This page will hopefully help answer some of the questions you may have as a new or expectant mother.


‘Maternity Matters’ is the NUT’s comprehensive guide to teachers’ maternity rights, and includes detailed sections on paternity leave and pay and adoption leave and pay.

Important Norfolk County Council info can be found below, including length of service:

P208b Maternity scheme for teachers
P640 New and Expectant Mothers Policy


Norfolk NEU are being informed that returning mothers are finding it harder to get part-time hours and some are not even being offered full days.

Before you make a flexible working request, contact us first. we can help you complete your application.

If your HT asks you what are the benefits/impact of part time working;

  • being an efficient way to keep costs down in areas where you don’t yet need full-time cover
  • increasing recruitment and retention of staff by offering family-friendly working practices
  • being able to show parents that you value having a diverse workforce and ethical employment practices
  • allowing you to bring in highly skilled and experienced staff members even when you have a fixed budget and can’t afford to bring someone in on a full-time basis
  • expanding the pool of potential recruits – part-time work tends to attract parents with younger children and older people, who may not want to work full time but can bring a wealth of skills, experience and expertise
  • increasing the ability of the school to respond to change and peaks of demands – for example, you can use more workers at peak times and extend your operating hours during day
  • helping to reduce the workloads of other workers, eg when you don’t have enough work for a new full-time position but are regularly using overtime to meet demands – this can reduce your overtime costs and help prevent the negative effects of stress and fatigue

Useful Maternity Links

Employers guide

Feeding advice on the NNUH website

Breastfeeding support groups

Breastfeeding rights for return to work

Good advice on medications/beauty treatments/FAQ on breastfeeding with accompanying facebook page


Are supply teachers entitled to occupational maternity pay?

Not normally. Supply teachers are only entitled to statutory maternity pay as they are not able to fulfil the obligation to return to their job (see Burgundy Book definitions in paragraphs 1.1 (a) & 1.2 of Section 2).

Can a teacher commence her maternity leave at any time, including during a period of school closure?

Yes, subject to the automatic trigger in the case of the birth of the child and pregnancy-related sickness absence. It is the teacher who determines when she wants to commence maternity leave, to suit her own wishes.

Can a teacher continue to move up the UPS when they are on maternity leave?

Movement on the upper scale usually depends on two successful performance reviews. If someone is on maternity leave, there may not be sufficient evidence over 2 years to determine this. It would then be necessary to reach a judgement as to whether the teacher has met their performance targets. If a teacher is absent for 2 terms out of 6 then it is likely that a judgement could be made that she had met her performance objectives. However if a teacher is absent for 5 terms out of 6 then it is not likely that there would be enough evidence to say that the teacher had met their objectives.

Do teachers need to give 8 weeks, 28 days or 21 days notice of return to work following maternity?

Under the Work and Families Act 2006 the statutory notice period for early return from leave was extended from 28 days to 8 weeks. Under the Burgundy Book however a teacher only has to give 21 days’ notice (see paragraph 7.1of Section 5). This contractual entitlement over-rides the statutory requirement to give 8 weeks’ notice.

Do all teachers on maternity leave accrue a right to paid annual leave under the Working Time Directive?

Teachers have a statutory right to 24 days leave under the Working Time Regulations. As a result of case law in Gomez, a teacher must be able to take her annual leave at a time separate to her maternity leave. Very often the 24 days entitlement will have been met during school closure periods either before or after her period of maternity leave . Please access LGE advice here 

Does service with another school in a different authority count as continuous service for maternity purposes?

Previous service with a local authority school within the authority will count towards continuous service for SMP entitlements where the LEA has been the employer throughout. Previous continuous service with a local authority school at a different local authority will count for the purposes of Occupational Maternity Pay. Appendix 1 to Employers’ Education Bulletin 503 (Word doc, 30KB) outlines continuous service requirements for maternity purposes.

How do the current statutory maternity provisions vary from what is set out in the Burgundy Book (2000 edition)?

Please see the attached Education Employers’ Bulletin 503 for arrangements brought about by the Work and Families Act 2006 including statutory changes to maternity pay, maternity allowance, adoption pay and the introduction of “keeping in touch” days EEB 503 (, 89KB). Please note that from 4 April 2010 statutory maternity pay (SMP) was increased to £124.88.

If a teacher decides not to return to her job, does she need to repay her entitlement to occupational maternity pay?

