Get In Touch
Employment for Individuals

Maternity Leave & Pay

Susie Al-Qassab
Susie Al‑Qassab
Image coming soon - Private
Natalie Wellock
Ellen Clabburn
Ellen Clabburn
Alexandra Pekanac
Alexandra Pecanac

Starting a family should be a happy and joyful time, however, this life-changing event can be made stressful if your employer isn’t supportive.

Parents and other individuals who are responsible for caring for dependants whilst working have a number of legal protections.

This section focuses on maternity rights but if you have caring responsibilities for children, relatives or dependants you should also be aware of the right to request flexible working, and other ‘family-friendly rights’ such as the right to shared parental leave, parental leave, and emergency time off for dependants (all subject to certain eligibility criteria).

Your statutory rights

By law, pregnant employees are entitled to a number of statutory rights, including:

  • Paid time off work for ante-natal care
  • ‘Keeping in touch’ days – allowing you to keep in touch with your employer without bringing your maternity leave to an end
  • Maternity pay
  • The right to return to your job after having a baby
  • Protection from discrimination and unfair dismissal if you’re dismissed because of pregnancy or maternity leave.

Similarly, specific paternity rights exist if your partner is having a baby. The law also provides the right to shared parental leave, adoption leave and parental leave. For more information on paternity leave and pay click here, and for shared parental leave and other family friendly rights click here.


Contact our specialist employment lawyers on
or request a call back.
Back to top

How do I get legal assistance?

Speak to our knowledgeable team

If you’re concerned about how your employer is treating you, then we will advise you on whether or not you may be eligible for certain rights and how you can exercise those rights.

Representing your interests

Your case will be allocated to the most appropriate lawyer for your circumstances. Your lawyer will be able to consider your situation and advise you on how best to protect your position and secure the outcome you want.

Funding options

We’ll ensure you’re provided with clear information on costs. You may have the benefit of alternative funding through your legal expenses insurance provider or trade union. If you don’t, we’ll be able to provide you with clear and upfront cost estimates to ensure you remain in control of your costs at every stage.

Back to top

What outcomes can I expect?

Easily contactable

Our dedicated employment law legal team are always on hand to provide legal advice on your maternity, paternity, adoption, or parental leave rights. We pride ourselves on always being available to speak to our clients about their queries and worries.


We can help you to resolve disputes with your employer through discussion where possible, or we can take legal action against your employer to enforce your rights. If you’re discriminated against or victimised for exercising your rights, we’ll fight your corner.

"My solicitor was very approachable and helpful in explaining everything very clearly. She took the time to make sure I understood all the points and that I was getting the best advice possible."

Back to top

Featured case

Hodge Jones & Allen negotiated & secured exit package for client

Prior to returning from maternity, our client was informed she was at risk of redundancy. We challenged the redundancy, which we considered to be a sham and assisted her in raising a grievance, in which we set out her legal claims for discrimination. By protecting her position and clearly setting out her possible legal claims, we negotiated with her employer, and secured an exit package, which enabled our client to leave with a very favourable compensation package.

Contact our specialist team on
or request a call back.
Back to top

Frequently asked questions

How much maternity leave am I entitled to?

All full time employees are entitled to up to 12 months maternity leave (regardless of length of service). This is made up of 6 months of Ordinary Maternity Leave and 6 months Additional Maternity Leave.

You don’t need to take the full 12 months leave, however you should give at least 8 weeks’ notice of your intention to return.

Will I be paid during maternity leave?

Entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is dependent on your length of service and earning at least the lower earnings limit for National Insurance. You may be able to get Maternity Allowance if you don’t qualify for SMP. Your contract may also provide for enhanced maternity pay, meaning you could be entitled to more than SMP.

Can I be made redundant whilst on maternity leave?

Yes. Whilst you can’t be made redundant because you are pregnant or because of maternity leave, you can still be made redundant if there is a genuine redundancy situation.

There are special protections in place in order to protect women on maternity leave, because if you are about to or have recently had a baby this will generally impede your ability to search for new employment. Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 provides that if you are facing redundancy during your maternity leave, if there is a suitable alternative job you should be offered it, you essentially get a right of first refusal.

If you think that you are being made redundant because you are pregnant or because of maternity leave then you may have a claim for discrimination, unfair dismissal and/or automatic unfair dismissal and you should seek advice without delay.

Further Reading
View all

"They provided me with advice and kept me informed of any changes. I liked how quick and clear the communication between me and my solicitor was. I’m happy with the end results and I would definitely recommend them!"