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Maternity leave rights

Posted in: Finance Last updated: 06 Apr 2016

Our video could help you work out whether you're entitled to Maternity Leave, when it can start, and what your employer needs to know.

video

Note: Just to be clear, this video is not meant to be taken as advice. Also, your individual circumstances are probably different from the examples we’ve shown. The information in this video is correct as at 6th April 2016.

Video transcript

Scene 1

Eligibility for maternity leave

  • Must be an employee
  • Entitlement not dependant on how long with employer

What are my employer's responsibilities?

  • Paid time off for normal antenatal classes
  • Pregnancy-friendly working conditions
  • Can return to old job or similar with same rate of pay

Scene 2:

What are my responsibilities to my employer?

  • Give written notice of pregnancy 15 weeks before the start of the week of due date
  • Include form MAT B1 detailing baby's due date
  • Say when I will be starting my maternity leave
  • Note: I can always change this date later if I give 28 days notice.

Get form MAT B1 from your doctor or midwife at the start of 20th week of pregnancy.

Scene 3:

How long do I get?

  • Maximum of 52 weeks maternity leave
  • 26 weeks ordinary leave + 26 weeks additional leave
  • First 2 weeks after the birth are compulsory leave
  • I can return to work early if I give 8 weeks notice of returning

Alternative if I return to work early:

  • We can apply for Shared Parental Leave if both me and my partner are eligible
  • I can go back to work and my partner can take over caring for our baby for a maximum of 50 weeks
  • If we are both eligible for Statutory Maternity or Adoption pay or Maternity Allowance, my partner can receive Shared Parental Pay instead

Scene 4:

When can I start maternity leave?

  • Any time from 11 weeks before my due date
  • The earlier I start, the earlier I return

Scene 5:

What about my annual holiday entitlement?

  • Still accrues during leave
  • Can be taken in addition to maternity leave
  • Can't be taken during maternity leave
  • Should be either at the beginning or the end

What if I don't go back to work?

  • You must tell employer before you are due back
  • Normal notice periods apply

Want to find out more?

Planning your Maternity Leave is exciting and making sure you know your rights beforehand means that you can get on and enjoy planning the fun stuff. Make sure you know if you're entitled to paid time off with your baby by reading our articles on Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance.