A Working Mum
If you're an employee you are entitled to statutory maternity leave. This equates to 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave making one year in total.
If you are an employee and you give your employer the correct notice, you are entitled to take statutory maternity leave regardless of:
- how long you have been with your employer
- how many hours you work
- how much you are paid
Your employer may have their own maternity leave scheme which could be more generous than the statutory scheme, and you could be entitled to both. Check with your employment for more details. Your employer however can't offer you less than your statutory rights.
To be eligible for statutory maternity leave you must tell your employer you want to take statutory maternity leave at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week your baby is due. You'll need to let them know that:
- you are pregnant
- when the baby is due
- when you want to start your maternity leave (you can change the date later, if you give at least 28 days' notice)
Your employer might ask for notice in writing. They may also ask for a copy of form MAT B1, the maternity certificate, which says when the baby's due. Your doctor or midwife will give you a copy of the form after your 21st week of pregnancy, they cannot give this to you any earlier.
After informing your employer that you want to take statutory maternity leave, they should write to you within 28 days. They should confirm your statutory maternity leave and give you the date your Statutory Maternity Leave will end.
You can start your statutory maternity leave from as early as 11 weeks before the beginning of the week when your baby's due.
If you are off work because of your pregnancy within four weeks of the expected birth date, your employer can make you start your statutory maternity leave at this point.
You do not have to take all of your statutory maternity leave. However, you must take two weeks of 'compulsory' maternity leave after your baby is born.
You can find more on details about your rights whilst on maternity leave here