What Rights do Pregnant Employees have in the UK?
- A right to paid time off for antenatal care
- A right to take maternity leave
- A right to maternity pay (if you qualify)
- Protection against unfair treatment, discrimination or dismissal
Telling Your Employer You Are Pregnant
Employees must tell their employer that they are pregnant at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week the baby is due.
If this isn’t possible. because they did not know they were pregnant the employer must be told as soon as possible.
Employees must also give their employer enough notice of when they want to their statutory maternity leave and pay to start.
What is Time Off for Antenatal Care?
Women are allowed time off not just for medical appointments, but also antenatal or parenting classes if they have been recommended by a doctor or midwife.
How Do I Qualify for Maternity Leave?
Every woman who is an employee is entitled to take maternity leave.
How Much Maternity Leave Do I Get?
If you are in employment, you can take up to 52 weeks of Statutory Maternity Leave.
You do not have to take all your Statutory Maternity Leave, but you must take at least 2 weeks of ‘compulsory maternity leave’ after your baby is born. If you work in a factory you must take 4 weeks.
Will I Get Maternity Pay?
You will be entitled to maternity pay if:
- you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth known as the ‘qualifying week’
- earn on average at least £107 a week
- give the correct notice (at least 28 days’ notice)
- you give your employer proof are pregnant (a doctor’s letter or a MATB1 certificate which you can get from your midwife proving when your baby is due)
How Much Maternity Pay Shall I Get?
Statutory Maternity Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks, usually as follows:
- the first 6 weeks90% of your average weekly earnings (AWE) before tax
- the next 33 weeks£135.45 or 90% of your AWE (whichever is lower)
- You should not receive less than the statutory amount but you may be entitled to more if your employer has an occupational maternity scheme.
- You must tell your employer that you want to start your paid maternity leave at least 28 days before you want it to start.
- You must also hand your employer a doctor’s letter or a MATB1 certificate proving when your baby is due (which you can get from your midwife).
Can I Come Back to Work and Still Get Maternity Pay?
No. If you come back to work you lose the rest of your entitlement to maternity pay, but –
- You are entitled to 10 'keeping in touch days'.
- What About Holiday Pay?
- You continue to accrue holiday pay throughout your maternity leave.
- You can arrange with employer to take your untaken holiday entitlement at beginning or end of your maternity leave.
Does My Employer Have to Give Me My Job Back?
If you just take Ordinary Maternity Leave i.e. 26 weeks, they must give you your old job back.
If you take Additional Maternity Leave (more than the initial 26 weeks), your employer does not need to give you your old job back but they must allow you to return to a job on terms and conditions that are no worse than before went off.
Can I Be Made Redundant When on Maternity Leave?
Yes, but your employer should not select you for redundancy because you are on maternity leave. That is sex discrimination, and you can make a claim in the employment tribunal.
If you are made redundant whilst on maternity leave, you will still be entitled to rest of maternity pay up to the 39-week point.
Can I Come Back to Work Part Time?
You have no automatic right to insist that you return to work part time if you were previously employed on full time hours. However, you may ask your employer to agree to a period of adjusted hours or even that you work from home for a short time.
If they refuse your request, it may in some cases amount to sex discrimination. You need to seek advice from a solicitor if you have been refused flexible working, as you only have a short time to make a claim.
What If I Am Dismissed After I Have Told My Employer That I Am Pregnant?
If you have been dismissed at any point after having told your employer that you are pregnant, you may have a claim for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination. You will need to seek advice as soon as possible as time to make a claim runs out very quickly. We offer no win no fee agreements to women in these circumstances.
We at Lloyd Donnelly know how to win cases for women dismissed in these circumstances. We have seen employers try and argue that they have dismissed pregnant employees for their work performance, but we have managed to flush the truth out and convince the tribunal to find in our client’s favour.
Contact one of our solicitors now if you feel your rights have been compromised.
Contact our maternity discrimination lawyers today - Hertfordshire & London, UK
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