Maternity Leave and Pay

The news that there is a baby on the way is an exciting and happy time for a family, however the concerns over the implications it will have on you and your employer is something to consider.

Pregnant employees have the right to 52 weeks of maternity leave. You don’t have to take 52 weeks but you must take at least two weeks after your baby is born, and four weeks if you work in a factory. To qualify for maternity leave the employee must notify their employer 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth.

Usually the earliest date leave can start is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. Leave will start automatically if you have been off work with a pregnancy related illness during the four weeks before the due date.

During maternity leave you are entitled to 39 weeks of either: statutory maternity pay, contractual pay or maternity allowance.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). For the first six weeks you receive 90% of your average weekly earnings before tax. For the remaining 33 weeks you will either receive the SMP rate of £136.78 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. The SMP standard rate is reviewed every April. You will receive maternity pay as you would your normal pay, whether this is weekly or monthly. To qualify for SMP you must have been in continuous employment with your employer for a minimum of 26 weeks, ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.

Women who do not qualify for SMP may be entitled to claim maternity allowance, this is paid by the Benefits Agency and is payable for up to 39 weeks. To qualify you must have been either employed or self-employed for 26 of the 66 weeks prior to the expected week of childbirth.

Contractual maternity pay may be more than the SMP standard rate and may be payable for longer than 39 weeks, this will all be determined within your terms of employment.

There are many other issues associated with pregnancy which may lead to advice being required, such as paternity leave, parental leave and sex discrimination.

If you have concerns over maternity pay or would like to know more about your maternity rights then contact EAD Solicitors Liverpool employment solicitors on, 0151 735 1000.


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