Where an employee plans to start her maternity leave on the day that her baby is due can she postpone her start date if the baby does not arrive on time?
An employee is obliged to give notification of the date on which she wishes her maternity leave to start no later than the end of the 15th week before the week her baby is due. If it is not reasonably practicable for her to give notification at this time, she must do so as soon as it is reasonably practicable. The employee may subsequently change her mind about the start date, but she must give her employer at least 28 days' notice of the revised start date, whether this is earlier or later than the date originally notified. It follows that if the baby is late, there will be no possibility for her to give the requisite 28 days' notice of a revised start date for her maternity leave to begin. The employee will therefore be duty bound to start her maternity leave on the date officially notified to the employer, ie the date the baby was due, even if it subsequently turns out that the baby is a late arrival.