Where an employee plans to start their maternity leave on their due date can they postpone the start date if the baby does not arrive on time?
An employee is obliged to give notification of the date on which they wish their maternity leave to start no later than the end of the 15th week before the week the baby is due. If it is not reasonably practicable for them to give notification at this time, they must do so as soon as it is reasonably practicable. The employee may subsequently change their mind about the start date, but they must give their 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 the employee to give the requisite 28 days' notice of a revised start date for their maternity leave to begin. Therefore, they must start their 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.