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Overview of the Maternity policy

This document is GDPR compliant.

Notify staff and managers about the statutory maternity leave regime with this maternity policy. Ensure your staff know when maternity leave can be taken as well when they have to return to work after leave. This maternity leave policy covers eligibility, notification requirements, as well as statutory maternity pay.

Use this maternity policy:

  • to inform staff and managers about the statutory maternity leave regime

This maternity policy covers:

  • entitlement to leave for ante-natal appointments
  • what is maternity leave
  • who is eligible for maternity leave
  • when maternity leave can be taken
  • notification requirements
  • statutory maternity pay
  • employer's enhanced maternity pay
  • rights during maternity leave
  • returning to work after leave

A maternity policy is a policy that sets out the applicable maternity leave regime and explains the statutory entitlements to maternity leave and pay.

Introducing a maternity policy helps managers and staff understand the rights and obligations attached to maternity leave. It ensures staff are aware of their rights when they get pregnant and it provides assistance in their return to work. Having a maternity policy encourages equality and fairness within the workplace.

To qualify for statutory maternity leave, staff must:

  • Be pregnant;
  • Be an employee under an employment contract, i.e. not a worker;
  • Give the employer notice of the leave at least 15 weeks before the due date; and
  • Specify when they want the maternity leave to start.

The earliest date maternity leave can start is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. In some situations, maternity leave can start earlier than planned. In particular, it can start :

  • The day after the child's birth if the child is born prematurely ;
  • Immediately if the employee is sick for a pregnancy-related reason during the 4 weeks before the expected week of childbirth.

During maternity leave, the employment contract continues except for pay entitlement, and all benefits must continue as normal. This means employees are entitled to:

  • Pay rise or benefits in any kind
  • Accrued holiday

When the leave starts, staff is entitled to statutory maternity pay (SMP) during up to 39 weeks, which amounts to:

  • 90% of normal pay during the first 6 weeks; and
  • 90% of the average weekly salary or £140.98 a week (whichever is lower) for a further 33 weeks.

To qualify for SMP, staff must:

  • Earn at least £112 a week (on average);
  • Give the employer at least 28 days notice for SMP to start;
  • Prove that they are pregnant; and
  • Have at least 26 weeks of continuous employment on the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.

Employees should return to work after the maternity leave period ends, and employers must indicate the date of return in writing within 28 days from the date notifying the maternity leave.

The employee may not wish to return to work after the end of the maternity leave. The maternity policy should mention that in such case, employees should notify the employer that they wish to request parental leave. For more information see our Quicg Guide on Parental leave.

Ask a lawyer for:

  • changing an existing maternity leave policy that is contractually binding
  • where allegations of discrimination are made in connection with maternity leave

This maternity leave policy is governed by the law of England and Wales.

Other names for Maternity policy

Maternity rights statement.