Employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks maternity leave; Ordinary Maternity Leave of 26 weeks, followed by a further period of Additional Maternity Leave of 26 weeks. These two periods combined comprise the Statutory Maternity Leave entitlement of 52 weeks in total.
During Statutory Maternity Leave, employees who satisfy the qualifying requirements are entitled to receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), the level of which is confirmed by the Government. SMP is payable for up to 39 weeks; the first six weeks are payable at 90% of average gross weekly earnings, with the remaining 33 weeks being paid at the lesser of 90% of the average gross weekly earning or the standard SMP rate.
When an employee informs the employer, she is pregnant, the employer should arrange a maternity risk assessment and make any reasonable adjustments to ensure the employee has a safe work environment. The maternity risk assessment should be repeated at regular intervals during the pregnancy.
During the maternity leave period all terms and conditions of employment are protected, including pay rises.
Employees continue to accrue holiday days/hours as if they were normally working during the maternity leave period. Any days / hours not taken in the holiday year will carry over to the next holiday year.
Employer must confirm employees rights in writing; for example maternity leave, statutory maternity pay, antenatal appointment rights; submit the MATB1 form and so on. A template letter is available in the HR document library.
The MATB1 form will be issued to the employee after 20th week of pregnancy. This form is required in order to complete payroll process for SMP.
Where an employee is not eligible for SMP; a SMP1 form must be issued to the employee; she may be eligible to maternity allowance.
Employees are entitled to be paid time off to attend doctors, midwife and other antenatal appointments.
Employees are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave, 39 weeks SMP and 13 weeks unpaid; where applicable. If employee does not qualify for SMP; she is entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave.
Employees must take the compulsory maternity leave entitlement; this is usually 2 weeks or four weeks if they work in a factory. Employees may return to work thereafter.
During the maternity leave period, the employee has the right to attend work for up to 10 keeping in touch days (KIT Days). SMP is payable where applicable; the employer may choose to pay more for the KIT days.
Click here to access the .gov maternity calculator
For further information on maternity leave, visit our document library here where you can find a range of useful documents or call us on