Maternity Leave and Rights

What are your rights?

Firstly, employers are always free to agree more favourable contractual terms with their employees. It is not, however, possible for an employee to agree to less favourable terms than the statutory regime provides:

Employment Rights whilst in employment and on leave

Your employment rights are protected. These rights include:

  • Time off for antenatal appointments.
  • Health and safety protection while pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • Up to 52 weeks' maternity leave. Employees are entitled to one year's statutory maternity leave (made up of 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave (OML) and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave (AML), regardless of length of service. With effect from 5 April 2015, up to 50 weeks of this can be shared with the father under the new Shared Parental Leave scheme (SPL).
  • Statutory maternity Pay (SMP) for up to 39 weeks
  • The right to return to the same job, or to a similar job under the same terms and conditions following AML.
  • Priority for alternative employment in redundancy cases above other employees, even if other employees are more suitable.
  • The right to request flexible working conditions on return to work.
  • Protection from dismissal, detriment or discrimination by reason of pregnancy or maternity.

Eligibility

To qualify for statutory maternity leave (SML) you need to:

  1. Be an employee (not a worker); and
  2. Give the correct notice:
    a.   At least 28 days prior to taking statutory maternity leave; and
    b.   Providing the employer with proof of pregnancy.

Commencement

Statutory maternity leave can start:

  • Up to 11 weeks prior to the expected week of birth; or
  • The day after the birth (if premature birth); or
  • On the commencement of any pregnancy related ill-health absence from work in the 4 weeks prior to the expected week of birth.

Latest Blog

Safeguarding issues in employment

27/06/2018
Safeguarding issues when working with children or vulnerable adults
We are noticing a rise in employment cases where an employee is reported to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This could be as a result of an incident at school nursery or youth club. These...
Reintroduction of employment tribunal fees?

In a surprising announcement, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has confirmed that it may reintroduce fees for employment tribunal claims.  This would be a surprising U-turn by the government which was criticised for its tribunal fee structure which was introduced in 2013.  The fee structure was decl

Inheritance tax changes

The recent Budget saw the Chancellor announce reforms to Inheritance Tax rules which were widely expected following the Conservative Party’s General Election victory.  Currently, a married couple are able to access allowances of £325,000 each, which can be doubled up and applied as a single allow

Grandmother with Grandchild

The Prime Minister David Cameron has recently suggested that he would be “happy” to look at plans for so called “granny leave” giving working grandparents the right to take up to 18 weeks of shared paren