regularly paid supplements including payment for work outside of normal hours and high-cost areas supplement for the eight-week period before the qualifying week. 

Please note: The qualifying week is the fifteenth week prior to the expected week of childbirth

This means that Jen’s earnings were calculated based on her earnings when she was 18 to 26 weeks pregnant.

During her maternity leave, Jen discovers that she is pregnant with her second child

Before returning to work from her current maternity leave, Jen must notify her employer that she is pregnant. She does this when she is 16 weeks pregnant.

Please note: Jen must also submit her MATB1 form to her employer at the 20-week stage as proof of her pregnancy. She will receive this from her midwife.  

Because Jen is not due to return to work from her original period of maternity leave until her twenty-seventh week of pregnancy, the period which would be used to calculate her maternity pay for her second period of maternity leave would fall during the final thirteen weeks of maternity leave when not in receipt of any pay.

The Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook section 15.22 (iv) includes a provision that average weekly earnings for the second period of maternity leave shall be calculated on the basis of notional full pay. This means that Jen’s employer should determine her pay for her second period of maternity leave using the same average weekly earnings as her first pregnancy (this should also include any pay awards or pay step points implemented during her initial period of maternity leave). This would also apply if the period which would have been used to calculate the maternity pay for Jen’s second period of maternity leave fell when Jen was in receipt of half pay.