Q. How much maternity leave is a pregnant employee entitled to?
A. From April 1, 2007, a pregnant employee is entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave made up of 26 weeks ordinary leave followed by 26 weeks additional leave.
Q. Does a pregnant employee have to have worked for an employer for a certain period of time before becoming entitled to the full 52 weeks maternity leave?
A. A pregnant employee does not have to have worked for a set number of weeks to become entitled to additional maternity leave as well as ordinary maternity leave.
Q. When can maternity leave start?
A. A woman can choose when her maternity leave starts provided that it is not earlier than the 11th week before the expected week of confinement.
Q. What procedures does a pregnant employee have to take to qualify for maternity leave?
A. A woman will have to notify her employer in or before the 15th week before her expected week of childbirth, or as soon as is reasonably practicable, of the following:
her expected week of childbirth
the date on which she intends to start her ordinary maternity leave
Q. What does the employer have to do when he/she has been notified of an employee wishing to take maternity leave?
A. Once an employer has received notification from an employee that she wishes to take maternity leave, the employer must within 28 days write to the employee and state the date on which she is expected to return from maternity leave.
Q. When does additional maternity leave start?
A. Additional maternity leave will commence immediately after the period of ordinary maternity leave. There cannot be a gap between the two types of maternity leave and there is no set procedure to follow for taking it.
Q. Does the employee have to inform the employer that she is taking additional maternity leave?
A. Although there is no set procedure a woman must follow, it is advisable and also helpful if she writes to her employer to tell them that she is taking additional maternity leave, the date it will start and the date she plans to return to work. The employer has the right to make contact with her while she is on maternity leave to discuss work matters. The employee may also have a clause in her contract which requires her to inform her employer about additional maternity leave.
Your local CAB can provide further advice and information on all employment matters. There are CABs located in Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton.