Maternity, Paternity & Parental Rights
The laws surrounding maternity, paternity and parental leave can be complex and as such it can be easy for employees and employers to get it wrong.
Our employment law team can bring clarity to the situation through applying their expertise and experience with the ultimate aim to resolving any dispute in this area of law.
It is important that you establish four key dates concerning your pregnancy:
- The Estimated Week of Childbirth (EWC);
- The Qualifying Week (15th week before the EWC);
- The date you wish to start your maternity leave;
- The date you wish to end your maternity leave and return to work.
Maternity leave can only start from the 11th week before the EWC (unless the baby is born early) and any absence related to the pregnancy will automatically trigger the start of maternity leave from the 4th week before the EWC.
Providing you have 26 weeks of continuous employment at the end of the qualifying week you will be able to receive your statutory maternity pay entitlement which is calculated on the basis of eight weeks of average earnings.
You must notify your employer no later than the 15th week before the EWC to qualify for ordinary maternity leave informing them also of the date when you intend to start your maternity leave.
Employers will be able to advise you of their own procedures as to whether the notification needs to be in writing or given verbally.
Your employer has 28 days from the day in which you gave notice to confirm the date on which your maternity leave will end.
You have a statutory right for paid time off during your working hours to attend antenatal care appointments, however your employer does have a right to request for proof of appointment.
The compulsory statutory period of maternity leave is 2 weeks from the date you give birth, which is extended to 4 weeks if you are a factory worker.
You are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave which is comprised of 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave followed by 26 weeks of additional maternity leave.
Statutory Maternity Pay
Where you have 26 weeks of continuous employment up to the 15th week before the EWC you are entitled to statutory maternity pay for 39 weeks calculated at 90% of your average earning for the first six weeks and then at the prescribed rate for the remaining period.
It is possible for parents to share the period of maternity leave through Shared Parental Leave taking the benefit of Statutory Shared Parental Pay. To do so you must ensure that you end your maternity leave and maternity pay.
Whatever you do, you must keep your employer informed.