Maternity, paternity & shared leave

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Maternity & paternity leave


Maternity leave
Eligible employees can take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave.
Statutory maternity  leave consists of two parts:
  • Ordinary Maternity Leave– this applies to the first 26 weeks of maternity leave. During this period, holidays are accrued in the same way as if the employee was at work. 
  • Additional Maternity Leave – this applies to the next 26 weeks of maternity leave, which must follow on directly from the Ordinary Maternity Leave. 
Statutory Maternity Pay:
Eligible employees can be paid for up to 39 weeks, usually as follows:
  • the first 6 weeks: 90% of their average weekly earnings (AWE) before tax
  • the remaining 33 weeks: £145.18 or 90% of their AWE (whichever is lower)
  • Additional leave payment can be offered above the statutory amounts, through a company maternity scheme. 
Paternity leave:
Employees can take either one or two consecutive weeks off work when the baby is born. This is known as Ordinary Paternity Leave and it also applies to parents adopting a child.
Additional Paternity leave can be granted if the company offers an additional scheme or if the employee is eligible for shared parental leave (see below)
Shared parental leave:
Shared Parental Leave (SPL) enables eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed with them for adoption. This could involve returning to work for part of the time and then resuming leave at a later date.
There are a few ways to organise shared parental leave between the parents. More information here

Disclaimer: this article is only intended as an overview of the legislation. You must always check directly with HMRC, ACAS or your own legal consultant for further information.