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Maternity leave

Updating author: Jo Broadbent, Hogan Lovells


  • Regardless of her length of service, every pregnant employee has the right to take 26 weeks' ordinary maternity leave, followed immediately by 26 weeks' additional maternity leave. (See Entitlement to ordinary and additional maternity leave)
  • During both ordinary and additional maternity leave, an employee is entitled to the benefit of, and is bound by, all of the terms and conditions of employment that would have applied but for her absence, except for terms and conditions regarding remuneration. (See Application of terms and conditions during maternity leave)
  • Where agreed between the employer and employee, an employee can carry out up to 10 days' work for her employer during her statutory maternity leave period without bringing her maternity leave to an end. (See Work and contact during the maternity leave period)
  • An employee returning to work after a period of maternity leave has the right to do so to the job she occupied immediately before her maternity leave began or, in prescribed circumstances, to a suitable alternative job on terms and conditions no less favourable than those of her original job. (See Right to return to work after maternity leave)
  • A pregnant employee has the right to paid time off work to attend antenatal appointments if her attendance has been recommended by a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse. With effect from 1 October 2014, fathers and partners have the right to unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman to up to two antenatal appointments. (See Other statutory rights)
  • An employee who is dismissed, for whatever reason, during her pregnancy or while absent on maternity leave must be supplied with a written statement explaining the reasons for her dismissal. (See Written statement of reasons for dismissal)

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