Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Leave

Pregnant employees have the right to up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. This right is from the first day of employment.

You must tell your employer you’re pregnant no later than the 15th week before your baby is due, including your due date and the date you want to start maternity leave. Your employer must reply within 28 days and confirm the dates of your maternity leave.

Employees who have been working continuously for the same employer for at least 26 weeks before their ‘qualifying week’ (15 weeks prior to expected week of delivery) and who earn at least £123 a week on average for 8 weeks before the qualifying week, are eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).

During your pregnancy, you have the right to reasonable time off with full pay for pregnancy-related appointments and care, including scans, heath checks, relaxation classes and parentcraft classes.

During maternity leave, you are allowed to work and be paid your usual salary for 10 keeping in touch (“KIT”) days as agreed with your employer.

At the end of your maternity leave, you have the right to return to the same job or a suitable alternative role.

Adoption Leave

Eligible employees who adopt a child or have a child through a surrogacy arrangement may be eligible for Statutory Adoption Leave (SAL) of up to 52 weeks.

Only one person in a couple can take adoption leave. Your partner may be eligible for paternity leave instead.

Adoption Leave can start up to 14 days before the child is placed with you or the day the child is born.

Employees who have been working continuously for the same employer for at least 26 weeks before the week they are matched with a child, and who earn at least £123 a week, are eligible for Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP). 

Paternity Leave

An employee whose partner is having a baby or adopting a baby may be eligible for 1 or 2 weeks’ Paternity Leave and Pay or Shared Parental Leave and Pay.

The leave must be taken in one go following the birth and must end within 56 days of the birth.

Shared Parental Leave

Eligible employees and their partner may be able to take Shared Parental Leave (SPL) if they’re having a baby, adopting a child or using a surrogate.

Employees can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them in the first year after the child is born or placed. SPL can be taken in blocks or all in one go.

How can we help you?

If you are unsure about your maternity and parental rights, please contact our Employment Law Team who will be able to advise you where you stand from the start in respect of your rights to leave and pay, as well as the protection you have against unfair treatment, discrimination and dismissal.