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Maternity Rights

Current maternity rights mean that women can take at least 26 weeks' maternity leave - 'Ordinary Maternity Leave' - and some are entitled to a period of up to 52 weeks because they satisfy certain qualifying conditions - 'Additional Maternity Leave'.

In brief, a pregnant employee cannot be dismissed, or singled out for redundancy, for reasons connected with her pregnancy. At the end of maternity leave, she is entitled to resume her job on the same terms and conditions as if she had never been absent. However, if a redundancy situation has arisen during her Ordinary or Additional Maternity Leave, or there is genuine reason why her original job is no longer available after Additional Maternity Leave, then she must be offered suitable alternative work.

Advice on Maternity Rights

Our experienced team can advise employers and pregnant women employees on all aspects of Maternity Law including their rights regarding:

  • Time off with pay for ante-natal care
  • Health and safety within the workplace
  • Ordinary Maternity Leave - entitlement and notification procedures
  • Additional Maternity Leave - entitlement and notification procedures
  • Premature Birth or Work Absence
  • Return to work after maternity absence
  • Compulsory maternity leave
  • Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)


If a woman stops work to have a baby she is entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) for up to 26 weeks. The first six weeks are payable at the higher rate of 90% of her average weekly earnings. The following 20 weeks are payable at the lesser of 90% of her average weekly earnings or the standard rate determined.

For full details on any aspect of maternity rights, employers or employees should contact our helpful and knowledgeable team today.