Maternity/Paternity

General maternity rights

  • 52 weeks Statutory Maternity Leave (unconditional bar being an employee and giving the correct notice)
  • Statutory maternity pay up to 39 weeks (conditional)

Leave entitlement

You must tell your employer that you are pregnant at least 15 weeks before your baby is due.

An indication must also be given of when you intend to start maternity leave.

Women are entitled to reasonable paid leave for antenatal care during pregnancy. Men are only entitled to unpaid leave for a maximum of two appointments (capped at 6.5 hours per appointment).


Pay entitlement

Your employment terms and conditions are protected whilst you are on maternity. All contractual payments/benefits (excluding wages) must continue i.e. employer pension contributions, accrual of annual leave and holiday days.

The entitlement to Statutory Maternity Leave is unconditional however the entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay is contingent on:

  • You must have 26 weeks’ continuous service by the time you reach the 15th week before the due date
  • You must earn on average the lower limit under the National Insurance thresholds (currently £116 per week (2018/2019)). This must be your average earning over an 8 week period ending on the 15th week before the due date.

You are entitled to 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks and the lower of £145.18 or 90% of your wages for the next 33 weeks.


Return to work

You have the right to return to your job following your maternity leave. If, upon your return, there are redundancies being made, you must be offered (if available) suitable alternative employment.


Shared Parental Leave

You can share up to 50 weeks of leave either together or in turns. The leave weeks can either be taken in blocks separated by periods of work or all in one go. You can also share up to 37 weeks of pay between you.

If both parents want to share the leave and pay, you both must have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks ending in the 15th week before the due date. As above, you must also both be employees and be earning the lower limits of the National Insurance thresholds (currently £116 per week (2018/2019)).

Talk to our Employment Solicitors about your maternity/paternity rights.

Key Contact

Hannah Durham

Head of Claimant Litigation

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