Changes contained in the Work and Families Act which came into force on 1st April 2011 extended the rights of both mothers and fathers expecting or adopting a baby on or after 3rd April 2011.

Many of these changes were implemented to give new parents more flexibility in terms of sharing their leave entitlement. Most people are familiar with the concept, if not the details, of maternity leave and pay, but the rights of some employees to take paternity leave and pay may come as more of a surprise.

As an employer it is essential to understand these changes so as to recognise your responsibilities and fulfil your obligations under the new legislation. It is advisable to seek professional advice should you have any queries about maternity, paternity or adoption pay.

Parental payments from April 2011

 

   
Type of payment

 

Current rate (previous limit) Max. period
Statutory maternity pay (higher rate) 90% of normal weekly earnings 6 weeks
Statutory maternity pay (basic rate) £128.73 (£124.88) a week, or 90% of normal weekly earnings if lower 33 weeks
Maternity allowance £128.73 (£124.88) a week, or normal weekly earnings if lower 39 weeks
Statutory paternity pay £128.73 (£124.88) a week, or normal weekly earnings if lower 2 weeks
Statutory adoption pay £128.73 (£124.88) a week, or normal weekly earnings if lower 39 weeks