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Maternity Leave

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Maternity Leave

Before maternity leave, a pregnant employee has the right to some paid time off work to attend antenatal appointments if her attendance is medically recommended.

When employees take time off to have a baby, they will be entitled to Statutory Maternity Leave regardless of length of service.  Statutory Maternity Leave is a total of 52 weeks, consisting of Ordinary Maternity Leave (26 weeks) immediately followed by Additional Maternity Leave (26 weeks).

They may also be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) for up to 39 weeks, subject to eligibility criteria, and this is payable by the employer.   It is good news that most employers can claim back 92% of these costs whilst SME employers may be entitled to claim back 103% of the costs.

Aside from the right to contractual pay, an employee’s rights, terms and conditions are protected whilst on Statutory Maternity Leave.  For full details about maternity leave, pay and rights, visit the Government website.

An employee may carry out up to 10 days’ work (called Keeping In Touch or KIT days) for her employer during her statutory maternity leave period without bringing her maternity leave to an end.

An employee returning to work after a period of maternity leave has the right to do so to the job she occupied immediately before her maternity leave began or, in some circumstances, to a suitable alternative job on terms and conditions no less favourable than those of her original job.

Adoption Leave

Adoption leave, pay (referred to as Statutory Adoption Pay or SAP) and employment rights during a period of Adoption broadly mirror Maternity terms.

Again, most employers can claim back 92% of SAP costs whilst SME employers may be entitled to claim back 103% of the costs.

Paternity Leave

A pregnant woman’s partner is entitled to some unpaid time off to attend antenatal appointments.

Paternity leave allows a pregnant woman’s partner or the partner of a primary adopter to take one or two weeks’ leave around the time of the birth or adoption. It is intended to help support the new mother and care for the new baby or to help the adopted child with the transition to their new home.

Paternity leave must be taken within eight weeks of the birth or adoption. Whether the time taken is one week or two, the weeks relate to the number of days that person would normally work in a week.

Parents taking Paternity Leave may be eligible for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) for up to 2 weeks, subject to eligibility criteria, and this is payable by the employer.   Most employers can claim back 92% of these costs whilst SME employers may be entitled to claim back 103% of the costs.

For the latest details about Paternity Leave and Paternity Pay, visit the Government website.

Shared Parental Leave

Introduced in 2015, Shared Parental Leave helps parents to share leave after the birth or adoption of a child.  This flexibility was intended to give families greater choices and allow both parents to have greater involvement in the period immediately following birth or adoption.

If employees are eligible for Shared Parental Leave, both parents can share whatever remains of a mother’s maternity leave, taking the leave in blocks, rather than taking it all in one go.  This does not require both parents to be employed by the same company.

The leave must be taken within a year of the birth or adoption but in the case of birth, cannot start until after the mother has taken at least two weeks’ maternity leave and both the eligibility requirements and the arrangements can seem quite complicated initially.

Employees may be eligible for Statutory Shared Parental Pay (SShPP) for up to 37 weeks once the mother or primary adopter gives up their maternity or adoption leave and pay, subject to eligibility criteria, and this is payable by the employer.   As with the other payments, most employers can claim back 92% of these costs whilst SME employers may be entitled to claim back 103% of the costs.

Employees may carry out up to 20 days’ work (called Keeping In Touch or KIT days) during shared parental leave period without bringing it to an end.

An employee returning to work after a period of shared parental leave has the right to do so to the job they occupied immediately before the leave began or, in some circumstances, to a suitable alternative job on terms and conditions no less favourable than those of the original job.

Click here for more detail about Shared Parental Leave and Pay.

 

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