From September 2015, employees will be entitled to take statutory maternity leave when they have given birth. The amount of leave to be taken will depend on the employee’s length of service, however, all employees will be entitled to at least 8 weeks’ leave.

In additional, a pregnant employee will be entitled to take paid time off during normal working hours in order to attend ante-natal classes. This right applies from day one of employment, and applies only to mothers. If their partner wants to take time off to attend the appointment, they will have to come to an agreement with their employer on how the time will be taken.

In order for this statutory right to apply, the appointment must be made on the advice of a:

  • Registered medical practitioner;
  • Registered midwife;
  • Registered nurse.

Usually, a woman will have 10 such ante-natal appointments throughout pregnancy. Employees do not have to seek your agreement in relation to the amount of time off to be taken but it should cover the travel and waiting time involved.

An employee must be paid at her normal rate for the time off.

All employees are entitled to 2 weeks’ leave immediately after childbirth. This is called compulsory leave and the employer must not allow the employee to work during this period. The employee is entitled to be paid in full for this period, but pay can be made up of maternity allowance received from the States, and topped up to full pay. An employee is also entitled to take ordinary maternity leave (the amount of which is dependent on her length of service) if she meets certain notification requirements

An employee who has complied with the above, and has less than 15 months’ service leading into the EWC (expected week of childbirth), is entitled to a maximum 6 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave in addition to her 2 week compulsory maternity leave period, totalling 8 weeks

An employee who has at least 15 months’ service leading into the EWC, is entitled to a maximum 16 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave in addition to her 2 week compulsory maternity leave period, totalling 18 weeks.

Employees who are adopting a child will have similar rights to take time off, however, there is no compulsory element to adoption leave. Instead, all employees will be entitled to 8 weeks ordinary leave; and those with 15 months’ service will be entitled to 18 weeks.

For more guidance, call our Advice Service on 0844 892 2788.