Letter reminding an employee absent for a pregnancy-related reason that if the absence continues into the fourth week before the expected week of childbirth it will trigger her maternity leave

Author: Katie Wood

When to use this model maternity letter

Use this model letter to inform an employee who is absent for a pregnancy-related reason that, if her absence continues into the fourth week before the expected week of childbirth, this will trigger the start of her maternity leave and pay.

Letter wording

[Sender's name]
[Sender's address]
[Sender's town]
[Sender's postcode]
[Date]

[Recipient's name]
[Recipient's address]
[Recipient's town]
[Recipient's postcode]

Dear [ ]

[Thank you for informing [me/name] that you are absent from work for a pregnancy-related reason.]

[OR

I note that you have been suspended from work on maternity grounds because of health and safety requirements from [date].]

I am writing to let you know that, if your absence continues into the fourth week before your expected week of childbirth, your maternity leave and pay will start on the day after your first day of absence from the beginning of that week. As your expected week of childbirth is the week beginning [Sunday at the start of the expected week of childbirth], the fourth week before your expected week of childbirth will begin on [four weeks prior to the Sunday at the start of the expected week of childbirth].

If your absence continues after [date at start of fourth week before the expected week of childbirth], your ordinary maternity leave and maternity pay will start on [date]. You will receive statutory maternity pay, which will be paid at 90% of your average earnings for the first six weeks.

If your absence continues after [date at start of fourth week before expected week of childbirth], you must notify [name] as soon as it is reasonable for you to do so that you are absent because of your pregnancy and the date on which your absence began. I enclose a form for you to complete. Please return the form to [name].

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to speak to [name].

Yours sincerely

[ ]

How to use this document

This is an example document and should be adapted to suit your circumstances.

Law relating to this document

Leading statutory authority

Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3312)
Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992

The earliest that maternity leave can start is after the beginning of the 11th week before the employee's expected week of childbirth. If the employee is absent from work wholly or partly because of pregnancy in the four weeks before the expected week of childbirth, her maternity leave will begin on the day after the first day on which she is absent. In these circumstances, her SMP will start on the day following the first day of her absence.

If an employee is suspended on maternity grounds because of health and safety requirements, she will be regarded as absent because of pregnancy and her maternity leave and pay will be triggered from the day after her first day of absence from the start of the fourth week before the expected week of childbirth.

The employee must notify her employer as soon as reasonably practicable that she is absent for a pregnancy-related reason and the date on which her absence began. The notice must be in writing if the employer requests this.

Notes

This letter should be sent to an employee who is absent from work for a pregnancy-related reason in the weeks prior to the fourth week before her expected week of childbirth.

Warning

Pregnancy-related absence includes a maternity suspension on full pay on health and safety grounds.

If there is any uncertainty about whether or not the absence is wholly or partly pregnancy-related, the employee should seek advice from her GP or other health professional.

The employer can agree to waive the right to trigger the start of an employee's maternity leave and pay in the four weeks before the expected week of childbirth where, for example, the employee is absent for the odd day of sickness or maternity leave cover is not yet due to start.

Future developments

None.