Maternity leave is the right for employees to take up to 12 months’ leave on giving birth. To be eligible for leave, the employee must give notice of their pregnancy in a particular form and must specify when they want leave to start. In some situations, maternity leave can start earlier than planned (eg in some cases when the employee is sick for a pregnancy-related reason or if they give birth prematurely).
Maternity leave is divided into six months’ 'ordinary maternity leave' (OML) followed by six months’ 'additional maternity leave' (AML). There is no minimum service requirement. If the employee’s child is born on or after 5 April 2015 and they and their partner qualify, the employee may use shared parental leave instead of taking OML and AML in full. The employee can choose to take OML and AML in full before and after 5 April 2015 and not use shared parental leave
Employees with six months’ service who earn more than a set (low) amount which changes periodically are entitled to statutory maternity pay (SMP) of 90% of normal pay during the first six weeks and then a fixed statutory rate for a further 33 weeks (£148.68 a week as of April 7th 2019).