Maternity and Related Rights

There are notice requirements in respect of exercising these rights: an employee must notify her employer no later than the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (or if that is not practicable, as soon as is reasonably practicable) of her pregnancy, her expected week of childbirth and the date on which she intends her maternity leave to start.


What follows is a summary - guides on all the rights are available to download.

Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Rights
Paid time off for ante-natal care Paid time off must not be unreasonably withheld from a pregnant employee, irrespective of her hours worked or length of service. A doctor or midwife must prescribe the care that is required. After her first appointment the employer can request documentary evidence of the employee's pregnancy and details of her appointment.
Health and Safety Employers have a duty to carry out a risk assessment when they are notified in writing that a female employee is pregnant. If a risk is identified then the employee may need to be moved to alternative work, or, if none is available, should be suspended with pay.
Ordinary Maternity Leave All pregnant employees are entitled to take up to 26 weeks' leave providing that certain notice requirements are met.
Additional Maternity Leave Employees who have 26 weeks service at the beginning of the 14th week before the expected week of childbirth are entitled to take up to 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave .
Right to return There is a right to return to the job that the woman left (there are some limited exceptions - see guidance).
Maternity Pay There is no statutory obligation to pay an employee who is off work while she has a baby. It is important to check whether or not there is a contractual right to pay.

Most women are eligible to claim maternity allowance from The Treasury. This is payable to eligible women at a rate of up to £210 for up to 39 weeks. The allowance stops when the woman returns from maternity leave (there are some circumstances where odd days back at work will not stop maternity allowance - Keep In Touch days - see The Treasury guidance).

Please contact General Benefits on +44 1624 685105 or for more information on maternity allowance.
Paternity Leave Paternity leave of one or two weeks is available within 56 days of the birth of the baby. There are certain notice and qualification requirements.

There is no requirement on employers to pay employees who are taking paternity leave. Many employees will be eligible for Paternity Allowance at a rate of up to £210 per week. Please contact General Benefits on +44 1624 685105 or for more information on Paternity Allowance.
Adoption Leave Leave matching that for birth parents is available to individuals who are adopting a child.

Employers are not required to pay employees who are taking adoption leave. Adoption Allowance or Paternity Allowance may be available to employees who qualify. Please contact General Benefits on +44 1624 685105 or for more information on these allowances.
Other Rights for Working Parents
Parental Leave for parents of a disabled child A parent of a disabled child under 18 has a right to take a maximum of 18 weeks unpaid leave before the child is 18. The employee requires one year's service with the employer to exercise the right.

This is not an authoritative statement of the law and should be regarded as general guidance only