Pregnancy and maternity


Last updated 1 July, 2018

Principle and statement of intent

You have certain statutory rights if you are pregnant. These are addressed below, listing what conditions must be met for you to be entitled to the rights. To obtain the benefit of each right, you must have complied with all of the conditions.

The rules on pregnancy and maternity are very complex and any query should be raised with Bumbles Day Care.

ANTENATAL CARE

You are entitled to reasonable time off work, with pay to attend for ante-natal care at appointments made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health worker. If requested, you must provide a certificate of pregnancy and an appointment card.

STATUTORY MATERNITY PAY

You are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) if you have been:

  • Employed by your Employer into the qualifying week which is the 15th week before the week your baby is due;
  • Employed by the same employer without a break for at least 26 weeks into the 15th week before your baby is due. Part weeks count as full weeks.
  • Earning average weekly earnings of not less than the figure set by the Government for the payment of National Insurance Contributions.
  • And have informed your Employer no later than the end of the 15th week before the week that the baby is due that:
    • You are pregnant;
    • When the expected week of childbirth is;
    • When you want maternity leave to start;
    • An employee must provide medical evidence of the Expected Week of Confinement (EWC).

The earliest date that SMP can start is from the 11th week before the week your baby is due and the latest from the day following the birth. SMP is paid the day you begin your maternity leave. If your baby is born before the start of the 11th week SMP will be paid the day following the birth of your baby. If you are off sick due to a pregnancy-related reason at the start of, or within the 4 weeks before your baby is due, SMP will start from the day following the first complete day you are off sick.

  • SMP is paid for a continuous period of up to 39 weeks.
  • First 6 weeks 90% of your average weekly earnings with no upper limit
  • Remaining 33 weeks is paid at a Standard rate set by the Government or at a rate equal to 90% of your average weekly earnings. You will get whichever rate is lower.

Maternity leave

All pregnant Employees are entitled to take up to one year’s (52 weeks) maternity leave, regardless of length of service with an employer. To take maternity leave you should inform your Employer no later than the end of the15th week before the week that the baby is due (or as soon as is reasonably practicable) that:

  • You are pregnant;
  • When the expected week of childbirth is;
  • When you want maternity leave to start;
  • An employee must provide medical evidence of the Expected Week of Confinement (EWC).

Your Employer must notify you of the end date of your maternity leave within 28 days of receiving your notification, setting out the date on which you are expected to return to work if you wish to take your full entitlement to maternity leave. You can change the date you start your maternity leave as long as you give 28 day’s notice to your employer. If you are absent from work due to a maternity-related reason within 4 weeks of your EWC but before the date you have notified, your maternity leave begins automatically after the first day of your absence.

Compulsory maternity leave

You are legally prohibited from working during the two weeks, or four weeks if you work in a factory, immediately after the birth; this is known as the “compulsory maternity leave period” and is considered part of the ordinary maternity leave period.
Maternity leave is a single continuous period and is made up of:

  • 26 week’s Ordinary Maternity leave – Whilst on ordinary maternity leave all contractual benefits except for your pay will be maintained as if you were not absent. At the end of your maternity leave you are entitled to return to the job you were in before you went away.
  • And 26 week’s Additional Maternity Leave – This follows ordinary maternity leave and there must be no gap between the two. Whilst on additional maternity leave all contractual benefits except for your pay will be maintained as if you were not absent. At the end of your maternity leave you are entitled to return to the job you were in before you went away.

Keeping in touch days

You may, if you wish, and your Employer agrees, have up to 10 “keeping in touch days” during maternity leave. You will carry out work for your Employer during these days not limited to your usual job and therefore receive payment for them. If you are receiving Statutory Maternity Pay during these days, your Employer can count this towards the amount of pay agreed. Payment must be at least the National Minimum Wage and agreed between you and your Employer. These 10 days may be undertaken at any stage of the maternity leave period, except during the compulsory period, with the agreement of your employer.

Returning to work

If you wish to return to work at the end of the 52 weeks of maternity leave and have not told your employer that you wish to come back at any other time, you do not need to provide any other notice.

If you wish to change the date of your return, you may do so provided you give your employer 8 week’s notice.

If you decide not to return to work at the end your maternity leave you are entitled to receive your full amount of statutory maternity leave and pay. You must give your employer notice under your contract.

The above information is given for guidance purposes only and confers no extra rights to you beyond those provided by statute.