Maternity leave and pay: Leave
Employees have the right to take Statutory Maternity Leave, which is 52 weeks.
- The first 26 weeks is known as Ordinary Maternity Leave
- The last 26 weeks is known as Additional Maternity Leave
You don’t have to take all 52 weeks. However, you must take two weeks’ leave after your baby is born, or four weeks if you’re employed by a factory.
All your employee rights are protected while you’re on maternity leave.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks, in the same way as your wages. You receive 90% of your average weekly earnings before tax for the first six weeks. For the next 33 weeks, you receive either £151.20 or 90% of your average weekly earnings – whichever is lower.
You qualify for SMP if you:
- Earn at least £120 a week (on average)
- Give your employer at least 28 days notice
- Give your employer proof you’re pregnant (a doctor or midwife’s letter or your MATB1 certificate)
- Have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks continuing into the qualifying week, which is the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth
SMP starts at the same time as your maternity leave.
Paternity leave and pay: Leave
Employees have the right to take paternity leave if their partner has a baby, providing they give the correct notice. You must have been continuously employed by the same employer for at least 26 weeks up to any day in the 15th week before the baby is due (known as the qualifying week).
You can choose to take one or two weeks. They must be taken in one go and your leave must end within 56 days of the birth.
All your employee rights are protected while you’re on paternity leave.
The statutory weekly rate of your paternity pay is either £151.20, or 90% of your average weekly earnings, depending on which is lower. This money will be paid in the same way as your wages.
You qualify for paternity pay if:
- You are employed by your employer up to the date of the birth
- You have been continuously employed by your employer for at least 26 weeks up to any day in the 15th week before the baby is due
- You earn at least £120 per week before tax
- You give your employer notice using the SC3 form, at least 15 weeks before the baby is due