Why are maternity leaves for Faculty and Staff handled differently ?
When staff go on maternity leave, the incurred replacement costs are funded from the scheme. An automatic payment is made to the School when a faculty member goes on maternity leave. The different treatment is because it is frequently not realistic to replace the research aspect of an academic's role and so it may be appropriate to provide extended teaching replacement. An automatic payment provides flexibility to a Head in meeting the requirements of the school and of the returning faculty member.
How much is the automatic payment when a faculty member goes on maternity leave ?
From January 2021 €46,000 is transferred to the school when a faculty member goes on maternity leave [as triggered by the submission of a maternity replacement Online Hiring Form]. Formerly the Social Costs scheme set a cap for replacement costs of faculty maternity leaves at the midpoint of the Assistant Professor scale. Broadly, the €46,000 has been set as the maximum formerly paid, taking into account holiday and other leave and an assumption that non-core employer's costs will be due. This amount is in addition to the €500 grant that will be also be given to the Shool/Unit, to assist an employee returning from Maternity/Adoptive leave, as described below.
How is the automatic payment initialised?
The automatic payment is initialised by the completion of the Online Hiring Form (OHF). The form should be completed as a Maternity Replacement and the Job Number should be included on the OHF prior to the authorisation process stating. Completed OHF Materenity replacements transfers to schools are completed quarterly in Mid December, March, June and September. If there is no OHF replacement then a manual claim should be submitted via your Finance Manager
Is there a grant to assist employees returning from Maternity/Adoptive leave?
Social fund payments to Schools and Units will automatically incorporate an additional €500 to assist employees returning from Maternity/Adopotive leave. Schools/Units will liase locally with employees regarding availing of the grant. The grant will normally be availed of in the 12-18 month period following the return from Maternity/Adoptive leave and will be specificaly for the purpose of putting supports in place to faciltate the transition of the employee back into the work place and re-establish their careers.
What if a staff maternity leave replacement is for a longer period e.g. to cover unpaid leave ?
A unit is free to appoint staff maternity leave replacements for longer than the period of statutory paid leave, but only the period of statutory paid leave will be covered from the fund. The unit rather than the fund will bear the costs of any replacement for the period replacing unpaid leave.
What if the maternity leave replacement for a staffmember is at a higher or lower cost than the person going on leave (the incumbent) ?
Generally, a replacement will be on the same scale as the incumbent, and the actual costs of the replacement will be covered. Due to differences in points on scale, these costs may be a little higher or a little lower than the incumbent’s costs. Different versions of scales (e.g. pre-95 and post-95) will be treated for the purposes of the scheme as the same scale.
What if the replacement for a staff member on maternity leave is appointed to a different scale?
Where a replacement is appointed to a different scale, at a lower cost, the cost of replacement will be paid automatically. If special additional circumstances apply and are agreed in advance with the College Principal or Vice President, a supplementary manual claim may be submitted.
The total payment will be capped at the cost of the incumbent for the period of paid statutory leave.
Where a replacement is appointed to a different scale, at a higher cost, the incumbent’s costs will be paid automatically. The payment from the fund will be capped at the incumbent’s costs and it is not envisaged that any supplementary manual claim will be paid. Similar considerations apply where either the incumbent or replacement is appointed on a nonscale basis.
How will Annual Leave and Public Holidays be treated ?
Annual Leave accrues during the period of statutory paid maternity leave and is generally taken immediately after the period of statutory leave. Annual Leave and public holidays will generally accrue both for the incumbent and for the replacement and so it is appropriate that the fund will cover this period of leave in addition to the strict statutory paid leave period.
While the exact number of leave days and public holidays may differ a little from case to case, a period of 3 weeks is considered to be a practical average. The statutory leave period will therefore be deemed to be 29 weeks (26 strict statutory plus 3 weeks leave/public holidays) when calculating payments under the Scheme.
What about the State Maternity pay ?
The Maternity Benefit payable by the university to an individual is, in almost all cases, reduced by the amount of Social Welfare Maternity Benefit. The cost will therefore be deemed to be reduced by Social Welfare Maternity Benefit when calculating payments under the Scheme. If deduction of the Social Welfare Maternity Benefit does not apply to the incumbent, or if any additional special circumstances apply, they should be the subject of a manual claim.
What will happen if a maternity leave replacement is not a straightforward 1 for 1 replacement, e.g. if Tutors or Occasional Lecturers are deployed as part of the replacement ?
The scheme aims to allow schools and support units to fully relieve members of staff on maternity leave of their operational responsibilities, and it is expected that generally a direct replacement will be made. However, in exceptional circumstances it may be appropriate to partially replace maternity leave via a post and to supplement this in another manner. Heads of School or Support Unit, working in association with HR Partners, are in the best position to take account of local circumstances in replacing staff on maternity leave. Such plans must be agreed in advance with College Principals.
It is not possible for such costs to be taken into account as part of the automatic payment; where applicable they should be the subject of a supplementary manual claim. Manual claims must be submitted by College Principals /Vice Presidents and will confirm that the Principal/VP is satisfied that the cost is an appropriate maternity leave replacement cost, that it complies with the Social Costs Scheme and that it has been incurred. As stated above, claims will be capped and the cap refers to the totality of payments for a maternity leave replacement, regardless of whether the payments are made automatically in advance, in arrears following a manual claim, or both.