Yes, if a teacher does not return to her original post for 13 weeks after maternity leave, she will be required to repay the 12 weeks of half occupational maternity pay. If she knows that she intends to leave she can elect not to receive this payment. It is also at the authority’s discretion whether they reclaim some or all of these payments.

If a teacher falls pregnant during a period of no pay i.e. maternity leave, what will her entitlement be for the subsequent maternity period?

Provided the teacher has sufficient service, she would be entitled to OMP as she will still be considered an employee during her absence and there is no earnings qualification for OMP. She may not be entitled to SMP as she may not have received enough pay during the relevant period to qualify for this (the normal calculation for SMP would apply). If she is entitled to Maternity Allowance, this could be offset against OMP.

If a teacher is not eligible for SMP would she be eligible for Maternity Allowance from the DWP?

The attached link provides information on the conditions for entitlement to maternity allowance.

On return from maternity leave, what constitutes the same job for a teacher in order to retain her 12 weeks’ half occupational maternity pay?

A teacher only has the right to return to her job, in the school in her original post and on the same terms and conditions. This is a right to return to a full time contract if the teacher was originally employed on a full time contract. The teacher has the right to request part time working on their return. The employer must consider the request in accordance with the statutory procedure and provide an appropriate response. The request can only be rejected for one of eight specified business reasons, set out out in the Employment Rights Act 1996. The reasons are set out on the BERR website which provides further background information.

What are the paternity provisions for teachers?

Paternity leave is not referred to in the Burgundy Book. However the teacher may be entitled to statutory paternity leave and pay, in which case they can choose to take one or two weeks’ consecutive leave paid at (currently) £124.88 per week. Please see the attached link for further information.

What is the current occupational maternity entitlement?

Authorities will need to take account of statutory changes to maternity entitlements. The current maternity entitlements are set out in Education Employers’ Bulletin (EEB No.503) dated 20 March 2007 and accompanying appendix. These are:

Teachers with one year’s continuous service with one or more local authorities at the 11th week before the EWC will receive 18 weeks Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP), as follows:

  • 4 weeks at full pay (SMP offset)
  • 2 weeks at 9/10ths of a week’s pay (SMP offset)
  • 12 weeks at half pay (+ SMP)

This will be followed by 21 weeks Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). The remaining 13 weeks leave are unpaid.

The 12 weeks of half occupational maternity pay is only payable on condition that the teacher returns to work for at least 13 weeks (see section 5 of the Burgundy Book).

What notice is a teacher covering maternity entitled to, if the permanent post holder returns early from maternity leave or before the end of term?

If a teacher returns from maternity leave early, the teacher covering her post will be entitled to the notice period specified in her contract. This may be the notice provisions contained within the Burgundy Book or a different notice period specifically provided for in the contract. Alternatively if a school wishes to, they can provide a contract that expires on the postholder’s return from maternity leave.

What should a teacher be paid for KIT days?

The Work and Families Act 2006 provides that a woman can do up to 10 days’ work during her maternity leave without bringing her maternity leave to an end or losing maternity pay. As far as we are aware authorities are adopting different practices with regard to payment for KIT days. BERR (formerly the DTI) provide one option, which is to offset the pay due against the SMP for the week, in their guidance on KIT days.

Issues to take into account when determining pay include the nature of work and duration. We advise that any policy is clear and understood by employees before they do any work and that consideration is given to the impact on lower paid staff if the authority wishes to take advantage of the possible improvements in communication and retention that this initiative may bring. Note that an employee cannot carry out any work during the first two weeks following the birth of the child (the compulsory maternity leave period).

When does SMP start?

The earliest date that maternity leave and, consequently, SMP can start is from the 11th week before the week the baby is due (unless the baby is born before this); the latest date is the day following the birth. If a teacher continues to work after the 11th week before the week her baby is due, she can choose when she wants her SMP and maternity leave to start. However, maternity leave will automatically be triggered by any pregnancy-related absence from the 4th week before the baby is due. Leave and pay will both start on the day following the first day of absence.

Who is responsible for paying occupational maternity pay and SMP if a teacher changes jobs at the end of her maternity leave and returns to a different authority?

If the teacher does not return to her original job then the previous employer is not responsible for continuing to pay her SMP from the date she starts carrying out work for her new employer. She will no longer be entitled to the 12 weeks half occupational maternity pay as she is not returning to her original post as specified in the Burgundy Book. The original authority may at their discretion ask for occupational payments made to be returned.