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As an employer, you will have a wide range of legal obligations towards your employees. Among these will include allowing employees to exercise their maternity leave rights at work.
Neglecting your maternity leave responsibilities could have serious consequences for your business, so it is essential that you have the support and assistance of experienced employment law solicitors on your side.
At Glanvilles, our employment law solicitors have specific expertise in guiding employers through maternity leave matters, including providing general advice on UK maternity laws and resolving maternity disputes.
We have particular skills and experience in utilising alternative dispute resolution to resolve any employment disputes, including those related to maternity, before they proceed to employment tribunal proceedings. However, where a claim has been started, we have the necessary experience to find a resolution in the most cost-effective manner and as amicably as possible.
Our services include:
Our team will take the time to gain a detailed understanding of your case and the resolution you wish to achieve. From here, we can act proactively to provide pragmatic advice and ensure that the right framework is put in place to help to handle maternity right leave matters.
UK maternity rules can be complex and difficult to correctly navigate. However, given how serious the consequences can be for failing to uphold your obligations as an employer, it is vital that you seek out specialist maternity law advice wherever necessary.
Our team can provide bespoke employment law advice in relation to maternity, including your employees’ employment rights, maternity leave, maternity pay, role changes after maternity, and what actions could amount to maternity discrimination.
Where an employee believes that their maternity rights have not been upheld, or they are the victim of maternity discrimination, your business may find itself involved in a dispute. Without prompt advice, these disputes could be incredibly disruptive and result in long-term consequences for your business.
When instructed, our team can carefully review your situation and advise on the best approach for resolving the maternity dispute. We have notable skills in using alternative dispute resolution to help reach an out-of-court resolution, finding a solution that is in the best interests of all parties.
However, if this is not possible, and employment tribunal proceedings are launched, we can also provide robust representation and will guide you through the process in the most cost-effective manner.
In the UK, there are very strict guidelines with regards to the maternity rights that employees will have.
Currently, employees will have a Statutory Maternity Leave period of 52 weeks. This is made up of Ordinary Maternity Leave for the first 26 weeks and Additional Maternity Leave for the second 26 weeks.
An employee does not have to take the full 52-week period off, but they must take 2 weeks’ leave after the baby is born (4 weeks when an employee works in a factory).
The earliest an employee can start their maternity leave is usually 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. Leave will also start the day after the birth of the baby (if early), or automatically if an employee is off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the four weeks before the week, the baby is due.
With regards to maternity pay, an employee will be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) for up to 39 weeks. With SMP, an employee will receive:
SMP will typically start when an employee takes maternity leave.
To qualify, an employee must earn, on average, at least £123 a week, provide the correct notice and proof of pregnancy and have worked for your business for at least 26 weeks continuing into the ‘qualifying week’.
An employee may see fit to bring forward a claim of pregnancy or maternity discrimination if they believe that they have been unfavourably treated because of their pregnancy or maternity.
The Equality Act 2010 outlines that an employer must not discriminate against anyone they employ, or are considering employing, because of:
Actions that could be described as maternity discrimination could include:
Someone could bring forward maternity discrimination up until the point their maternity leave ends, they return to work, or they leave their job.
As an employer, you will be responsible for paying Statutory Maternity Pay to employees who are on maternity leave.
You do not have to provide maternity pay after the 39 week window for Statutory Maternity Pay. If someone takes the full 52 weeks’ maternity leave, you will not be obligated to pay them beyond the 39-week mark, unless an employees’ contract offers Enhanced Maternity Pay.
Enhanced maternity pay must not be less than Standard Maternity Pay.
Unlike standard employees, agency workers are not entitled to the same rights to return to work. Agency workers are not entitled to Statutory Maternity Leave, and a separate agreement will need to be made – either with the agency, or your business (as the hirer).
Agency workers are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay, but this is paid by the agency rather than the hirer.
An employee and their partner may apply for Shared Parental Leave and Shared Parental Pay. With this, they will share the first 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them, meaning an employee may return to work sooner than they would if they took Statutory Maternity Leave.
Our maternity lawyers can offer:
When you use our maternity advice service, we promise:
Looking for expert legal help with any maternity issues that may be facing your business?