Maternity/Paternity and Family Friendly Working

Starting a family should be a happy and joyful time. At HJA we understand that family life is important but that this exciting time can be stressful if you employer is not supportive.
Parents and other individuals who are responsible for caring for dependants whilst working have specific legal protections.

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 are 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.

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.

Contact our solicitors on 0808 250 2129 or request a call back online.

How do I get legal assistance?

  • Speak to our team

If you are concerned about how your employer is treating you then we can 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, who will be able to consider your situation and advise you on how best to protect your positon and secure the outcome you want.

  • Funding options

We will also ensure that you are 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 that you remain in control of your costs at every stage.

What outcomes can I expect?

Unfortunately many women and men experience unfair treatment as a result of starting a family or due to their childcare commitments. If you have been discriminated against, we can assist you with your complaint against your employer or following their grievance procedure. Where appropriate, we can assist you with making a claim to the Employment Tribunal.

If the relationship with your employer has broken down we can assist you with negotiating an exit package so that you are able to move on and focus on your family and future career. Find out more

Why choose our lawyers?

  • Easily contactable

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

  • Compassionate

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 are discriminated against or victimised for exercising your rights, we will fight your corner.

  • Knowledgeable

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.

Download our Pregnancy And Maternity Leave Information Guide.

Case Study: Negotiated and secured exit package for client

Prior to returning from maternity, our clients was informed that 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 do not need to take the full 12 months leave however should give at least 8 weeks’ notice of your intention to return.

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 do not 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 is 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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    Our offices are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.

    Phone:0808 231 6369
    Fax:020 7388 2106
    Address:Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors
    180 North Gower Street
    NW1 2NB