Families and Pregnancy – Maternity, paternity and adoption rights

Parents in the UK have statutory rights to maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave

Employers should be aware of the various protections available to pregnant employees and employees on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave.

Parents in the UK have statutory rights to maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave.  In addition, other rights for employed parents to be aware of are time off for emergencies involving dependants and unpaid parental leave. The right to request flexible working is also available.

Maternity and pregnancy protection

Pregnant employees and employees on maternity leave are protected against discrimination.  They are also entitled to time off for antenatal appointments and qualifying partners can also take unpaid time off at up to two appointments.

Mothers are entitled to statutory maternity pay as long as they meet certain requirements and if mothers are not entitled to maternity pay they may be entitled to maternity allowance.

Mothers are also entitled to 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave. Employees who return to work within six months of having a child are entitled to return to the same job as before maternity leave and after 6 months are entitled to return to the same or a similar job if it is not reasonably practicable to return to the previous job.

All contractual terms apart from remuneration have to continue throughout statutory maternity leave including holiday accrual and women who qualify are also entitled to redundancy protection, keeping in touch days during maternity leave, to be protected from detriment, unfair treatment or dismissal because of pregnancy or maternity leave.

Shared Parental Leave and pay

Eligible parents are entitled to shared parental leave and pay which can be split between the two parents if the mother elects to give up her leave.

Paternity protection

Eligible employees are entitled to two weeks’ leave and also to return to the same job and terms and conditions following the paternity leave. They are also entitled not be to subjected to a detriment or dismissed because of taking the leave.

Time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant

Employees are entitled to a reasonable amount of time off to deal with the emergency.  The dependant could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent or someone who depends on the employee’s care.

Adoption Leave and pay

Statutory adoption leave and pay are available in line with maternity leave and pay set out above.

Parental leave

Qualifying employees can take up to 18 weeks for each child unpaid.

Bereavement leave

Eligible employed parents have the right to two weeks of bereavement leave following the passing of a child.

Contact our HR Consultants today

For more information on maternity, paternity and adoption rights, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist team by filling out our online enquiry form or by calling 0333 222 0989.


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