If you’re a working mum-to-be, your employer must provide you with certain rights. All employees are entitled to a year of maternity leave, from day one of their employment.
But maternity leave is different from maternity pay. While it’s likely you’ll get some maternity pay if you’re an employee, the amount will vary depending on your employer, pay and length of service.
Unfortunately, agency workers are not entitled to maternity leave. But they may qualify for statutory maternity pay if they meet minimum requirements on pay and on the number of weeks they have spent working.
By law, women must take two weeks of maternity leave after their baby is born, or four weeks if they work in a factory.
After that, it’s up to you to decide how much maternity leave you take. You may also have the option of sharing the rest of your leave with your partner.
Remember that it’s against the law for an employer to discriminate against you because you’re pregnant, may get pregnant, or have had a baby.
Maternity rights are complicated and everyone’s situation is different, so you should consider getting personal advice. You can approach your union rep for support, or contact one of the organisations listed here.
Are you a rep? You can find more practical advice on a range of workplace issues in our support for reps section