Introduction to this document

Maternity leave plan

Female employees are entitled to take maternity leave and may be entitled to statutory maternity pay where they are expecting a child, provided they comply with important notification requirements.

Maternity leave entitlement

Female employees benefit from the right to maternity leave. There are two categories: ordinary maternity leave and additional maternity leave. All pregnant employees are entitled to 26 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks’ additional maternity leave. Additional maternity leave starts immediately after the end of ordinary maternity leave. Employees can choose when they want their maternity leave to start subject to two restrictions:

 maternity leave can’t begin prior to the eleventh week before the EWC (unless the baby is born prematurely, in which case maternity leave will begin on the day after the date of childbirth)

 if the employee is absent from work wholly or partly because of a pregnancy-related condition within four weeks of the date the baby is due, the start of her maternity leave will be triggered automatically.

Notification requirements

To take advantage of the right to maternity leave and statutory maternity pay (SMP) if eligible, a pregnant employee is required to notify you of her intention to take maternity leave by the end of the 15th week before the EWC, unless this isn’t reasonably practicable. However, she is able to change her mind about when she wants to start her maternity leave providing she informs you at least 28 days in advance. She is required to notify you that she is pregnant, when her EWC is and when she intends her maternity leave to start. The Maternity Leave Plan will ensure your employee complies with her notification requirements. You can also ask her to produce a certificate (a MAT B1 form) from her registered medical practitioner or a registered midwife which confirms the expected date of childbirth.