Pregnancy And Maternity Leave Rights
The law recognises and protects the rights of employees following pregnancy. At any time in, or after, the 11th week before your baby is due you can start your maternity leave.
Most women can take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave as from this or a later starting date, albeit an individual can choose to take less. As a complete minimum though, you must take off the first two weeks after the baby is born. If a full 52 weeks are taken then the first 26 weeks are called Ordinary Maternity Leave with it being possible to add to this a further 26 weeks called Additional Maternity Leave. Your employment contract may provide that you retain your entitlement to full pay during your maternity leave. If not, most women should have an entitlement to either Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance.