Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding equality in the workplace. Just click the title of each section to see more.
When do I have to notify the force that I am pregnant?
You have to notify the force 28 days before you intend to commence your maternity leave however the force does have an obligation under health and safety legislation to carry out risk assessments on pregnant workers and this cannot be done until you notify them. Also you will probably need to tell the force in order for them to accommodate any antenatal appointments or any other support that may be needed.
When should I commence my maternity leave?
Maternity leave can be taken at any time commencing 6 months before the probable birth date to 12 months after the stated probable date of birth up to a maximum of 15 months in total.
For pay purposes it is best to start your maternity leave on a Sunday, because if you start your maternity leave on a Monday you are deemed to have been available for work on the Sunday and therefore not eligible for state benefits that week. You will also need to consider this when returning to work as if you are deemed to have worked part of a week you will lose your SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) for that week. This does not however apply to KIT (Keeping in touch) days.
How do I qualify for maternity leave?
All policewomen are entitled to take maternity leave irrespective of their length of service. You can choose when and how much maternity leave to take. Maternity leave can be taken at any time from 6 months before the expected date of birth to twelve months after, within a maximum maternity period of 15 months. Maternity leave will commence on the day you notify you wish it to start but it can be no later than the date given as the probable date of birth.
How do I qualify for maternity pay?
To qualify for Police Maternity Pay (PMP) you must have 63 weeks continuous service at the beginning of the week (Sunday) that your baby is expected. PMP is full pay for the first 13 weeks of your maternity leave. You may also be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and to qualify for this you must have completed 26 weeks continuous service at the ‘qualifying week’. The qualifying week commences on the Sunday, 15 weeks before the week the baby is due.
Providing you qualify officers will receive their 13 weeks PMP followed by 26 weeks Statutory Maternity Pay.
If you do not qualify for PMP or SMP you may be entitled to Maternity Allowance, paid directly by the Benefits Agency.
Can I take my maternity leave in more than one block?
Yes, you can take your maternity leave in one or more blocks of leave provided you give the required notice.
What duties should I do when I am pregnant?
The force is required to undertake a risk assessment on the job you are doing. If they identify any risk to you they must tell you what the risk is. Once you have notified the force you are pregnant your line manager must conduct continuous risk assessments throughout your pregnancy. You should be given the opportunity to discuss the risk assessment with your line manager and your medical advisors. If you cannot continue in your present work, the force must consider altering the work so that the risk is removed or find alternative work for you to do. If they are unable to find you another job they must place you on paid leave.
If you wish to remain on certain duties, the force should not remove you from them without first undertaking a proper risk assessment (which may include seeking medical advice).
Should I work nights or shifts?
If your doctor, midwife or health visitor certifies that it would endanger your health or that of your child, then you should not work nights and/or shifts.
Can I be required to continue on operational duties when I become pregnant?
In many circumstances operational duties will pose particular risks for a pregnant woman. Forces must undertake a risk assessment and discuss the risks with you. You should discuss those risks with your doctor. As previously stated if there are risks associated with your role the force may remove those risks from your role or offer you a restricted duties role.
Can I stay on operational duties if I want to?
This depends on the risks that have been identified by the risk assessment in your particular circumstances. The force should not make any “Knee jerk” or “blanket” decisions about your duties without doing a risk assessment, discussing it with you, obtaining medical advice and allowing you to discuss the issues with your medical advisors. There should be an opportunity for you to come to an agreement with the force in the full knowledge of your and their concerns. There may be parts of the job that could be removed that would enable you to continue doing the main duties of the role.
Can I be removed from training when I am pregnant?
This will depend on the nature of the training. If risks have been identified by the risk assessment but you are keen to continue with the training, the force should consider whether there are any reasonable adjustments that could be made to the training programme which would allow you to continue without having to cease the training altogether. For example, if part of the training involved vigorous role plays, it might be possible for you to continue the training by watching the role plays rather than taking part in them.
Will I lose any of my pay or benefits if I go onto restricted duties?
Your pay and most benefits will be protected whilst you are pregnant and remain at work, however benefits such as SPP may be lost if you are moved to perform a role which does not attract an SPP.
Am I entitled to more frequent rest breaks?
Yes, you will need to agree timing and frequency of rest breaks with the force as part of the risk assessment process.
I am a student officer. Am I entitled to take maternity leave and what will happen to my probation?
You are entitled to the same maternity leave as any other officer. You will also be entitled to SMP and PMP provided the criteria are met as at question 4.
As regards the period of your probation, the force is able to extend probation if it is not satisfied that you have required the skills to be confirmed in post. If you have just a few weeks left of your probation and you have been doing well in your assessments, the force may well confirm you in post. If you have not served for very long and have not completed your assessments or SOLAP then you will not have reached the required standard and the force is likely to extend your probation.
If I take unpaid maternity leave what happens with my pension?
The first 26 weeks of maternity leave is always pensionable even if unpaid. In addition all periods of paid maternity leave PMP and SMP are pensionable. Unpaid maternity leave after the first 26 weeks will also be pensionable providing you elect to pay the pension contributions you would have paid during this period within 3 months of returning to work and complete payment within 6 months.
Your pension contributions will be based upon the pay you received prior to going onto nil pay. This will normally be the percentage of pension contributions current at the time based on the SMP amount. You should contact the pension department if you wish to avail yourself
What happens if I become sick whilst I am pregnant prior to my maternity leave starting?
You are entitled to take sick leave before maternity leave starts. This will not affect your entitlement to maternity leave unless your sickness is pregnancy related and it is within the 4 weeks before the EWC (Expected week of confinement) in which case your SMP will automatically start.
What happens if I become sick during maternity leave?
You are not entitled to take sick leave during maternity leave. You can however give notice that you wish to come back from maternity leave and then immediately commence a period of sick leave. You must give at least 21 days notice of this. This could be of benefit to you if you are on unpaid maternity leave and you are entitled to full sick pay or half sick pay. However you will need to remember that any sick leave which is not pregnancy related will form part of the forces ‘Attendance Standard’ and all sick leave will be included for the purposes of any unsatisfactory attendance procedures.
What happens to my annual leave when I am on maternity leave?
Your annual leave accrues whilst you are on maternity leave. You are entitled to carry forward 5 days leave (40 hours) from one leave year to the next. In exceptional circumstances you can carry forward more at the discretion of the Chief Superintendent or Head of Department. Many pregnant mothers either take AL prior to going onto maternity leave, resume from maternity leave onto AL and then go back onto maternity leave or add periods of AL to the end of their maternity leave.
I receive rent/housing allowance, what will happen to this when I am on maternity leave?
You will continue to receive your rent/housing allowance whilst you are on paid maternity leave. You will not receive this allowance when you are on unpaid maternity leave. You retain the right to receive this allowance on your return to work. If you take unpaid maternity leave and your partner or husband is a serving officer and is also in receipt of the allowance then they are entitled to have their allowance increased whilst you remain on unpaid maternity leave.
What happens when I want to return to work?
You must give 21 days notice in writing of your intention to return to work, unless you are returning at the end of the maternity leave period. The force should undertake a risk assessment of the role they are expecting you to undertake when you return in the same way as they are required to undertake a risk assessment when you are pregnant. You can change your date of return at any time provided you give the required notification.
Will I get a maternity uniform?
At the moment the force is looking at bringing in a new maternity uniform but in the meantime you can obtain a small allowance to purchase certain items of clothing.
Do I have to attend court whilst I am on maternity leave?
Yes. Unless a doctor certifies that you are not fit enough to attend. If you are required to attend whilst on PMP your police paid maternity leave will be extended by the period that you were required to attend but this will not extend your SMP period. If you are in receipt of SMP you will lose the whole of your SMP for that week unless you use a KIT day. It will depend on the length of time that you are required to attend at court as to whether it is best to use a KIT day or resume from maternity leave and then go back onto maternity leave after you have attended at court. You will be paid for the days that you work.
Will I be entitled to parental leave?
