Maternity Leave and Statutory Maternity Pay

A Basic Summary

The Government is committed to helping working parents. Changes to maternity leave rights benefit women whose expected week of childbirth (EWC) begins on or after 6 April 2003.

At the same time, the Government is introducing rights to paid adoption and paternity leave, and the right for parents of young children to apply to work flexibly. These rights, together with existing rights to parental leave and time off for dependants, provide parents with more opportunities than ever before to balance work and family life, whilst being compatible with, and beneficial to, business efficiency.

This document provides only basic information on the key changes to maternity leave – many maternity-related rights and obligations remain unchanged, including the right to time off for antenatal care, the two-week period of compulsory maternity leave after the birth, the maternity health and safety suspension provisions, and the right to protection from detrimental treatment on grounds of maternity. This document does not attempt to describe the detail of the changes and should not be taken as an authoritative statement of the law.

Detailed guidance on both the existing and the new rights is given in an HMRC document Employer Helpbook for Statutory Maternity Pay (PDF).

Women whose babies are due on or after 6 April 2003, and their employers, will benefit from revised, simplified rights to maternity leave.

Women whose expected chidbirth is due on or after 5th October 2008, will keep their normal employment rights and benefits (apart from wages) throughout the ordinary and additional maternity leave.

Maternity Leave & Statutory Maternity Pay business advice Crown Copyright © 2003-2011

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