Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Fixed Term Contracts and/or funded from external funding sources in relation to Maternity/Adoption/Additional Paternity Leave
1. As the PI/Manager how do I arrange cover?
You will need to consider the best cover arrangements for the particular circumstances and operational requirements. Advice can always be sought from your HR Team Contact. Potential options include: a like for like replacement, reallocating duties amongst the team, or placing the project on hold where appropriate. Any proposed action, where appropriate, may also need to be discussed/agreed with the sponsor.
2. Where can further information/support be gained?
Information is available within the relevant policies, procedures, maternity/adoption toolkits and FAQs available on the Human Resources web pages. Any queries can also be raised with your HR Team contact or Finance team.
3. Will a fixed term contract be extended to cover a period of such absence?
This will be dependent upon whether there is further work/funding to facilitate this. It will be the Manger’s/PI’s responsibility to keep the employee advised as to their situation/any developments.
4. The post is funded by an external sponsor, who will fund the absence if the sponsor is unable to do so?
All eligible employees are entitled to such leave, so the funding, if not available from the sponsor, would be provided via the individual’s departmental/faculty core cost centre (for non research externally funded posts) or the central University research maternity fund (for research funded posts). Should the Manager/PI need to make a claim against the central University research maternity fund or have any queries with regard to specific funding arrangements, s/he should contact their relevant Research Finance team.
5. What amount of leave/pay will I be entitled to?
This will be subject to the terms of each scheme (explained within each relevant policy). Where uncertain the employee should seek further guidance from their HR team contact.
6. If an employee’s fixed term contract comes to an end during a period of leave what is the entitlement to continued leave/pay?
If the employee’s contract is due to expire during the period of leave, and no new contract is available, no undertaking to return will be required and maternity/ adoption or additional paternity leave with pay, where appropriate, under the University schemes will continue until the expiry of the fixed term contract. Thereafter, statutory payments will continue to be paid until the end of the statutory leave paid period.
7. Should an employee’s contract come to an end before they return to work what are their rights in relation to redeployment?
Individuals identified as being at risk of redundancy whilst on maternity/adoption/shared parental leave have protected rights. In such cases further information/advice on redeployment is available from your HR Team contact.
8. What right does an employee on such leave have to return to his/her original role?
An employee who returns to work after a period of ordinary maternity/adoption/shared parental leave is entitled to return to the job s/he occupied immediately before their leave began.
If an employee returns to work after a period of additional maternity/adoption/shared parental leave, they also retain the right to return to work in their original job, unless it is not reasonably practicable - in which case, they have the right to return to another job which constitutes suitable alternative employment.
9. What is classed as a suitable alternative vacancy?
Human Resources shall be responsible for assessing whether a post constitutes suitable alternative employment. In normal circumstances, suitable alternative employment is a position which is offered to a member of staff which is comparable to the terms and conditions of their existing post. Further details can be found within the University’s redeployment policy.
10. What should I as the Manager or PI do if I identify a potential risk of redundancy?
In such a situation the Manager/PI should contact their designated HR Team contact, for advice.
11. What would happen if an individual at risk of redundancy was unsuccessful in finding alternative work via the redeployment register?
In such a situation it is likely that the individual’s employment would be terminated by reason of redundancy. Please refer to the University's Redundancy Procedure.
12. What effect would redundancy have on the ability to claim statutory maternity/adoption/additional paternity pay?
If an employee's job becomes redundant while they are on such leave and still in receipt of statutory pay (e.g.SMP), they will retain entitlement to this for the full statutory period, even if their contract of employment ceases before the end of this. For surrogate parents with a parental order, as there is as yet no statutory entitlements to leave or pay, the university’s provision of the ‘equivalent’ of statutory pay will cease upon leaving the University’s employment.
The right to claim contractual maternity/adoption pay (in excess of the statutory provision) will cease upon termination of the employment contract.
13. If made redundant whilst on such leave and only in receipt of Statutory pay or null pay, will this affect how redundancy pay is calculated?
No. Redundancy pay will be calculated in the normal way based on the individual’s normal weekly pay or average pay prior to the start of his/her leave.