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Employment for Individuals

Maternity/Paternity & Family Friendly Working

Susie Al-Qassab
Susie Al‑Qassab
Homa Wilson
Homa Wilson
Neil Emery
Lauren Hannath
Lauren Hannath
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Natalie Wellock
Ayesha Khan
Ayesha Khan

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

Parents and other individuals who are responsible for caring for dependents whilst working have specific legal protections.

If you have caring responsibilities for children, relatives or dependants you also have the right to request flexible working, and are entitled to time off for dependants.

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
  • Claiming 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.


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.

"It was amazing. They gave me all the knowledge and cared about my best interest."

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.


This complex area of law has changed rapidly in recent years and continues to move with the times. Our solicitors have an in-depth understanding of the law and how it applies to your individual circumstances.


Contact our specialist team on
or request a call back.

Featured case

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors negotiated and 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.


Frequently asked questions

How much maternity leave am I entitled?

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.

How does paternity leave work and who's entitled?

In order to qualify for paternity leave an employee must satisfy the following:

  • They must be either the father, the husband or partner of the mother
  • They must be an employee with at least 26 weeks service by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due
  • They must give the correct notice

Employees who are eligible for paternity leave can take either one or two consecutive weeks leave at any time in the baby’s first 8 weeks.

During paternity leave, employees are entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) from their employer. The rate of SPP is the same as the standard rate of SMP.

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"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!"

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