Maternity pay and leave

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Statutory Maternity Leave is 52 weeks. It’s made up of:

  • Ordinary Maternity Leave - first 26 weeks
  • Additional Maternity Leave - last 26 weeks

You do not have to take 52 weeks but you must take 2 weeks’ leave after your baby is born (or 4 weeks if you work in a factory).

Use the maternity planner to work out the dates for your ordinary and additional leave.

You may be entitled to take some of your leave as Shared Parental Leave.

Start date and early births

Usually, the earliest you can start your leave is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth.

Leave will also start:

  • the day after the birth if the baby is early
  • automatically if you’re off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week (Sunday to Saturday) that your baby is due

Use the maternity planner to work out the earliest date your maternity leave can start.

Change your date for returning to work

You must give your employer at least 8 weeks’ notice if you want to change your return to work date.