Maternity and Paternity leave

Here are the basic rules for Maternity and Paternity Leave that you need to be aware of:

Maternity Leave

Statutory Maternity Leave is 52 weeks. It’s made up of:

  • Ordinary Maternity Leave, which covers the first 26 weeks and,
  • Additional Maternity Leave, which covers the last 26 weeks

52 weeks don’t have to taken but 2 weeks’ leave must be taken after the baby is born (or 4 weeks if your employee is working in a factory).

  • The earliest that maternity leave can start is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth

Maternity Leave can also start the day after the birth if the baby is early or automatically if your employee is off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week (Sunday to Saturday) that the baby is due.

Returning to work

Your employee must give you at least 8 weeks’ notice if they want to change their return to work date.
There is a really useful maternity leave and pay calculator on the Gov.UK website

Paternity Leave

Partners of the mother having a baby, adopting a child or having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement may also be eligible for:

  • 1 or 2 weeks paid Paternity Leave
  • Up to 26 weeks’ paid Additional Paternity Leave, if the baby was due or placed for adoption before 5 April 2015
  • Shared Parental Leave, if the baby was due or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015
  • Additional Paternity Leave only if the mother/partner returns to work
  • Paternity leave must be taken in one go
  • Leave can’t start before the birth. It must end within 56 days of the birth
  • Your employee must give you 28 days’ notice if they want to change the start date of the paternity leave.

Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave was only introduced on 5th April this year (2015). We’ll cover this in more detail in our next article. However, as it is still very new there are only a few instances where it has been taken up and we may well see a few teething problems (no pun intended!).

If you need guidance on Maternity, Paternity or Shared Parental Leave please give us a call on 01737 336336 or email