Employment law advice in Wimbledon, South West London, Epsom and Surrey

Maternity and Paternity rights under UK employment law

Starting a family is an exciting but sometimes overwhelming time. As you focus on your family, you will want to ensure your employment rights are safe while you are on maternity or paternity leave. As an employee, you are entitled to parental leave, which is unpaid and can be taken any time before your child turns 18. With expert advice and experience in all matters relating to employment, our team of lawyers will be able to assist you.

Maternity rights

Expectant mothers are entitled to a total of 52 weeks maternity leave, made up of 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks of additional leave. The first two weeks after a child is born are compulsory but you don’t have to take the full 52 weeks if you don’t want to.

Maternity holiday entitlement

You will still continue to accrue your usual holiday entitlement whilst on maternity leave.

Maternity pay entitlement

When you go on maternity leave you will be eligible for the Statutory Maternity Pay. However, you may also be eligible for an Enhanced Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance. Statutory Maternity Pay is paid for 39 weeks and you will receive 90% of your weekly salary. The remaining 33 weeks will be paid at either £156.66 per week or 90% of your weekly earnings.

Returning to work

After the first 26 weeks of maternity leave, you must return to the same job you had before leaving. If you decide to take additional maternity leave (up to 52 weeks) you will have the right to return to your job as before. However, if the company has undergone changes and this is no longer available, you must be allowed a role that meets the similar criteria.

Paternity rights

When it comes to paternity rights, the current rules are a little less exciting. A new father can only get up to two weeks paternity leave but may be eligible for Additional Paternity Leave if the other parent returns to work.

Paternity holiday entitlement

Whilst on Paternity Leave you can keep accruing your usual holiday entitlement; however you are not allowed to take annual leave whilst on leave.

Paternity pay entitlement

You may be entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay, which currently stands at £156.66 per week or you will be entitled to 90% of your weekly earnings, whichever is the lowest.

Returning to work

Once you return from you Paternity Leave, you have the right to return to the same job you left, including the same hours, pay and holiday entitlement.

Here are some commonly asked questions we receive about maternity and paternity rights:

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No, your employer can’t refuse your paternity leave, provided you have given them the correct amount of notice.

If you are not entitled to paternity leave, you may still be entitled to paternity pay. To receive paternity pay, you must be the biological father, or be the current partner of the woman having the child; adopting; or having a child through surrogacy, and you must be responsible for the child’s upbringing.

You may be eligible for shared parental leave or Statutory Shared Parental Pay. Between you, you could get up to 50 weeks parental leave and up to 37 weeks of pay.

Our employment solicitors have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to dealing with maternity and paternity issues. Our team can sensitively and expertly help with your queries and concerns during this time. Contact us for more information.

Our team can sensitively and expertly help with your queries and concerns about maternity and paternity issues. To find out more, please contact us.