# Family friendly leave policy and procedures

# Introduction

This policy explains the leave and pay that you can expect if you have a baby or adopt a child while working for Agile Collective and explains what you need to do to make sure that we can process this correctly. If you have any questions after you have read this policy, please speak to a member of the People Circle.

# Our policy

At Agile Collective we understand that having a baby or adopting a child is a life-changing event and we are committed to being supportive of our staff before, during, and after this time.

# Leave

You will be entitled to up to 52 weeks of leave if, while you are working for Agile Collective, you:

  • Give birth to a baby
  • Adopt a child
  • Have a baby through surrogacy arrangements

You may choose to share some of this leave with your partner, even if your partner works for another organisation.

You will be entitled to up to 2 weeks of paternity leave if your partner takes maternity or adoption leave while you are working for Agile Collective.

You may also choose to take up to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave at any time up until your child’s 18th birthday.

# Pay

If you take maternity or adoption leave while working for Agile Collective and if you meet the eligibility criteria for statutory pay we will pay you:

  • First 6 weeks: 90% of your average weekly earnings;
  • Following 33 weeks: the statutory rate of £140.98 per week, or 90% of your average earnings if this is less than the statutory rate;
  • Remaining 13 weeks: unpaid leave.

Agile Collective will pay you full pay for two weeks of paternity leave.

Statutory Maternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Pay are paid for up to 39 weeks (37 weeks for Shared Parental Pay) and are reviewed by the Government each year. You can find the current rate of statutory pay at www.gov.uk/browse/childcare-parenting (opens new window)

Statutory pay is paid through payroll in the usual manner and is subject to the normal deductions for tax and National Insurance.

The Government has created an online calculator to help you to work out the statutory leave and pay that you and your partner will be entitled to if you have a child: www.gov.uk/pay-leave-for-parents (opens new window).

# The procedure to follow

# Maternity leave and pay

# Antenatal appointments

If you are pregnant, you may take paid time off to attend antenatal appointments or classes. Please give the People Circle as much notice as possible of these appointments and, if you can, arrange them for the start or end of your working day.

# Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

Agile Collective will pay you Statutory Maternity Pay as long as you qualify for it.

To receive SMP you must:

  • have been working for Agile Collective for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your baby is due
  • earn at least a certain amount each week (see www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave/eligibility (opens new window) for the current figure)
  • have given us the correct notice of your intention to take leave to have a baby (see s.3.1.3)
  • have given us proof of your pregnancy (MAT B1 form)

If you don’t qualify for SMP we’ll let you know in writing, explaining why. You may be able to claim Maternity Allowance from the government. There is more information on Maternity Allowance on the government website: www.gov.uk/maternity-allowance (opens new window)

# Telling us that you want to take maternity leave and pay

Please let a member of the People Circle know as soon as possible that you are pregnant. This is so that a health and safety risk assessment of your role and working conditions can be completed. The fact of your pregnancy will be kept confidential for as long as you wish. If you haven’t already done so, you must let us know before the end of the 15th week before your baby is due that you are pregnant and that you plan to take maternity leave.

You should let us know when your baby is due and the dates that you want your maternity leave to start and finish. You can start your leave any time from 11 weeks before your baby is due, up to the date he or she is born. If you want to change these dates later you can, as long as you give us 28 days’ notice of a change to your start date and 8 weeks’ notice of a change to your end date. If you are not able to give us this much notice, please discuss this with a member of the People Circle as soon as possible.

Your maternity leave will start automatically if your baby is born early, or if you are off work with a pregnancy-related illness during the 4 weeks before the week of your baby’s due date.

There is a form at the end of this policy that you should fill in to make sure that you give us all the information we need. Please speak to a member of the People Circle if you need any support with completing this.

# Adoption leave and pay

If you are adopting as a couple only one of you may take adoption leave and pay even if you work for different organisations. The partner who does not take adoption leave may be able to take paternity leave instead.

If you are having a baby through surrogacy arrangements you may take adoption leave, provided that your partner doesn’t also take adoption leave from their employer.

# Adoption appointments

You may take paid time off for up to 5 adoption appointments after you have been matched with a child. Please give the People Circle as much notice as possible of these appointments and, if you can, arrange them for the start or end of your working day.

# Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)

Agile Collective will pay you Statutory Adoption Pay as long as you qualify for it.