Yes, all parents are entitled to parental leave totalling 13 weeks unpaid leave for each child below the age of 5 years and 18 weeks for parents of a disabled child up to the age of 18 years.
I am considering adopting a child; will I be entitled to paid leave?
In addition to 13 weeks police paid adoption leave adopters are eligible for up to a further 26 weeks Statutory Adoption Leave paid at Statutory Adoption Pay rate. SAP is equivalent to the lower rate of Statutory Maternity Pay. In order to qualify for this you must have completed 26 weeks service by the end of the week that they notify you that you have been placed with a child. You can then also take a further 13 weeks Statutory Additional Adoption Leave which is unpaid. Any paid leave taken is reckonable for service. For part time officers the pay for each paid leave is pro rata.
Am I able to move to part time duties when I return from my maternity leave?
You may request to work part time at any time during your service. The force must treat your application seriously and consider whether you can work in your current post on a part time basis or whether there is some other post that you could undertake part time. The Force should provide you with reasonable operational reasons why you cannot work part time. Probationers can also work part time, although their probation period may be extended and particular periods e.g. some periods of training may have to be undertaken on a full time basis. If your application is approved it is best to move to part time when you return to duty from maternity leave, not before or during your maternity leave because your circumstances may change whilst you are on maternity leave. Look on the website for further details on part time.
What happens if I have negotiated and it has been agreed that I will return from maternity leave as a part time officer but on that day I am sick?
If you have been appointed to part time hours on a particular date, you will go onto the part time pay that you would have been paid had you been available to work. Also the force’s attendance standard would apply in the same way.
Can I be recalled to duty during my maternity leave?
Yes, but this should be for exceptional reasons only, such as court duty. Unless a doctor certifies that you are unfit you must attend. You should not be recalled during the first two weeks immediately following the birth. Attendance at court as a police witness is treated as ‘duty time’.
Are there any special arrangements if I am still breastfeeding when I return to work?
A risk assessment must be carried out to identify whether there are any particular risks for you as a breastfeeding mother from the workplace or from the role that it is proposed that you perform. Before you return to work you should discuss this with the force. If you wish to continue to breast feed after you return to work you should expect to be provided with hygienic, private (i.e. screened and lockable) facilities and appropriate storage facilities for expressed milk. The protections of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 extend to breast feeding workers. Also the UK Government is a signatory to a declaration, which supports breastfeeding and seeks to encourage the development of facilities to allow for breastfeeding or expressing milk.
Should I be required to return to operational duties when I am breastfeeding?
This depends on the risks that have been identified by the risk assessment in your particular circumstances. Again the force should not make any “knee-jerk” or “blanket’ decisions about your duties without doing a risk assessment, discussing it with you, obtaining medical advice and allowing you to discuss the issues with your medical advisors. There are different potential risks for a breastfeeding mother, in comparison with a pregnant woman and the risk assessment should reflect this. The possible risks could include an increased risk of exposure to dangerous chemicals or other noxious substances, a possible inability to express milk at regular intervals in a safe and hygienic environment and the practical difficulties associated with wearing a protective vest and increased fatigue and stress.
What facilities should the force provide if I am still breastfeeding when I return to work?
You should have access to a private and hygienic room in which to rest and express milk. Cool facilities should also be available for you to store breast milk securely until you leave work.
How long can I breast feed after I return to work?
This is a matter for you to discuss with your line manager. The exact legal position is unclear but you should not suffer less favourable or discriminatory treatment because of your desire to breast feed. The force will look at health recommendations and your own personal circumstances.
What happens if the baby dies or is classed as a still-birth?
If a baby sadly dies after the 24th week of pregnancy, police women are still entitled to their full maternity leave and maternity pay.
Do I continue to pay Federation subscriptions when I am on maternity leave?
Federation subscriptions are not required to be paid whilst on unpaid maternity leave. However contributions to member services such as, Life insurance, private health insurance, friendly societies, PMAS, credit unions etc will usually continue whilst on paid maternity leave but you should check as this may depend on the terms of the scheme. You will need to make arrangements to maintain cover whilst on unpaid maternity leave. Contact the Federation Office and police pay section for further information.
