Supporting Employees Who Are Parents: Maternity Leave

Maternity leave in the UK is a statutory entitlement for female employees who are pregnant or have recently given birth. This is a legal requirement that employers must adhere to. The purpose of maternity leave is to allow mothers to take time off work to care for their newborn baby, recover from childbirth, and bond with their child…

Maternity leave

The length of maternity leave varies depending on the specific circumstances of the employee, but there are minimum requirements set out by UK law. All pregnant employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, regardless of how long they have been employed.

This is split into two periods: Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML), which is the first 26 weeks, and Additional Maternity Leave (AML), which is the remaining 26 weeks.

During OML, employees are entitled to full employment rights, including the right to return to their job at the end of the leave period. They are also entitled to statutory maternity pay for up to 39 weeks, which is paid at 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks and then at a flat rate of £151.97 per week (as of April 2022) for the remaining 33 weeks.

During AML, employees do not have the right to return to their job but do have the right to return to a similar job on similar terms and conditions.

In order to qualify for maternity leave, employees must provide their employer with notice of their pregnancy at least 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. They must also provide a medical certificate from their doctor or midwife confirming the pregnancy and the expected week of childbirth.

It is important for employers to be aware of their obligations towards employees on maternity leave, including their right to return to work and any entitlements to pay or benefits. Employers must also ensure that they do not discriminate against employees on the basis of pregnancy or maternity leave, as this is illegal under UK law.

In addition to statutory maternity leave, some employers may offer additional maternity leave or benefits as part of their employee package. This could include enhanced maternity pay, flexible working arrangements, or support with childcare costs.

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Image by Sebastian from Pixabay

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