Maternity Leave Handbook

Guidance for Parents, Before During & After Maternity Leave

This handbook has been developed to provide a comprehensive source of information for parents before, during and after maternity leave. The handbook is supported by a number of policies which are available on the HR website.

Pregnancy and childbirth necessitate a break in employment for parents and the way in which this interruption is managed has important implications for women and their families. As an employer the University recognises the importance of supporting and retaining female staff who take maternity leave, and also the impact that taking time out of the workplace to raise a family can have on the careers of some women. With this in mind, UCC has developed a range of policies and initiatives not only to support women while they are on maternity leave but also to support them upon returning to work and reestablishing their careers whilst simultaneously balancing home/work commitments. 

Downloadable booklet: A Comprehensive Guide to Pregnancy and Maternity at University College Cork

Maternity Leave Checklist

Ensuring your maternity leave is effectively planned and supported requires a number of activities to be undertaken. This checklist aims to support you in planning for your maternity leave. Many of these activities will require close liaison with your manager. It is recommended that you arrange a meeting with your manager as soon as possible to run through each step and to plan accordingly. You may find the Maternity Leave Work Planning Template useful.


Before Maternity Leave

Read the University’s Comprehensive Guide to Pregnancy and Maternity. This provides an overview of the process, the provisions you may be entitled to and what will be required from both you and your manager at different stages of the process.


Notify your line manager of your pregnancy as soon as is reasonably practicable. This will provide more time to consider how to plan for the absence and any ongoing commitments.


Arrange/participate in regular risk assessments (as required) providing any additional information you may have gained from your health visitor/GP.


With your manager, discuss and agree the appropriate communication of your pregnancy with colleagues and key stakeholders.


With your manager, discuss and agree any additional arrangements for during your pregnancy, i.e. antenatal appointments, workload allocation, rest breaks etc.


Ensure you have received completed the relevant forms as advised in the Maternity Leave Policy


Consider maternity leave funding/research council funding extensions, if appropriate.


Consider your maternity leave entitlement and the options for maternity pay and leave.


With your manager, discuss and agree plans for maternity arrangements i.e. cover for you/your workload during your period of leave; and any handover arrangements.


Complete your Maternity Leave 1 Form, and obtain your manager’s signature. Submit this with your ML1 to the Maternity Leave Administrator in HR


With your manager, discuss and agree contact during the leave period.


With your manager, discuss and agree the use of KIT days (Optional).


Discuss with your manager how you may wish to use your annual leave leading up to and/or following your leave period. The expectation is that most annual leave will be taken during the leave year it is accrued, however, some carryover could be agreed by your manager. All requests for annual leave remain subject to the managers approval


Consider availing of Maternity Transition Coaching


For academic staff: Consider the Academic Returners Scheme.


During maternity leave

Maintain the agreed contact with your manager.


If utilised, ensure that KIT days (3 maximum) are used as agreed.


If you wish to alter your return date, ensure you have provided the appropriate notice.


With your manager, discuss and agree the plans for your return to work, e.g. breastfeeding arrangements and risk assessments (if applicable), re-induction, office arrangements, breastfeeding arrangements and workload.


If considering flexible working arrangements following your return to work, allow adequate time to discuss this with your manager and submit the formal application prior to your return.


Consider any additional support you may need upon your return and discuss this with your manager, e.g. the arrangements for your re-induction.


With your manager, consider and identify any potential training requirements for your return.


Consider availing of Maternity Transition Coaching


Confirm your actual return date with your manager, including any annual leave which has been agreed.


Returning to work

Ensure breastfeeding arrangements and risk assessments are in place (if applicable).


Complete appropriate re-induction programme as agreed with your Line Manager


Ensure you receive appropriate updates on new or amended systems of work, and any new members of staff or staff departures.


Arrange regular meetings with your manager to discuss how your return is going.


Review flexible working arrangements, if appropriate.


Consider the wide variety of free Health and Wellbeing services available to staff;


Consider availing of Maternity Transition Coaching



Downloadable version of the checklist: Maternity Leave Checklist for Staff

Staff Wellbeing & Development

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