Family Leave policy

Family Leave policy 

Last updated 8/6/2021

Here at Tesco we aim to promote an inclusive culture and provide appropriate support to anyone who wishes to start a family. We have policies in place to support parents and caregivers, both primary and secondary. The support we offer is irrespective of gender or sexual orientation or how a colleague chooses to start a family. One of our primary aims is to enable all our colleagues to feel supported to start a family at any stage of their career. To better support people financially, we offer maternity and paternity packages that go beyond statutory requirements.

 Maternity

a) Health & Safety

As soon as a colleague feels comfortable to do so, they are encouraged to inform their manager they are pregnant. This is important as there may be some health & safety considerations to make around their role. Once the manager is informed that the colleague is pregnant, they will carry out a health and safety risk assessment with the colleague. This is to identify any potential hazards associated with the role and so the manager can let them know of any concerns they may have. Depending on the role and responsibilities, the manager may need to adjust the role whilst the colleague is pregnant. We will always work with the colleague to find a solution. As the colleague’s pregnancy progresses their health situation can change. It’s important for the colleague to let their manager know if it does and to review the risk assessment with them regularly.

b) Antenatal appointments

If the colleague has an antenatal appointment during working time, they must let their manager know when they have an appointment. They may ask to see a copy of the appointment card so that time off can be recorded correctly on payroll.

c) Performance

We will continue to manage performance in the normal way. This includes regular open and honest conversations, progress reviews, career discussions and supporting performance where appropriate.

d) Ill-health

All sickness should be reported in line with the normal absence processes and any sickness, including pregnancy related sickness, is managed in line with our normal absence processes

e) Travel

The likelihood of needing medical attention can be greater during pregnancy and we will not ask the colleague  to travel to any area where medical services will be of doubtful quality or where language or cultural differences may make diagnosis or treatment more difficult.

f) Notice to take maternity leave

The colleague should provide their MatB1 form and ‘Notification of Maternity Leave’ form to their manager no later than 15 weeks’ before the due date. If this is not possible, they should inform us as soon as they are able to. We require 28 days’ notice if the colleague  would like to change the start date of their maternity leave.

g) Miscarriage and stillbirth

We aim to be as flexible as possible to all colleagues who need to be away from work at such a difficult time. We take each colleague’s personal circumstances into consideration to allow them a reasonable amount of time away from work. There is no set limit to the amount of time that can be taken off for bereavement leave, as it will depend on individual circumstances.

As a general rule we will pay for five days (pro rata) bereavement leave for colleagues who have unfortunately suffered a miscarriage at less than 24 weeks pregnancy. Ten days (pro-rata) parental bereavement leave paid at contractual pay is available to parents and primary carers who lose a child through still birth after the 24th week of pregnancy. Any time taken off after the initial five/ten days will normally be processed as unpaid bereavement leave. In exceptional circumstances payment can also be extended. Colleagues are advised to speak with their manager to confirm what options may be available for them.

What maternity leave can a colleague expect?

Colleagues are legally obliged to take the first 2 weeks immediately after the birth of their baby. The earliest a colleague can start their maternity leave is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. The latest a colleague can start maternity leave is their due date. If a colleague’s baby is born before the due date colleagues can work right up to the day the baby is born. If the colleague is in a period of holiday when their baby is born, their holiday will end and their maternity leave will start. If the colleague gives birth before their maternity leave start date, they will need to inform their manager know as soon as they can. Should  the baby arrive early and the colleague hasn’t yet provided their manager with their MATB1, it is possible to provide a letter from their  doctor or midwife, or a copy of the  baby’s birth certificate in order to start Statutory Maternity Pay. We assume that the colleague will take their full entitlement to maternity leave. If the colleague would like to return earlier, they will need to provide at least eight weeks’ notice of their preferred return date. Details on the amount of leave a colleague can take can be found in our internal colleague policies and can be discussed with a manager.

Is a colleague entitled to maternity pay?

The amount of maternity pay a colleague is entitled to will depend on: Their  length of service and If they pay tax or National Insurance during a specific eight week period we use to calculate pay (known as the qualifying period) Payroll will calculate what maternity pay the colleague is entitled to and will write confirming this once the colleague has started their maternity leave. The colleague may be contacted while on maternity leave, as indicated on the ‘Notification of Maternity Leave’ form. Please note that the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), are set by the government and subject to change: information on these values can be found at https://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave. Details on the amount of leave and pay the colleague is entitled to including what is available above the statutory minimum can be found in our internal colleague policies and by speaking with to a manager.

Can a colleague work while on maternity leave?

a) Keeping in Touch days

Whilst a colleague is on leave, they are still part of the Tesco team. The colleague’s manager will want to stay in touch to make sure the colleague feels this way and to keep them up to date with any team or business news. The colleague will need to inform their manager of how to contact them while away and how often. Colleagues can complete this on the Notification of Maternity forms. Colleagues will have ‘Keep in Touch’ (KIT) days to use while on maternity leave as agreed with their manager.

b) Right to work

If a colleague has limited leave to remain and work in the UK and this is due to expire while they are on maternity leave, we will write to the colleague to inform them that they will need to provide new documentation and attend a meeting.

Can a colleague take shared parental leave?

Shared parental leave is time off work that’s designed to give a colleague more flexibility in how to share the care of their child in the first year. If a colleague takes shared parental leave they would opt out of maternity leave and into shared parental leave. A colleague can share leave (they need to have at least 2 weeks off work after the birth of their baby) with their partner. If the colleague qualifies for shared parental leave then there are forms that will be required to submit at least 8 weeks before they wish to take leave.

If a colleague is pregnant whilst on maternity leave, will they be eligible for further maternity leave and pay?

Colleagues are entitled to maternity leave for each pregnancy, and there is no qualifying period for maternity leave.

What happens when a colleague returns to work?

Legally a colleague cannot return to work in the first two weeks following the birth of their baby. If they would like to return to work, they will need to provide their manager with at least eight weeks’ notice of their preferred return date. This same notice applies if a colleague chooses to opt into shared parental leave.

a) Health and Safety Risk Assessment

If a colleague returns to work within six months of having a baby or while they are breastfeeding, we will conduct a further health and safety risk assessment on the day they return to work.

b) Annual health checks

The colleague will be invited to an annual health check, by the NHS, once their child turns one, and again when they turn two. We will try and move the colleague’s shifts around or enable them to make up the hours to accommodate these appointments.

c) Breastfeeding

If a colleague returns to work and they are still breastfeeding or wish to express milk, we will ensure that they have a private and comfortable room or space to do so.

Paternity

What’s paternity leave?

Paternity leave is time off that a colleague can take after the birth of their baby or placement of their adopted child. Paternity leave is available to parents of either sex, to same sex partners and to those that are non-binary. One partner could have adoption or maternity leave, and one could have paternity leave.

Primary parent means the: birth parent, primary adopter and primary legal parent (for parents following a surrogacy arrangement).

Co-parent, means the: other biological parent of the child, secondary adopter, marital partner of the primary parent, civil partner of the primary parent and partner of the primary parent (living with the primary parent and child in an enduring family relationship, including same sex couples, but is not an immediate relative of the birth parent i.e. child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew).

Who’s this policy for?

If a colleague’s partner is having a baby, adopting a child or having a child through a surrogacy arrangement, this policy can provide the colleague with the key facts around paternity leave.

Who is eligible for paternity leave?

The amount of paternity pay a colleague is entitled to will depend on their length of service. Payroll will calculate what paternity pay they are entitled to and will write to the colleague confirming this. If the baby is born early, the leave may be taken from the child’s actual date of birth and up to 56 days after the expected date of birth. Please note that a colleague can only take one period of paternity leave, regardless of how many children are born or adopted at the same time. The colleague must also still be employed up until the date the baby is born/the adoption placement date. To be eligible for paternity leave, they also need to be in a “qualifying relationship”. This means being a co-parent. More than one person can have a “qualifying relationship” with the primary parent. For example, where the other biological parent of the child and the primary parent’s partner are different people, both individuals might be eligible to time off. Additionally, the colleague may have a “qualifying relationship” with more than one primary parent and be entitled to time off with both people. The colleague  also must have (or expect to have) responsibility for the upbringing of the child (in partnership with their partner) and be taking the time off in order to support the primary parent and/or care for the new child. If a colleague is not entitled to paid paternity leave from us, they are encouraged to speak with their manager about taking holiday or unpaid parental leave.

What’s paternity pay?

If a colleague meets all eligibility requirements for paternity leave and they earn equal to or above the lower earnings limit (LEL) in the two pay periods that take place prior to the qualifying week, known as the qualifying period, they are eligible for paternity pay. Please note that the LEL and SPP, referred to above, are values set by the government and subject to change. Information on these values can be found at https://www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave. Details on the amount of leave and pay a colleague is  entitled to including what is available above the statutory minimum can be found in our internal colleague policies or by speak with a manager.

How does a colleague inform the business that they wish to take paternity leave?

Colleagues are required to complete the Notification of Paternity Leave form and give it to their manager 15 weeks before the baby’s due date. If a colleague is adopting, they must provide their manager the Notification of Paternity Leave form within 7 days (if possible) of being notified of your match with a child. The notice can be varied if necessary, so long as 28 days’ notice is given wherever possible.

Can a colleague take shared parental leave?

Shared parental leave is time off work that’s designed to give parents more flexibility in how to share the care of your child in the first year. You can still take paternity leave (depending on what you are eligible for), before joining the shared parental leave scheme. If you qualify for shared parental leave then there are forms that you need to submit at least 8 weeks before you wish to take leave. You can take time off together with your partner, or at separate times. Shared parental leave must be taken in blocks of at least one week and can start on any day. You can apply for one block of continuous leave or several blocks of discontinuous leave. Discontinuous leave can either be requested in a single notice to your manager, or through three separate notices to book three separate periods of leave. For more details about shared parental leave and how to apply for it, please see the Shared Parental Leave Policy.

What happens to a colleague’s benefits when on paternity leave?

The majority of a colleague’s benefits will remain unchanged whilst on paternity leave or shared parental leave. Further information on how benefits are affected whilst on shared parental leave  can be found on the Maternity Benefits internal page.

Careers

When a colleague is on paternity leave or shared parental leave, they will be included in any talent conversations, where appropriate. We look after returners and will consider retraining, job shadowing, handovers etc. where appropriate to facilitate a smooth return to work.

What is a colleague entitled to in the case of a miscarriage, stillbirth or placement fail?

Should a colleague and their partner sadly experience a miscarriage, stillbirth or adoption placement fail, we are able to offer them support. We take each colleague’s personal circumstances into consideration to allow them a reasonable amount of time away from work. There is no set limit to the amount of time that can be taken off for bereavement leave, as it will depend on individual circumstances.

As a general rule we will pay for five days (pro rata) bereavement leave for colleagues who’s partners have unfortunately suffered a miscarriage at less than 24 weeks pregnancy. Ten days (pro-rata) parental bereavement leave is available to parents and primary carers who unfortunately lose a child through still birth after the 24th week of pregnancy. Any time taken off after the initial five/ten days will normally be processed as unpaid bereavement leave. In exceptional circumstances payment can also be extended.