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Manchester & London Solicitors


Employment Law

Maternity and Family Rights

Maternity and Family Rights Solicitors in Manchester and London

When a woman is pregnant, they are entitled to rights at work, regardless of the profession or your position in the company. These rights are provided by statute; however, some companies offer additional maternity packages. You will need to look at your employment contract or contact your employer to understand your additional rights in detail. If you believe you are not being given rights you should our maternity and family rights solicitors can help and assist you.

These are the rights parents have to help them transition into parenthood. Under these rights you have the right to request:

  • Maternity leave and pay
  • Paternity leave and pay
  • Flexible working
  • Time off for dependents

Maternity Leave

An employee is entitled to a total of 52 weeks maternity leave. This leave can be taken no earlier than 11 weeks before the baby’s due date. An employee should inform their employer 15 weeks before the baby’s due date that they are pregnant. Once you have informed your employer you become entitled to maternity leave, along with additional time off for prenatal care. Fathers-to-be are entitled to unpaid leave for up to two antenatal appointments with a cap of up to six and a half hours for each appointment.

After childbirth an employee is prohibited from returning to work until 2 weeks after giving birth. This is an absolute prohibition and cannot be waived by the employer or the employee. After these two weeks you are able to return to work at any time before the end of your maternity leave.

Maternity Pay

Under statute you are entitled to 39 weeks statutory maternity pay and the remaining 13 weeks of maternity leave is unpaid.

To qualify for statutory maternity pay you must have been working for your employer when you became pregnant, and you must receive at least £113 per week in pay up to 15 weeks before the baby is due.

As of April 2020, statutory maternity pay is expected to rise. In the first 6 weeks you will receive 90% of your salary. In the next 33 weeks you will receive £151.20 or 90% of your current salary if this is less than the statutory amount. For the final 13 weeks of your maternity leave you will not receive any payment.

What Happens When I Want To Return To Work?

You can return to work any time after the compulsory 2-week period post birth. You are protected against dismissal and you are guaranteed to take up your employment again on the same terms as when you left.

Maternity and pregnancy is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, therefore your employer cannot discriminate against you for pregnancy either before or after your maternity leave. 

Maternity or Paternity Discrimination

You have the right to make a discrimination claim against your employer if you believe you have been treated unfairly due to your maternity or paternity rights.

Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay

If you adopt a child or have a child through a surrogacy arrangement, then you may be entitled to statutory adoption leave and adoption pay.

Whilst you are on statutory adoption leave, you will still maintain your employment rights to any pay rises, any holidays being accrued and the right to return to work.

Statutory adoption leave is 52 weeks which consists of 26 weeks of ordinary adoption leave and 26 weeks of additional adoption leave. However, only one person in a couple is entitled to statutory adoption leave, but the other partner may be entitled to paternity leave.

Adoption leave varies depending on the type of adoption:

  • If the child is in the UK, adoption leave can start up to 14 days before the adopted child lives with you
  • If it is an overseas adoption, the adoption leave can start when either the child arrives in the UK or within 28 days of this date
  • If you have a surrogate child, your adoption leave can start either on the day the child is born or the day after
To be eligible for adoption leave you must:
  • Be an employee
  • Provide the correct notice
  • Provide proof of the adoption or surrogacy
If the date of adoption changes or the date of arrival into the UK for overseas adoption changes then you must notify your employer within 28 days.
If you wish to change your return to work date then you must give your employer at least 8 weeks’ notice.

When you start your adoption leave, your statutory adoption pay will automatically start. You will receive statutory adoption pay for up to 39 weeks with you receiving 90% of your average weekly salary for the first 6 weeks and from then onwards you should receive £151.20 or 90% of your weekly average salary, whichever is lower, for the next 33 weeks. You may be able to agree with your employer to extend your maternity leave, but your employer has no obligation to do so and you will not receive any pay for the duration of your extended leave. Any adoption pay you receive will still be subject to any tax or national insurance deductions. 

To be eligible for statutory adoption pay you must:

  • Have been continuously employed by your employer for at least 26 weeks
  • Have earned an average of at least £120 a week before tax
  • Give the correct notice
  • Give proof of the adoption or surrogacy
You employer may decide to pay you more than the statutory adoption pay if they for instance have a company adoption pay scheme.
On top of the adoption leave, you can also claim for any pay where you need to have time off to attend any adoption appointments, up to a maximum of 5 appointments, after you have been matched with a child.
As well as statutory adoption leave and pay, you may also be entitled to Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay. This allows a couple to share between themselves 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay.
How Can Monarch Solicitors Maternity and Family Rights Solicitors help?

At Monarch Solicitors, we can help fight your corner throughout each stage of your employment law dispute to protect your maternity and family rights and to ensure your rights are being protected.

Our specialist employment solicitors have decades of experience dealing with maternity and family rights issues. They are well equipped to deal with a whole manner of different cases no matter how big or small. 

Our team have had great success negotiating settlement offers, taking claims to the Employment Tribunal, and many more. Every person we represent receives the same high quality of treatment and personal service.

Legal Costs & Service Transparency

If you are considering taking Court action due to a breach of employment law the legal costs should be weighed against the amount likely to be received in damages.

We know it’s important to your business that the legal costs of the dispute are kept under control so as to not affect your cash flow.

We’ll not only ensure that you’re aware of costs implications from the outset, we’ll provide you with step-by-step cost estimates or fixed fees for each stage of the work. We’ll also consider funding options to suit your business needs so you can be sure that our legal services are cost effective.

For more information regarding legal funding options, please click here for more information.

About our Employment Team

At Monarch Solicitors, our employment lawyers have vast experience, expertise, and knowledge in resolving all kinds of domestic and international employment disputes, whether it be complex or technical or simply a disagreement over pay and working conditions.

We have particular expertise in relation to the following areas:

Contact our Maternity and Family Rights Solicitors

Our expert employment lawyers are available to discuss your maternity and family right claims.

Please contact our employment advisors for immediate assistance by sending an email to us at [email protected] and one of our employment solicitors shall call you back. 

Alternatively, please call our employment solicitors in Manchester on 0330 127 8888 for a no obligation discussion.

Monarch Solicitors are a leading UK law firm and our award-winning Manchester solicitors, London solicitors and Birmingham solicitors offer their legal expertise nationally and internationally.

We are also able to leverage an international network spanning across Hong KongTurkey and Dubai to provide seamless assistance with cross-border matters relating to maternity and family rights.

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Most frequent questions and answers

Employees are entitled up to 52 weeks statutory maternity leave. You are entitled to maternity leave if you give the correct notice. You need to provide their employer notice at least 15 weeks before the due date and state when you would like to start maternity leave. Employers would then have 28 days to respond and confirm the maternity leave start and end dates. You are not allowed to work within two weeks of childbirth as this is compulsory maternity leave. 

You may also be entitled to maternity pay, paid leave for antenatal and hospital appointments, and the right to request flexible working hours upon return to work.

Not everyone is entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). To be eligible, you must have been employed by the employer for 26 weeks continuously, earn on average at least £120 a week, and provide notice to the employer at least 15 weeks before the due date.   

Employees are entitled to 39 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay. You would normally received Statutory Maternity Pay when you take maternity leave. 

For the first 6 weeks, you will get 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax). For the remaining 33 weeks, you will get £151.20 or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

A woman’s maternity leave can only be triggered by pregnancy related illness from the beginning of the 4th week before the expected week of childbirth.

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