Maternity leave and arrangements

Maternity leave and arrangements

A ‘quick reference’ table of maternity provisions is set out below:

 

(a) Length of Service

(b) Maternity Provision

1.

All Servicewomen, regardless of length of service,

26 weeks' OML, of which the first two weeks is compulsory maternity leave, which must be taken immediately after the birth of the child, and 26 weeks' AML.

2.

A Servicewoman with less than 26 weeks' continuous service by the qualifying week (see definition at para 20.006 ) (whether or not she intends to return to service) and who is still serving into the qualifying week.

26 weeks' OML and 26 weeks' AML. The Servicewoman will not be entitled to enhanced pay under the AFOMS during OML; nor will she be entitled to SMP. However, depending on her circumstances she may be entitled to other State benefits. (See para 20.074 if serving overseas).

3.

A Servicewoman with 26 weeks or more but less than a year's continuous service by the qualifying week and who is still serving into the qualifying week (whether or not she intends to returns to service).

26 weeks' OML plus 26 weeks' AML. During OML she will not be entitled to enhanced maternity pay under the AFOMS but may be eligible for SMP. Qualifying criteria for SMP and rates are set out at paras 9 and 10 respectively. SMP is payable during the 26 weeks of OML and the first 13 weeks of AML.

4.

A Servicewoman with a year's continuous service by the qualifying week, who is still serving into the qualifying week and who states her intention to return to duty following maternity leave for a minimum period of twelve months

26 weeks' OML plus 26 weeks' AML. During the 26 weeks of OML she will be entitled to full pay under AFOMS (which will include any SMP but is not paid in addition to it) and for the first 13 weeks of AML will receive the standard rate of SMP . The remaining 13 weeks of AML will be unpaid.

5. A Servicewoman with a year's continuous service by the qualifying week, who is still serving into the qualifying week and who chooses not to return to duty. 26 weeks' OML plus 26 weeks' AML. During the 26 weeks of OML and the first 13 weeks of AML she will entitled to receive the standard rate of SMP. The remaining 13 weeks of AML will be unpaid.

In this case the Servicewoman should contact her local social security office.
The rate is promulgated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and is subject to change, normally in April. Information on the current rate of SMP can be found on the DTI website or from a JobCentre Plus.

In addition to statutory maternity arrangements, the Armed Forces Occupational Maternity Scheme (AFOMS) provides for a period of maternity leave (OML/AML) and additional maternity pay for Servicewomen who meet the required criteria.

All Servicewomen, regardless of their length of service, are entitled to 26 weeks’ OML and 26 weeks’ AML. 

Servicewomen who have completed a year’s continuous service by the qualifying week and who have stated an intention to serve for a period of at least twelve months following their pregnancy (return of service (ROS)), qualify for the enhanced pay element of AFOMS. They are entitled to 26 weeks’ OML plus 26 weeks’ AML. The 26 weeks’ OML will be at full pay.  The first 13 weeks of AML will be paid at the standard rate of SMP, the remaining 13 weeks will be unpaid.

The total amount of leave that can be taken in connection with pregnancy is 52 weeks (or 55 weeks if unpaid prenatal leave is taken).

A Servicewoman must take at least two weeks’ leave following the birth of her child.

Upon notification of pregnancy and the production of a doctor’s certificate confirming pregnancy, a Servicewoman is entitled to reasonable time off, with pay, to keep appointments for prenatal care made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor. Prenatal care can include attendance at relaxation and parent-craft classes as well as medical examinations.

All Servicewomen, irrespective of whether they intend to return to work, may take up to three weeks’ unpaid prenatal leave between the 14th and 11th week prior to EWC.  Unpaid prenatal leave is not reckonable service. 

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