Maternity, Paternity, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave

Becoming a parent is a major event in the lives of all of your employees and it is vitally important as their employer that you support them through that journey. It is though an area which is heavily covered by legislation which can trip up even the most careful of employers.

Pregnant women have a huge amount of rights throughout their pregnancy and following birth. They have the right to time off for maternity appointments, to have their duties and working practices varied where possible to protect their health and safety and not to be subjected to any detriment for being pregnant. If they are made redundant whilst pregnant they may have entitlement not only to redundancy pay but also to all of their maternity pay as well.  Following the birth their maternity leave can last for 12 months during which they continue to accrue benefits such as holiday pay and have the right to return to their original role, or one no less favourable. They also have the right to request KIT days. 

There are also lots of practical issues such as how often do you keep in touch with the employee when they are off on maternity leave, do you inform them of certain changes or updates in the workplace and what happens about entitlement to bonuses and other performance related benefits given to staff.

Fathers going on paternity leave also gain various protections albeit that paternity leave is only for two weeks and is generally less disruptive to a business. There is though now the right to shared parental leave whereby a mother on maternity leave can allocate up to 50 weeks of her maternity leave to the father who then gains very similar rights to those the mother would have if she was still on maternity leave.

Adoption leave is an area which is a lot less prominent but more individuals are becoming aware of it and again mimics maternity leave in many ways. Adoption leave can last for up to 52 weeks and in advance the adoptive parents can receive paid time off work to attend up to five adoption appointments after they have been matched with a child.  Adoption pay is paid at the same rate as maternity pay.

How can we help you?

Nockolds specialist Employment Lawyers have extensive experience in helping employers manage the minefield of parental rights. Parents offer invaluable insights and experiences to your business but it is critical that you get things right as if you don’t you can experience the worst of both worlds, facing potential claims and also losing talented staff.