To receive SAP you must:

  • have been working for Agile Collective for at least 26 weeks by the week that you are matched with a child (if you are adopting a child from the UK) or by the ‘official notification’ that you have been matched with a child (if you are adopting a child from overseas) or by 15 weeks before your baby’s due date (if your baby is being born through surrogacy arrangements)
  • earn at least a certain amount each week (see www.gov.uk/adoption-pay-leave/eligibility (opens new window) for the current figure)
  • have given us the correct notice of your intention to take adoption leave
  • have given us proof that you are adopting a child (you do not need to give us proof if your baby is being born through surrogacy)

If you don’t qualify for SAP we will let you know in writing, explaining why. Your local council might be able to offer you help; there is more information on the government website: www.gov.uk/browse/childcare-parenting/financial-help-children (opens new window)

# Telling us that you want to take adoption leave and pay

Within 7 days of being matched with a child for adoption, or of receiving ‘official notification’ if you are adopting from overseas, you should write to us to let us know. If you are having a baby through surrogacy arrangements this should be at least 15 weeks before the week that your baby is due. There is a form at the end of this policy that you can fill in to make sure that you give us all the information we need. Please speak to a member of the People Circle if you need any support with completing this.

When your leave can start is different depending on the circumstances:

  • when your child starts living with you or up to 14 days before (if you are adopting from the UK)
  • when your child arrives in the UK or up to 28 days after this date (if you are adopting from overseas)
  • the day of or day after the birth (if your baby is being born through surrogacy arrangements)

If you want to change these dates later you can, as long as you give us 28 days’ notice of a change to your start date and 8 weeks’ notice of a change to your end date. If you are not able to give us this much notice, please discuss this with a member of the People Circle as soon as possible.

# Paternity leave and pay

# Antenatal/adoption appointments

You may take a reasonable amount of paid time off to attend antenatal or adoption appointments with your partner. Please give the People Circle as much notice as possible of these appointments and, if you can, arrange them for the start or end of your working day. What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances, but we won’t refuse permission unreasonably.

# Statutory paternity pay (SPP)

We will pay you full pay for two weeks of leave after the birth or adoption of your child regardless of whether or not you qualify for statutory paternity pay.

If you’re adopting you will need to give us proof of this, for example a letter from the adoption agency or a matching certificate so that we can take a copy for our records.

# Telling us that you want to take paternity leave and pay

You should let us know as soon as possible that you’re expecting a child and want to take paternity leave. In any case you must let us know at least 15 weeks before your baby is due or within 7 days of having been matched with a child for adoption (or of receiving ‘official notification’ if you’re adopting from abroad).

You can choose to take either one, two or three consecutive weeks of leave. You can choose to start your leave when you want as long as it’s after the birth or after your child has come to live with you (or has arrived in the UK if they are coming from overseas), and within 56 days of this.

You don’t have to tell us an exact date to start your leave when you first apply as long as you let us know when you would like it to be (for example, from the day of the birth, or a certain number of days after this).

There is a form at the end of this policy that you can fill in to make sure that you give us all the information we need. Please speak to a member of the People Circle if you need any support with completing this.

# Shared parental leave and pay

Shared parental leave (SPL) allows you and your partner (or the child’s other parent if you are separated) to share some of the maternity or adoption leave available after the first two weeks. You both qualify for shared parental leave and pay separately so you might be able to take it even if your partner can’t. You can take shared parental leave in separate blocks, instead of having to take it all in one go like with maternity or adoption leave, but it must all be taken within a year.

To be eligible for SPL either you or your partner must be eligible for maternity pay or leave, adoption pay or leave, or maternity allowance. You also need to:

  • have been employed by Agile Collective for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your baby’s due date (or by the date you’re matched with your adopted child)
  • still be employed by us while you take your leave

During the 66 weeks before your baby is due (or the week you’re matched with your adopted child), your partner needs to:

# How SPL works

A mother must take a minimum of two weeks of maternity leave after the birth of her baby and the main adopter must take a minimum of two weeks of adoption leave. After this, if you’re eligible for SPL and you or your partner end maternity or adoption leave and pay early then you can:

  • take up to the remaining 50 weeks of maternity or adoption leave as shared parental leave
  • take up to the remaining 37 weeks of maternity or adoption pay (or maternity allowance) as statutory shared parental pay (ShPP)

You can take leave separately or at the same time as your partner, but there will only ever be a maximum of 50 weeks of leave to share between you.

