Human Resources

Before Maternity Leave

Please use this toolkit in conjunction with the University’s Maternity Policy which provides greater detail and information.

Your local HR Advisor will also offer individual advice and guidance.

Maternity Policy

All the information you need about leave and pay can be found in the University’s maternity policy.

All pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave regardless of length of service or hours worked.

Guidance for Employees

Guidance for employees is available at the following link:

Guidance for Managers

Guidance for managers is available at the following link:

Eligibility for University of Edinburgh Maternity Pay (UEMP)

You are entitled to UEMP provided that you:

  • Are an employee of the University at your due date
  • Return to work for a minimum of three months after the end of maternity leave

There are 3 University payment options:

Option 1 Weeks 1 - 18 Full Pay (inclusive of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), where applicable)
  Weeks 19 - 39 SMP only (where applicable)
  Weeks 40 – 52 Unpaid
Option 2 Weeks 1 - 9 Full Pay (inclusive of SMP, where applicable)
  Weeks 10 - 27 Half Pay, plus SMP where applicable (capped at normal full pay)
  Weeks 28 - 39 SMP only (where applicable)
  Weeks 40 -52 Unpaid
Option 3 Weeks 1 – 6 SMP - 90% of your average weekly earnings (where applicable)
  Weeks 7 - 39 SMP – the lower of either the standard rate of SMP set by the Government, or 90% of your average weekly earnings (where applicable).
  Weeks 40 – 52 Unpaid

You must notify your local HR team and line manager of your chosen payment option at least 15 weeks prior to your due date.

A maternity pay calculator is available to give you an estimate of the pay you may receive under each option. Please note, this does not take into account tax and pension implications.

Eligibility for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

If you have 26 weeks service with the University at the notification week (i.e. 15 weeks before expected due date/25 weeks pregnant) and have received average earnings over that period which are above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions you will also be entitled to receive SMP.

SMP is payable for 39 weeks at the following rates:

Weeks 1-6 90% of average weekly earnings
Weeks 7–39 either 90% of average weekly earnings or standard rate SMP whichever is lower.

The standard rate SMP is currently £148.68 per week (2019-20).

If you are not entitled to SMP you may still be entitled to Maternity Allowance (MA). Please check the Government website for further information at:


You should forward your MATB1 certificate to your local HR team once you receive it from your GP/Midwife, normally around 20 weeks.  This can be done electronically.

Preparing and Planning for Leave

A work planning template is available to support you and your manager in determining how best to accommodate continuing work needs during your maternity absence and to facilitate and support your effective return to work.

Discuss and agree with your manager how you want to be kept in touch with departmental news and/or changes while you are on leave.

Shared Parental Leave

You may be entitled to Shared Parental Leave. If you would like to curtail your maternity leave and take shared parental leave with your partner, please contact your College/Support Group HR Team (who will notify your Line Manager) giving at least 8 weeks’ written notice of the date on which you intend to bring your maternity leave and pay to an end.