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

Common
questions
What time off work am I entitled to in relation to maternity?
All pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable paid time off for antenatal care. Employees (but not agency workers) also qualify for 52 weeks' maternity leave.
I am expecting a child. What are my employment rights?
Your rights include paid time off for antenatal care, a risk assessment of any risks to you or your baby, a health and safety maternity suspension if your employer identifies an unavoidable risk to you or to your baby and 52 weeks' maternity leave...
Am I entitled to statutory maternity pay?
If you've worked for your employer for 26 weeks, are still in your job and have earned Lower Earning Limit on average in the previous eight weeks/two months.
How much can I expect in statutory maternity pay?
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid at 90% of your earnings for the first six weeks. For the remainder, you are paid either a flat rate of £140.98 a week (from 5 April 2017) or 90% of your weekly earnings, whichever is less.
I’m not entitled to statutory maternity pay. Are they any other benefits I’m entitled to instead?
You may be entitled to Maternity Allowance...