Thanks to an intervention by the BDA, following a query from an individual member, general dental practitioners (GDPs) in Scotland who have a second child in quick succession may be able to claim more maternity pay than had previously been the case.
The dentists' trade union believes that around 30 such practitioners who lost out on pay as a consequence in the past three years could be eligible for retrospective maternity payments, up to a limit of £1,399 per week (though amounts will vary according to circumstances).
The change in maternity payments for GDPs will take effect from 1 March and follows a decision announced by the Scottish Government that previous maternity payments will count towards the test period (ie 12 months) earnings when calculating subsequent maternity payments. This means that GDPs will not lose out financially to the same extent as they may have done previously when having children close together.
In discussions with the BDA, the Scottish Government stated that maternity pay for GDPs is discretionary but it has agreed as a 'goodwill' gesture that any dentist who has been affected by the exclusion of previous maternity payments from the test period earnings for the calculation of subsequent maternity payments in the last three years may receive retrospective maternity pay. To be considered for such payments, dentists need to contact NHS Scotland Practitioner Services Division.
The Scottish Government will amend the definition of "net payments" in Determination V (Maternity Payments, Paternity Payments and Adoptive Leave Payments) in the Statement of Dental Remuneration to allow previous maternity payments which fall within in the "test period to be included in the assessment of earning for the calculation of subsequent maternity payments."
Commenting, Josephine Weir, member of the BDA's Scottish Dental Practice Committee, said:
"The Scottish Government has made the right choice to amend the maternity pay provision for GDPs who have children in quick succession.
"The BDA set out to ensure members left with practically no earnings on a second maternity leave would no longer be at such a disadvantage. We hope any parent left in this position in recent years will make their claim."
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