Our maternity, paternity and adoption policy has been available internally to our team for a while now but we’ve never published it online. Spurred on by this tweet from Louise Parker and the subsequent work done by clockworkTalent, we’re publishing them in full today online so that anyone who is considering applying for a role at Aira now, or in the future, can see exactly what we offer. We believe that we offer a generous package for a company of our size but regularly review every one of our benefits and perks to see what we can do better.
We’ve also added support if anyone or their partner suffers a miscarriage. Thank you to Natasha at Hallam who shared her story here and led the way on this.
This policy sets out key entitlements to maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay. More information about your rights is found on the Government website at www.gov.uk or you can ask us for further information if you need it. We also support shared parental leave, whereby parents of a baby can share up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave between them, as long as they both meet certain eligibility criteria. Because this involves two people (usually working for different employers) the procedure we need to follow is quite complicated, so if you are interested in taking shared parental leave please come and talk to us about it so we can explain how it works.
If you have a baby whilst you are employed by Aira you are entitled to up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave, regardless of how long you have worked for us. You must take at least two weeks, starting the day your baby is born, but how much more you take is entirely up to you. To be entitled to receive Statutory Maternity Pay you need to have worked with us for at least 26 weeks. Statutory Maternity Pay is made up of the following:
- For the first six weeks of your leave, you will receive 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax)
- For the next 33 weeks, you will receive the statutory rate, currently £148.68 per week, or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower)
- You are then entitled to take another 13 weeks (52 in total) unpaid leave
At Aira, we offer a much better maternity pay package based on your length of service at the point you start your maternity leave. The following table shows what we offer.
How it works
When you know you’re pregnant and comfortable sharing the news, tell us and let us know your due date. The sooner you let us know, the sooner we can do a health & safety risk assessment to ensure you are not placed at any risks at work whilst you are pregnant. You need to let us know at the latest 15 weeks before your due date and give us a MAT B1 form that you get from your doctor. We’ll also need to know an approximate date that you’d like your maternity leave to begin. The earliest you can start your maternity leave is 11 weeks before your expected due date.
We will calculate your length of service from your start date at Aira and the date you begin your maternity leave. This will then dictate what your maternity pay will look like.
During your maternity leave, your annual leave entitlement will accrue. At Aira, we offer unlimited holidays but for the purposes of accruing annual leave we use the statutory holiday which is 20 days plus the 8 bank holidays. During your maternity leave, this leave will accrue and you’ll be entitled to take them during the current or next calendar year when you return to work. You may wish to take some holiday before your maternity leave starts or at the end of it before you come back to work.
If you want to, whilst you are on maternity leave, you can come into work for up to 10 days without breaking your maternity leave. These are called ‘Keeping in Touch’ or KIT days. Please speak to us if this is something you would like to do, but there is absolutely no obligation.
If you come back to work within 26 weeks of starting your maternity leave you are entitled to come back to your old job, unless a genuine redundancy situation has arisen (in which case we would have let you know about it whilst you are on maternity leave). If you come back to work after that you are also entitled to your old job back unless there is some other reason why it is not reasonably practicable for this to happen. If that is the case, again unless there has been a genuine redundancy situation, then you are entitled to a similar role upon which the terms and conditions are at least the same as your original job.
As long as you have been employed by us for at least 26 weeks when your partner has a baby you are entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay which means that:
- You can take up to 2 weeks off and earn the statutory paternity rate, currently £148.68 per week, or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).
At Aira, we offer a much better paternity pay package based on your length of service. The following table shows what we offer.
How it works
When you know that you need to take paternity leave, tell us and let us know an approximate date when you expect your leave to begin. This can be flexible and change as the time approaches.
If your partner is giving birth, your leave cannot start before this happens, although we will of course be as flexible as we can.
You are also entitled to take time to accompany your partner (or the surrogate mother) to 2 antenatal appointments. If you’re adopting a child, you can get time off to attend 2 adoption appointments after you’ve been matched with a child.
Your length of service is calculated from your start date at Aira to the date that your paternity leave begins. This will dictate the pay that you receive.
As long as you have been employed by us for at least 26 weeks, prior to any day in the week that you are matched with a child, you are entitled to Statutory Adoption Pay and Leave.
Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks. The weekly amount is:
- 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks
- £151.97 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks
It’s paid in the same way as your monthly wages. Tax and National Insurance will be deducted.
You may take up to 52 weeks leave when you adopt a child, however the leave after 39 weeks will be unpaid.
At Aira, we offer a much better adoption pay and leave package based on your length of service. The following table shows what we offer.
How it works
If you are going through the adoption process and things are looking positive in regard to becoming matched with a child, you can decide to tell us if you want to so that we’re aware of potential leave. However, we do need at least 28 days’ notice before you want to be paid Statutory Adoption Pay, unless the time between the child being matched and placed is less than that. Whatever the age of the child that you’re matched with, the process and our policy is the same.
Within 7 days of being matched with a child, you need to tell us:
- How much leave you’d like to take
- The start date of your leave
- The ‘date of placement’ – the expected or actual date the child is placed with you
You will also need to provide proof of adoption in order to qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay. You should provide:
- The name and address of the adoption agency
- The date the child was matched, for example the matching certificate
- The expected or actual date of placement, for example a letter from the agency
- The relevant UK authority’s ‘official notification’ confirming the parent is allowed to adopt (overseas adoptions only)
- The date the child arrived in the UK, for example a plane ticket (overseas adoptions only)
You can also get paid time off work to attend 5 adoption appointments after you’ve been matched with a child.
If you use a surrogate to have a baby, you should tell us the expected due date and when you want to start your leave at least 15 weeks before the expected week of birth.
Mutual benefits and perks
When you start your maternity, paternity or adoption leave, Aira will give you a one-off cash payment (which will be subject to deductions for tax in the normal way) to use as you see fit for any reason to help with your childcare or adjusting to parenthood. This payment will depend on your length and service and will be as follows:
You can use the budget as you see fit on any of the following areas:
- Funding a tax-free childcare voucher account
- Open and make a payment into a Junior ISA for your child: https://www.gov.uk/junior-individual-savings-accounts
- A subscription to Gousto, Hello Fresh or an order from Cook to fill your freezer with nice food
- Shopping vouchers for baby products
- Money for house cleaning
If both parents work for Aira then we only make one payment and you can decide whether to receive half each or whether to pay it to one parent. If you receive a payment from us and you do not return to us after your maternity or paternity leave, or if you do return but leave us within three months of your return then we reserve the right to ask you to pay the money back in full. We will ask you to sign a simple form to confirm our arrangement before we make the payment to you.
In addition, if you would like, we will arrange for up to two sessions from our mental health coach who will visit you at home within six months of your child being born. This is open to you and / or your partner.
If your partner would like a session with Christelle, please inform us so that we can arrange this directly with her – you can’t use the Sanctus booking portal for your partner.
If the worst was to happen and you or your partner suffers a miscarriage, we want to support you by offering the following:
- Up to ten days paid compassionate leave so that you and your partner can take time together away from work.
- Paid leave for any medical appointments that you or your partner attend.
- Up to two days paid leave when menstruation returns after the event.
- We can also discuss a phased return to work if you would like to split the compassionate leave and take it over the course of a few weeks.
- We can also arrange for a private session with Christelle from Sanctus for your partner or a joint session for both of you.
How it works
We will arrange for any or all of the support above that you request. You will need to inform either your line manager or a member of the Leadership team so that they can help. You can inform us in whichever way is easiest for you at the time, whether that be text, email or phone call. Once you’ve done this, we will arrange for the support that you’d like. We can keep everything confidential and a limited number of the senior team will be aware so that they can facilitate the support.
If you, or your partner would like to speak with Christelle for mental health support, please inform us and we can arrange this directly with her. You’re not able to use the Sanctus booking portal for your partner. We can also arrange for a joint session too.