Maternity Pay

Most women are entitled to maternity leave, and it does not depend on how long they have been employed. The rules have just been changed, and a calendar is needed in calculating the period of the leave.

Current rules on maternity
If the baby is due before 1 April 2007, the mother gets a minimum of 26 weeks' leave, no matter how long she has worked for the employer. This is known as Ordinary Maternity Leave.

If she has been working for her employer for at least 26 weeks at the beginning of the 14th week before her baby is due, she can get an extra 26 weeks,which is called Additional Maternity Leave.

Changes after 1 April 2007
If the baby is due after 1 April 2007, the mother will get a minimum 26 weeks' leave, no matter how long she has worked for the employer. She can also get another 26 weeks, again no matter how long she has worked there.
This is called Additional Maternity Leave. So a mother can get a total of 52 weeks' maternity leave.

What must the employer be told?
The mother-to-be must tell her employer ,by the end of the 15th week before her baby is due that she is pregnant, the date the baby is due, and the date she wants maternity leave to start. But she does not need to tell her employer that she is returning to work unless she wants to return earlier.

Qualifying for statutory maternity pay
If she has worked for her employer for at least 26 weeks at the beginning of the 15th week before her baby is due, she may qualify for statutory maternity pay. If the baby is due before 1 April 2007, she can get up to 26 weeks' statutory maternity pay. If the baby is due on or after 1 April 2007, she can get up to 39 weeks' statutory maternity pay. Statutory maternity pay is the minimum amount the mother should be paid, but her contract of employment may entitle her to more than that minimum amount.

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