How do you qualify to be classed as disabled under the Equality Act?
This applies to people who have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term adverse impact on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities which has lasted or is likely to last for 12 months or more.
How do I get myself registered at work as falling under the Equality Act for Disability?
You will need to liaise with your HR Manager of your particular cluster, who makes the decision as to whether your condition falls under the Equality Act. Usually you will be assessed by Occupation Health who will advise the HR Manager so that they can make their decision. Their decision will be based on the information from the officer, healthcare professionals (both within and outside the force) and other appropriate sources. Some conditions are automatically classified under this legislation but these are normally very serious conditions.
If you have a disability under the Equality Act and are sick in relation to your disability, does this sick period count towards the attendance standard?
Not if you are applying for another role or promotion etc. However it does count for the purposes of the Unsatisfactory Attendance Procedures.
What reasonable adjustments does the force have to make if I fall under the legislation?
The force should look at the role you perform and see if they can make some adjustment so that you can continue to perform that role and not be disadvantaged. E.g. different chair or computer, refraining from night working, no confrontational duties etc. In some cases it may even be a change in role. A risk assessment should be carried out which will help to decide where reasonable adjustments should be made. The approach should be to fit the job around the officer, not the officer around the job. Each case should be dealt with on an individual basis and emphasis should be placed on what the officer can do rather than what the officer cannot do. Redeployment should only be considered as an option when no further reasonable adjustments to policies, practices, procedures or physical features can be made in the officer’s existing role or unit.
What is meant by day to day activities?
Day to day activities is just that. Can you do the things that you would normally expect to be able to do e.g., carry groceries, mow the lawn, vacuum up etc?
Can I still be action planned if I am covered by the Equality Act?
Yes, this would be under the Unsatisfactory Attendance Procedures. The equality legislation is there to assist people to come to work and perform a role. It is not there to allow people
extra time off although in some cases this may be classed as a reasonable adjustment.
What can I do if the force will not make reasonable adjustments?
You need to speak with your Federation Representative as the force has a duty to make reasonable adjustments. If you feel a reasonable adjustment could be made but has not been, the force would have to be able to justify this. An example of this could be the fact that to make the reasonable adjustment would be too costly.
If your Federation Representative believed that the force was not being reasonable then they might obtain some legal advice on your behalf.
What is Disability Related Leave?
This is where an officer as part of their treatment for a disability, is allowed time off during working hours for things such as therapy, hospital appointments, rehabilitation, assessment, or treatment. It is reasonable that an officer be allowed this type of leave as it is part of managing their disability and plays an important part in keeping them fit for their role. Disability related leave might be considered as a ‘reasonable adjustment’.
Definition of Disability
The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.
In addition HIV, Multiple Sclerosis and cancer are defined as disabilities even if they do not have an impact on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.
Direct Disability Discrimination occurs where, because of a disability, a Force treats an officer less favourably than it treats another officer or would treat another officer. It also covers instances where the less favourable treatment is because of the officer’s association with someone who has that characteristic (for example, he/she has a disabled son), or because the officer is wrongly thought (or perceived) to have a disability. Direct discrimination cannot be justified.
Indirect Disability Discrimination
Indirect disability discrimination occurs if a provision, criterion or a practice that the Force applies to everyone particularly disadvantages people with a particular disability compared with people who do not have that disability, and it cannot be shown to be justified as being a proportionate
Discrimination Arsing From A Disability
Discrimination arising from disability occurs when a disabled officer is treated unfavourably because of something connected with his or her disability (not the disability itself) and the unfavourable treatment cannot be justified as being a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Discrimination arising from disability will not be unlawful if the Force can show that it did not know, and could not be reasonably expected to know, that the officer was disabled.
