Will a surrogate mother be entitled to paid maternity leave?
Potentially yes, provided that she meets the normal eligibility criteria. What the birth mother plans to do with her baby after it is born has no impact on her right to maternity leave or statutory maternity pay. Pregnant employees have the right, irrespective of length of service, age, marital status or any other factor, to take up to 52 weeks' maternity leave and resume working afterwards. The employee must also give her employer notification of her pregnancy, of her expected week of childbirth and of the date on which she intends her maternity leave to start. This notification must be in writing if the employer so requests. Notification must be provided no later than the end of the 15th week before the week that the employee's baby is expected unless this is not reasonably practicable, in which case the employee must notify the employer as soon as it is reasonably practicable for her to do so.
In order to qualify for statutory maternity pay, the employee must have a minimum of 26 weeks' continuous service calculated as at the end of the 15th week before the week the baby is due, which is known as the "qualifying week". She must also have average weekly earnings that are equal to or greater than the lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions in force at the time, and still be employed by her employer during the qualifying week.
The intended parents, who will have responsibility for the care of the child, may be entitled to statutory adoption leave and pay, paternity leave and pay and shared parental leave and pay.