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Maternity Leave


Maternity leave is a statutory entitlement that all pregnant employees have and assuming they provide you as their employer with the correct notice, they are entitled to 52 weeks Statutory Maternity Leave.

Employees don't have to take 52 weeks if they don't want to, however, the first 2 weeks following the birth must be taken (or 4 weeks for those who work in a factory).

  • Pregnant employees have the right to 52 weeks maternity leave.
  • 39 weeks could be paid which may be Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance or Contractual Maternity Pay (i.e. if you offer your employees a payment which is over and above their statutory pay entitlement).
  • Pregnant employees are protected against unfair treatment and discrimination.
  • During maternity leave, an employee and employer can agree to have up to 10 keeping in touch days.
  • Employees are entitled to paid reasonable time off for antenatal care.
  • Women returning to work following Maternity Leave have the right to return to the original job or suitable alternative.

A pregnant employee has the right to both 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave as well as 26 weeks of additional maternity leave.

To qualify for maternity leave, there are a number of requirements that need to be met, such as your pregnant employee telling you at least 15 weeks before their baby is due,  that they wish to exercise their right to take maternity leave.

To understand more about the obligations you have towards your pregnant employees and that they have towards you, please contact a member of the HRx  team.