Statutory maternity leave entitles employees to take up to 52 weeks off around the birth of their child. The minimum amount of time mothers must take is two weeks or four for factory workers. The allocated time consists of 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave. You can begin your maternity leave from 11 weeks before your due date, your leave will also begin automatically if your child is born prematurely or you are ill within a four week period of your due date.
Statutory maternity pay is given for up to 39 weeks around the birth of your child. You are entitled to 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first six weeks of your leave, after which, for the following 33 weeks you are entitled to either £136.78 per week or a continuation of your current 90% allowance, depending on which is lower.
When do you qualify?
You can access your companies’ maternity leave if you are classed as an employee of the company and if you provide your employer with the correct notice.
In order to qualify for maternity pay you must have worked continuously for your employer for at least 26 weeks up to the 15th week before your due date. You must also earn on average £109 a week; give the correct period of notice and provide your employer with sufficient evidence of your pregnancy. This can be in the form of either:
-A medical letter from your doctor or midwife.
-Your MATB1 certificate – this is usually issued by your doctor or midwife 20 weeks before your due date.
If you decide to change your return to work date you must inform your current employer up to eight weeks in advance.
This blog contains general information only and nothing contained in it constitutes advice. The information used was based on the figures provided by www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave which at the date of writing was last updated on 4 October 2013. For the most recent information you should refer to www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave.