Everyone’s arrangement for maternity pay will be slightly different depending on working circumstances e.g. locum, salaried or partner and your agreed contract.
There are two key schemes which have separate but overlapping amounts of leave and pay which depend on ‘qualifying service’. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is a statutory entitlement whilst the NHS scheme is a contractual entitlement. The main criteria for eligibility is how much service the employee is required to have accrued. For SMP this is 26 weeks continuous service with the same employer ending with the 15th week before due date. For the traditional NHS scheme this is 12 months continuous service (with no more than a 3 month break) by the 11th week before due date.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks. You get 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks then £148.68 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks. SMP is paid in the same way as your wages (for example monthly or weekly). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted.
Maternity Pay for a salaried GP
Specific pay agreements are dependent on individual’s contract of employment. Under the model salaried GP contract, entitlement is for 12 months of maternity leave. An example of the BMA Guidance GP model contract is set out below:
for the first eight weeks of absence, full pay less any statutory maternity pay (SMP) or maternity allowance (MA) receivable;
for the next 14 weeks, half of full pay plus any SMP or MA receivable provided the total amount does not exceed full pay;
the next 17 weeks at SMP or MA (assuming the employee has qualified for the same)
Maternity pay for partners (locum cover)
A clause covering this should be included in your partnership agreement, individual variations are subject to negotiation.
GMS practices will be entitled to an allowance from their Primary Care Organisation for the cost of GP locum cover for maternity, paternity and adoption leave.
Reimbursement will be the lower of: £1,131.74 for the first two weeks and £1,734.18 for weeks three to 26 or the actual invoiced costs during that period
Reimbursement is intended to cover external locums and cover provided by GPs already working in the practice but who do not work full time (i.e. payment will be made equally where there is organisation flexibility/capacity to perform the duties of the GP on leave
Maternity pay for locums (Maternity Allowance)
You might get Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks if one of the following applies:
you’re employed, but you cannot get Statutory Maternity Pay
you’re self-employed and pay Class 2 NI
you’ve recently stopped working
In the 66 weeks before your baby’s due, you must also have been:
employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks
earning (or classed as earning) £30 a week or more in at least 13 weeks – the weeks do not have to be together
You may still qualify if you’ve recently stopped working. It does not matter if you had different jobs or periods of unemployment.
Shared parental leave
You and your partner may wish to consider Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). You can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you. You can use SPL to take leave in blocks separated by periods of work, or take it all in one go. You can also choose to be off work together or to stagger the leave and pay.
To get SPL and ShPP, you and your partner need to:
meet the eligibility criteria
give notice to your employers
The mother must give their employer binding notice of the date when they plan to end any maternity or adoption pay. If they get Maternity Allowance, they must give notice to Jobcentre Plus instead. They cannot restart maternity pay, Maternity Allowance or adoption pay once it’s ended. For full guidance visit the gov.uk website.
It is worth doing your homework and investigating options, as some employers will have favourable terms. For those with partners in the NHS see link on NHS employers’ terms and conditions of service handbook service/section-15-leave-and-pay-for-new-parents-england-wales-and-scotland for further details on shared parental leave and pay (section 15.16 and 15.17).
The new 2020/21 GP Contract Agreement content/uploads/2020/02/update-to-the-gp-contract-agreement-2021-2324.pdf states “We are committed to agreeing arrangements that will allow practices to make a more generous offer of Enhanced Shared Parental Leave to employed GPs, starting as soon as possible in 2020/21”- keep an eye for more details to follow.
For all what you need to do
To receive the above benefits, you must provide your employer with the following notification requirements:
intention to take maternity leave;
date you wish to start maternity leave;
intention to return to work with the same or another NHS employer for at least three months after maternity leave has ended;
a MATB1 form from midwife or GP giving the due date before the end of the 15th week before due date (or if this is not possible, as soon as is reasonably practicable thereafter).
The employer must confirm within 28 days how much SMP you’ll get and when it will start and stop. If they decide you’re not eligible, they must give you form SMP1 within 7 days of making their decision and explain why.
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