Introduction to this document

Maternity policy

Our policy statement sets out the statutory rules relating to maternity leave and pay. It ensures employees fully understand their rights and entitlements, as well as their obligations in relation to notifying you of their pregnancy, their expected date of childbirth and when they want their maternity leave to start and end.

Maternity leave

Our policy statement reflects the statutory provisions on maternity leave and pay. If you wish to provide enhanced rights to either maternity leave or pay, you will need to adapt your policy statement accordingly. In particular, some employers are willing to pay more than statutory maternity pay (SMP) during maternity leave. Where they do, many make the extra payment conditional on the employee returning to work after her maternity leave for a minimum period of time, i.e. by requiring that she has to repay the excess over and above SMP if she later decides to resign either during her maternity leave or shortly after returning to work. This is perfectly legal, provided of course that you don’t insist on the employee returning to full-time employment and provided you insert an appropriately drafted contractual provision. A failure to grant an eligible employee maternity leave or pay will give her the right to bring a claim against you in the employment tribunal. Even if an employee says she doesn’t want to take any maternity leave, you must not allow her to work during the compulsory maternity leave period, which is two weeks commencing with the day of childbirth (four weeks for factory workers).