The duty to make reasonable adjustments arises where a provision, criterion, or practice applied by the Force, any physical feature of work premises (including fixtures, fittings and entrance points) or the absence of an auxiliary aid puts a disabled officer/job applicant at a substantial disadvantage when compared with those who are not disabled. The duty requires Forces to take positive steps to ensure that disabled people can access and progress in employment and allows the provision of better treatment (positive discrimination) for disabled officers to which non-disabled officers are not entitled.
When deciding what are reasonable steps for a Force to have to take, a Tribunal might take the following factors into account: the extent to which an adjustment would alleviate the disadvantage, the practicalities, the cost and potential disruption of making the adjustment, whether financial or other assistance may be externally available and the nature, size and financial resources of the Force. Adjustments could include alterations to premises, equipment, duties or hours of work, permitting absence for treatment or rehabilitation and providing a supportive working environment including training.
The approach should be to fit the job around the officer, not the officer around the job.
A failure to make a reasonable adjustment cannot be justified by the Force, however the duty to make a reasonable adjustment will not apply if the Force did not know and could not reasonably be expected to know of the disability.
Health and Safety
If making a particular adjustment would increase the risk to health and safety of any person (including the disabled worker in question) then this is a relevant factor in deciding whether it is reasonable to make that adjustment. Suitable and sufficient risk assessments should be used to help determine whether such risk is likely to arise.
If an officer suffers less favourable treatment because he or she has taken sick leave, this may be discrimination arising from a disability unless the Force can justify the treatment. The Force could consider excluding disability related sickness absence from selection criteria for SPPs, CRTPs, promotion or other similar procedures as a reasonable adjustment. They could also allow a period of Disability-Related Leave; for example, time off to undergo medical treatment related to a disability.
In most cases, an officer on sick leave is entitled to full pay for 6 months and then to half pay for 6 months. After a year’s absence there is no entitlement to pay while on sick leave. A chief officer can exercise discretion to maintain an officer on full pay instead of half pay or full pay instead of half or no pay. Particular circumstances where this should apply are set out in PNB Circular 05/01:
Recuperative and Restricted Duties
A Force may consider providing an officer with recuperative or restricted duties as a reasonable adjustment to reduce the effects of their disability. Recuperative duties are usually for a set period. They could include a retraining programme, a period of physiotherapy or reduced hours working so that the officer can gradually return to full duties. Restricted duties can be a temporary or a permanent adjustment. They could include altered duties, a fixed shift pattern or reduced hours working. Recuperative or restricted duties should be arranged in consultation with the officer and the Force Occupational Health Department.
Disablement under the Police Pension Regulations is different from the definition of disability under the Equality Act, and occurs if an officer is permanently unable to perform the ordinary duties of a member of the force as a result of a physical or mental condition. Medical retirements are the responsibility of the Police Authority after advice from a selected medical practitioner. They should retain officers who are able to make a valuable contribution and should not retire on medical grounds unless necessary. This principle is consistent with the Equality Act 2010, which places a duty on the force to make reasonable adjustments for disabled officers to continue performing duty.
If an officer is disabled or on restricted or recuperative duties they should not be prevented from being appraised in their current role, applying for other roles, undertaking training or seeking promotion. There should be reasonable adjustments made for disabled officers going through the promotion processes.
The Police Federation of England and Wales is the representative body for all Constables, Sergeants and Inspector ranks in the Police Forces of England and Wales. This leaflet sets out the law following the major changes to disability discrimination that came in on 1st October 2010 as a result of the Equality Act. Further advice can also be obtained from your Federation office or Representative.
Rest Day Working
Both part time and full time officers are compensated in exactly the same way for Rest Day working:
Free Day Working
When Part Time Officers are required to perform duty on a free day it attracts the following compensation.
1 If the duty is one that only that officer can perform (e.g. attendance at court) and:
2 If the duty is one that can be performed by any officer (e.g. operational policing) and:
Housing/South east Allowance
A full time officer appointed prior to the 1st September 1994 is entitled under his/her terms and conditions of service to be provided with a house or quarters free of rent, or to be paid a housing or transitional rent allowance.
Officers in receipt of housing/ transitional rent allowance who commence part time working should be paid the allowance pro rata and on returning to full time working should receive the full allowance.
