Pregnant women are protected from harm in the workplace and have the right not to be dismissed or unfavourably treated because of their pregnancy. Most employed mothers are entitled to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and 39 weeks’ Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance. Mothers with children born on or after 5 April 2015 may also be able to convert some of their maternity leave and pay into Shared Parental Leave and Pay which they or their partner can take on a more flexible basis in the first year of their child’s life.
This booklet describes how these rights work. It also provides information on the right to unpaid parental leave, the right to request flexible working and the right to emergency time off for dependants, which may help mothers balance paid work with bringing up their children.
If you are adopting a child or having a child through surrogacy arrangements you may wish to refer to separate Know Your Rights booklets that cover these situations