What you need to know about maternity leave and the new Shared Parental Leave
You’ve stocked up on all the baby essentials, painted the nursery and bought all the books. But if you’re a working parent-to-be, there’s one thing to consider that’s more vital than the rest: maternity leave. Luckily, in this country, maternity leave is a right to all mothers in employment, meaning no matter what your job is, how long you’ve been doing it or how many hours you work, you are guaranteed maternity leave. All you have to do is give your employer the correct notice – which is currently at least 15 weeks before your due date.
How much leave do you get?
In terms of actual time off, there are two categories of maternity leave: ordinary and additional leave – both lasting 26 weeks, and making up the consecutive 52 weeks (one year) of total statutory leave. You don’t have to take the full 52 weeks, but you do have to take two to four weeks off after the birth depending on your profession.
Shared Parental Leave – the new rules
A recent boost to young families in this country is the brand-new Shared Parental Leave regulations. They will affect expectant parents with a due date or adoption placed from 5 April 2015 onwards. These new regulations give parents the option to share the maternity leave.
All the statutory leave given under maternity leave rights may be shared apart from the first two weeks immediately after birth when mums are the ones required to be off work.
Splitting the other 50 weeks is fantastic for both new parents and companies as it reduces the impact of the leave on work places and allows dads to be more involved in those vital early days.
Babies and everything that goes with them will certainly put an extra strain on your finances, but fortunately you may also be eligible to statutory maternity pay to help you along. You’ll qualify for these benefits if you have been working for your company consistently for 26 weeks (counting up until the 15th week before the week of your due date) and you earn an average of £109 per week before tax.
Need more information? Take a look at Gov.uk for more maternity pay and leave info or talk to your HR advisor.