A partner/spouse of a part time officer, who is also a serving Police officer in receipt of housing/rent allowance and who resides with the part time officer, is entitled to an increase in their housing/rent allowance to compensate for the pro rata reduction in the allowance paid to the part time officer.
Home Office guidance provides that “A part time officer who, prior to commencing part time service, was provided with accommodation may continue to reside in such accommodation if his/her Chief Constable considers that it is conducive to meeting the operational needs of the force”. Part time officers living in Police owned accommodation should check their force policy/orders.
An officer who works part time will receive pro rata London and South East Allowance.
Recall To Duty
Full time and part time officers are entitled to additional days off in lieu in the event of being recalled to duty from a period of absence of at least 3 days, of which one day must be a day of annual leave, and the other two days may be rest days or public holidays. For part-time officers, the 3 day period can include free days in addition to annual leave, rest days and public holidays.
A part time officer should receive pro rata payment of an allowance only if the expense for which the allowance is paid reduces with the reduction to part time hours.
The Police Federation of England and Wales is the representative body for all Constables, Sergeants and Inspector ranks in the Police Forces of England and Wales. Part time working can be a useful option for many officers who need or want a better work/life balance at certain times in their career. It can also be a useful option for Forces to help them meet the changing demands of policing. The Police Federation of England and Wales has produced this guide to the remuneration of part time officers in accordance with the Police Regulations and Determinations.
Police Officers who work full time are paid an annual salary for 40 hours duty per week. Officers who work part time are paid an hourly rate pro rata to the salary they would receive if they were full time.
If part time officers work additional hours to their agreed hours on a working day, then providing they have worked less than 40 hours in total for that week, compensation for those additional hours is paid or taken off at plain time.The first half hour is not discounted from the additional hours worked because this is not classed as overtime. Any hours worked in addition to the agreed hours, up to a maximum of 40 hours a week, are only pensionable if they taken for payment. Only additional hours worked over 40 hours per week attract an enhanced rate of pay.
Alternatively, the officer may elect to take time off in lieu of any additional hours worked.
A full time officer is entitled to a number of annual leave days commensurate with their police service, each day having the value of 8 hours paid leave. A part time officer is entitled to the same number of annual leave days as a full time officer, however each day will have a pro-rata value according to their agreed hours of duty. For example, if an officer performs 20 hours duty per week they will be entitled to 4 hours paid leave for each annual leave day, giving a total number of annual leave hours for the year that is half the entitlement of an equivalent full time officer.
A part time Officer’s duty roster will comprise of duty days, free days, rest days and public holidays.
Whilst a full time officer is entitled to 8 hrs paid leave on each of the public holidays, part time officers are entitled to public holiday leave on a pro-rata basis according to the number of hours they perform duty, for example:
Duty Day On A Public Holiday
A part time officer who performs duty on a public holiday receives the appropriate rate of pay for the hours of duty they perform.
If a part time officer is rostered for duty on a public holiday and they take the day off, they would owe the force the difference between the pro-rata hours of paid leave they receive for the public holiday and the number of hours for which they were rostered for duty. These should be worked as additional hours within their shift pattern.
Free Day On A Public Holiday
If a part time officer’s free day falls on a public holiday, the day is treated as a public holiday and the officer is entitled to their pro-rata hours of paid public holiday leave. These hours should be accommodated as time off within their shift pattern.
Rest Day On A Public Holiday
If a public holiday falls on a rest day both part time and full time officers are entitled to have their rest day re-rostered to another duty day.
If the part time officer has the rest day re-rostered, and takes the day off as a public holiday, they are only entitled to the pro-rata hours of paid leave they receive for a public holiday. They would owe the force the difference between these hours and the hours of duty they had been scheduled to perform on the day to which the rest day was reallocated. These hours should be worked as additional hours within the shift pattern.
Alternatively, subject to local agreement, the officer could take the day off as a rostered rest day and the force would owe the officer the pro-rata hours of paid leave they would have received for the public holiday. These hours are paid leave and should be accommodated as time off during the shift pattern.