You can choose how you structure your SPL; unlike maternity and adoption leave you can choose to take SPL in blocks, returning to work in between, instead of taking it all in one go, or you can take it all in one go if you prefer. You can book up to three separate blocks of leave each and if you prefer you can ask to split each of those blocks into chunks of leave and working time (provided that each chunk is at least a week); you should let us know your plans when you apply for SPL. Although you can change your mind later, you’ll need to give us at least 8 weeks’ notice of any changes. We might not always be able to agree to the working/leave pattern that you ask for but we will always talk this through with you in detail and try to find a solution that works for both your family and Agile Collective.

# Statutory shared parental leave pay

You will be able to get ShPP if:

  • you’re eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP), or
  • you’re eligible for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) and your partner is eligible for SMP, SAP or Maternity Allowance (MA)

# Telling us that you want to take shared parental leave and pay

To be able to take SPL you or your partner must either:

  • end maternity or adoption leave and pay by returning to work, or
  • give us (or your partner’s employer) ‘binding notice’ (at least 8 weeks) of your/their decision to end maternity or adoption leave and pay early. Once this notice has been given it can only be withdrawn in exceptional circumstances.

If you or your partner receives maternity allowance from Jobcentre Plus you must give them at least 8 weeks’ notice to end this.

You can start shared parental leave while your partner is still on maternity or adoption leave as long as they have given binding notice to end it.

There are forms at the end of this policy that you should fill in to make sure that you give us all of the information that we need. You’ll need to give us different information depending on your circumstances so please read the forms carefully and speak with a member of the People Circle if you need any support with completing these. You will need to complete one of the ‘notification of intention to take shared parental leave’ forms plus the ‘request for shared parental leave’ form. If you are currently taking maternity or adoption leave you will also need to complete the appropriate ‘notification of intention to end leave early’ form.

# Unpaid parental leave

Unpaid parental leave is designed to allow parents to take time off work to look after their child’s welfare. For example, you might use this leave to spend more time with your child during school holidays or to investigate potential new schools.

If you have worked for Agile Collective for at least a year you can take up to 18 weeks of leave for each child up to their 18th birthday, but can only take a maximum of 4 weeks of unpaid parental leave each year. You won’t be paid during this leave. Except for in exceptional circumstances, or if your child is disabled, you’ll need to take this leave in weekly blocks, rather than as odd days here and there. You will need to give us at least 1 month’s notice of the date that you would like your leave to start. We will only refuse this in exceptional circumstances; if we do need to refuse your request, we’ll discuss this with you in detail and try to find a solution that works for both your family and Agile Collective.

Any unpaid parental leave that you take while you are working for someone else counts towards your total allocation; you should let us know if you have already taken some unpaid parental leave elsewhere.

# What happens during your leave

While you are taking family friendly leave you will still be employed by Agile Collective and we will treat you in the same way as any other colleagues; the People Circle will keep you updated on any important changes at work. You should agree how you would prefer us to contact you before your leave starts.

# Keeping in Touch / Shared Parental Leave in Touch Days

While you are on maternity or adoption leave you can choose to take up to 10 ‘Keeping in Touch’ (KIT) days if both you and the People Circle agree. These are days when you can come into the office and do some work without bringing your maternity or adoption leave to an end; they can often be useful for training days or important team announcements.

If you take shared parental leave you can agree to use up to 20 ‘Shared Parental Leave in Touch’ (SPLIT) days. These are in addition to any KIT days that you may have taken during maternity or adoption leave and work in exactly the same way. You and your partner can use up to 20 SPLIT days each.

We will pay you full pay for any KIT or SPLIT days that you work; if you are still receiving maternity, adoption or shared parental leave pay we will bring that up to full pay (you won’t ever get more than one normal day’s pay for working a KIT or SPLIT day).

You and the People Circle both have to agree to use a KIT or SPLIT day. We won’t ever try to force you to use one and we won’t treat you differently if you choose not to. Equally, you can’t use one of these days if the People Circle doesn’t agree that it’s needed.

# Pensions

If you’re a member of the pension scheme your contributions will continue to be deducted from any statutory pay that you receive in the usual way. If you don’t pay pension contributions during any period of unpaid leave the benefits provided to you on retirement will be reduced; please speak to a member of the People Circle for more information.

# Returning from family friendly leave

You will usually be able to return to work into the same job, with the same terms and conditions of employment, when your family friendly leave comes to an end. If there has been a reorganisation or business change during your leave this might not be possible, but if this happens we’ll always consult with you fully and discuss the implications of this with you as soon as possible.

# Holidays

Your holiday entitlement will have continued to accrue during your family friendly leave. Many people choose to append some or all of their accrued holidays to the end of their leave; please discuss this with a member of the People Circle.