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Maternity leave

Updating author: Jo Broadbent, Hogan Lovells

Brightmine editor: Laura Merrylees


  • Regardless of their length of service, every pregnant employee has the right to take 26 weeks' ordinary maternity leave, followed immediately by 26 weeks' additional maternity leave. (See Entitlement to ordinary and additional maternity leave)
  • During maternity leave, all terms and conditions of employment apply, except for terms and conditions regarding remuneration. (See Application of terms and conditions during maternity leave)
  • Where agreed between the employer and employee, an employee can carry out up to 10 days' work for their employer during their statutory maternity leave period without bringing their maternity leave to an end. (See Work and contact during the maternity leave period)
  • An employee returning to work after maternity leave has the right to return to the same job or, in prescribed circumstances, to a suitable alternative job. (See Right to return to work after maternity leave)
  • A pregnant employee has the right to paid time off work to attend antenatal appointments if their attendance has been recommended by a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse. (See Other statutory rights)
  • Fathers and partners have the right to unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman to up to two antenatal appointments. (See Other statutory rights)
  • An employee who is dismissed, for whatever reason, during their pregnancy or while absent on maternity leave must be supplied with a written statement explaining the reasons for their dismissal. (See Written statement of reasons for dismissal)