For some women, informing your boss that you are pregnant can be difficult. You are legally not required to inform your employer of your pregnancy and intention to take maternity leave until the 15th week before your baby is due (Qualifying Week). But the sooner you inform them, the better chance for you to discuss and plan your maternity leave and your return to work with your boss. Therefore, it is advisable for you to inform your employer as soon as possible, considering there may also be health and safety factors your employer will need to take into account.
Additionally, once your employer knows of your pregnancy you are protected against unfavourable treatment because of pregnancy-related discrimination. You must inform your employer formally in writing before the end of your Qualifying Week confirming:
that you are pregnant;
the date of the week that your baby is due;
the date you want your maternity leave to begin**;
the date when you will start claiming Statutory Maternity Pay.
**You can decide when you want your maternity leave to begin, as long as it’s not earlier than the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth.
You are then required to submit MATB1 form, signed by your GP or Midwife for payroll purposes and to medically confirm the expected week of childbirth. Your employer would then confirm and notify you of the leave date and end date within 28 days from receiving the MATB1 form.
Before going on maternity leave, you are entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments during working hours. However, you must give as much notice as possible.
You can change the start date for your maternity leave as long as you inform your employer of the new date in writing at least 28 days before the earlier of the original or revised date. Your employer will then write to you within 28 days of you giving the new date to tell you when your maternity leave will now end.
You are entitled to 52 weeks’ maternity leave, consisting of 26 weeks’ ‘ordinary’ maternity leave and 26 weeks’ ‘additional’ maternity leave. Your rights are slightly different during the additional maternity leave. This is your right regardless of how long you have worked for the employer or how many hours you work.
Your employer should carry out risk assessments to ensure your safety at work. If you have been medically advised to vary your duties or working hours, you must inform your employer as they have a duty to accommodate your needs.
During your maternity leave, your employer may need to contact you from time to time while you are on maternity leave. Therefore, it is crucial to discuss the level of contact that will suit both of you prior to going on maternity leave. You have the right to agree to have up to 10 paid keeping-in-touch days but your employer cannot force you to work.
You are not allowed to come back to work for the two weeks immediately after giving birth. This is called ‘compulsory maternity leave’. It increases to four weeks for women working in factories.
If you wish to return to work earlier than the return date, you must give your manager at least eight weeks written notice. You are entitled to take up the same job you had before going on maternity leave if you return to work immediately after your ordinary maternity leave ends. Should you instead return after taking additional maternity leave, you may be offered a similar job if it is not reasonably practical for you to resume your previous role. Your terms and conditions will be unchanged.
When you return after maternity leave, you will meet your boss/ manager to discuss what has happened in your absence. You will also have the opportunity to talk about other issues, such as breastfeeding during working hours.
If, however, you have no intention to return to work, you must inform your employer in writing as soon as possible, giving them notice as required under your employment contract. You are able to serve your notice period whilst on maternity leave.
On the other hand, if you are temporarily unable to attend work at the end of maternity leave due to illness, then the normal arrangements for sickness will apply.
To find out information on paternity leave or shared parental leave, or even maternity discrimination give us a call on 0330 221 0684 or email us on [email protected].
Maternity Disclosure Summary
Inform your employer of your maternity as soon as possible.
Provide employer with the relevant information before the end of your Qualifying Week.
Submit MATB1 form before the end of your Qualifying Week confirming.
Inform your employer of any antenatal appointments.
Employer to carry out risk assessment.Must not request or return to work during compulsory maternity leave.
Give your employer 8 weeks’ notice prior to your early return date.
If you have no intention to return, give notice per your employment contract.
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