Family Related Leave


Maternity Leave

All female employees are entitled to 52 weeks Maternity Leave regardless of their length of service.  The 52 weeks is made up of 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave. There are however, a few qualifying conditions for Statutory Maternity Pay.  These are:

  • You must have worked for your employer for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks ending with the qualifying week – that is, the fifteenth week before childbirth; and
  • Your average weekly earnings in the eight weeks up to and including the qualifying week (or the equivalent period if they are paid monthly) have been at least equal to the Lower Earnings Limit for National Insurance contributions (which is currently £90.00, effective from 6th April 2008).
  • You can decide when you want your maternity leave to start, although it cannot start any earlier than the 11th week before your baby is due.  Once you have decided when you want your leave to start you must tell your employer (in writing, if they ask for it) no later than the 15th week before your baby is due.   You should tell your employer you are pregnant, when your baby is due and the date you want your leave to start.

    Your employer has obligations to you under Health and Safety legislation that includes ensuring that the safety of you and your baby are not at risk because of your job.  In order to assess your safety your employer should carry out a risk assessment to identify any risks or hazards to you or your baby and take steps to ensure that your exposure to these risks is minimised.

    All workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks annual leave per year and employees who are on maternity leave will continue to accrue this minimum holiday entitlement.

    Paternity Leave

    To qualify for paternity leave, an employee must tell his employer that he intends to take paternity leave by the end of the fifteenth week before the week (the qualifying week) the baby is due or; if this isn’t possible, as soon as is reasonably practicable.  To qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), an employee must tell his employer that he wants to get SPP at least 28 days beforehand.  Where an employee is entitled to both pay and leave, the notice given for leave by the fifteenth week before the week the baby is due can count for pay as well. During their paternity leave employees may be entitled to one or two weeks’ Statutory Paternity Pay.

    Bereavement Leave

    There is no legal right to paid bereavement leave other than that which is agreed between the employer and employee in the contract of employment. However, employees are entitled to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to deal with to deal with any unexpected or sudden emergencies, which can include the death of a dependant.  When a dependant dies, an employee can take time off to make funeral arrangements, as well as to attend a funeral. A dependant is defined as the husband, wife, child or parent of the employee.

    Flexible Working Hours

    Parents of children under six or disabled children under 18 have the legal right to request flexible working patterns and their employers have a duty to seriously consider their requests. This right also extends to carers of an adult spouse, partner, near relative or any adult living at the same address.

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