Maternity employment rights
I have been in my current job for five years and I recently found out I am pregnant, what are my rights as an employee?
You are not required to inform your employer of your pregnancy until the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. However, you will not be able to benefit from rights such as the entitlement to paid time off for antenatal care, risk assessments and protection on account of your pregnancy from discrimination or dismissal until your employer is made aware that you are pregnant. Therefore, from your point of view, it might be advisable to inform your employer earlier if possible.
When you notify your employer of your pregnancy you should provide the expected week of childbirth and the date you intend your maternity leave to start, which must be a date no earlier than the beginning of the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth. You do not have to give this in writing unless requested by your employer, however we recommend giving notice in writing.
Once you have informed your employer of your pregnancy, your entitlements include the following:
- Time off for antenatal appointments
- Health and safety protection while pregnant and breastfeeding
- One year’s statutory maternity leave (made up of ordinary maternity leave and additional maternity leave), regardless of length of service
- Statutory maternity pay (SMP) for up to 39 weeks (the amount of which depends on length of service)
- Normally the right to return to the same job in particular if your return to work before the period of additional maternity leave starts without losing your entitlements to SMP
- Working for up to 10 “keeping in touch days” before you return
- Opportunities where eligible for shared parental pay and/or shared parental leave
- Priority for alternative employment in redundancy cases and protection from dismissal, detriment or discrimination by reason of pregnancy or maternity
Your employment contract will continue whilst you are on maternity leave and you can continue to benefit from some of your rights under your contract. You are not allowed to work for two weeks after childbirth (or four if you work in a factory); this period is compulsory maternity leave.
If you have a query or would like to book an appointment please get in touch with our team on 01256 320555 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that this article is meant as guidance only and shall not constitute legal advice to you or the board of directors of any company.