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Maternity and Paternity

Maternity Rights

Who is entitled to Maternity Leave?

 All employees are entitled to Maternity Leave provided they give their employer at least 15 weeks’ notice of their due date and when they wish to start their maternity leave.

What about Maternity Pay?

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) then you must:

  • Have been employed by that employer for 26 weeks at the time of the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth;
  • Earn more than £112 per week;
  • Give the correct proof of notice.

What if I don’t earn that much or haven’t been employed long enough?

If you are not eligible for SMP then you may still be entitled to receive Maternity Allowance.

How much Maternity Leave can I take?

You can take up to 52 weeks. The first 26 weeks is known as Ordinary Maternity Leave and the final 26 weeks is Additional Maternity Leave. You don’t have to take all 52 weeks but you do have to take at least 2 weeks off.

How much is SMP?

For the first 6 weeks you will receive 90% of your average weekly pay. For the next 33 weeks you will receive £139.58 or 90% of your average weekly pay, whichever is lower. Your contract of employment may provide for more generous payments so you should check this.

What rights do I have when on Maternity Leave?

Your rights as an employee remain the same as they were prior to going on Maternity Leave. Depending on when you return to work you will be entitled to return to the same job or a suitable alternative role if your employer can show that it is not reasonably practicable to return to your role.

You will build up annual leave whilst you are on Maternity Leave and will be entitled to receive pay increases and bonuses if applicable.

Do I have to return on my old hours? 

Not necessarily. You can make a Flexible Working Request to work fewer or different hours on your return.

On my return am I entitled to time off if, for example, my child is unwell?

Yes, you are entitled to 18 weeks of Parental Leave up to your child turning 18, and are also entitled to take Dependants Leave.

Paternity Rights

Who is entitled to Paternity Leave?

All employees are entitled to Paternity Leave provided they give their employer at least 15 weeks’ notice of their due date and when they wish to start their maternity leave. 

What about Paternity Pay?

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) then you must:

Have been employed by that employer for 26 weeks at the time of the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth;

Earn more than £112 per week;

Give the correct proof of notice.

How much Paternity Leave can I take?

Normal Paternity leave is for 1 or 2 weeks, however, the rules on Paternity Leave changed in April 2015 and so it is now possible for the 52 weeks Maternity Leave to be shared between the parents.

How much is Paternity Pay?

For the first 6 weeks you will receive 90% of your average weekly pay. For the next 33 weeks you will receive £139.58 or 90% of your average weekly pay, whichever is lower. Your contract of employment may provide for more generous payments so you should check this.

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