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HCR Law Events

7 January 2022

Maternity and paternity leave

Whilst it is one of the most exciting times of life, childbirth can also be one of the most stressful. However, aside from getting everything ready for their arrival, it’s important to remember to take time for yourself. Maternity and paternity leave shouldn’t be overlooked. As an important part of the process, it’s essential to know what both employer and employee should be doing throughout the process.

In this article we take a look at what maternity and paternity policies should include. Most employees are entitled to maternity or paternity leave and pay. Every employer has a duty to ensure that policies and procedures are compliant with legislative requirements.

Maternity

Maternity polices should include:

  • The amount of time the employee is entitled to take (up to 52 weeks)
  • The amount of maternity pay the employee is entitled to take (39 weeks)
  • The ability to take advantage of up to ten ‘keep in touch’ days

All employees can take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. This equates to 26 ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks additional maternity leave. In order to qualify for maternity pay, employees must:

  • Have worked continuously for 26 weeks ending at the 15th week prior to the “expected week of childbirth”
  • Give at least 28 days’ notice of their intention to take maternity leave
  • Still be pregnant 11 weeks before the “expected week of childbirth” or have already given birth

Paternity

All paternity policies should include:

  • The amount of time the employee is entitled to take (up to two weeks)
  • The amount of statutory paternity pay they may be entitled to
  • The option to take advantage of up to ten ‘keep in touch days’

All employees can take up to two weeks’ paternity leave. In order to qualify for paternity pay, an employee should:

  • Have worked continuously for 26 weeks for their employer ending at the 15th week prior to the “expected week of childbirth”
  • Have weekly earnings no less than the lower earnings limit set by the government

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About the Author
Elaine Fisher, Partner (non-solicitor), Senior HR Consultant

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