If you’re expecting a baby, we’ll help ensure your employer respects your legal rights

  • If you are working and expecting a baby, your employer has to satisfy your legal rights, including your right to maternity leave and in most cases, to statutory maternity pay.
  • Most employers honour these rights, but you may be facing discrimination from an employer who is failing to meet their obligations or even tries to dismiss you.
  • If you think you are facing discrimination because you are pregnant, talk to us; we will work hard to take away the worry and protect your rights.

What is maternity leave?

Maternity leave is the period of time during which a woman takes time off work due to pregnancy and childbirth. This is usually a period of several months, and during this time, the employee is entitled to receive statutory maternity pay.

What are your legal rights when taking maternity leave?

When you are working and expecting a baby, you have a number of legal rights that your employer should honour:

  • the right to take time off work for ante-natal care;
  • the right to work in a safe environment;
  • the right to claim discrimination and unfair dismissal if dismissed because of pregnancy or maternity leave;
  • the right to take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave;
  • the right to return to work after you have had the baby; and
  • the right, in some cases, to statutory maternity pay (SMP).

Most employers will honour these rights. However, sometimes an employer may try avoiding their obligations for your paid leave, may try to change your contract terms because you are pregnant or may even dismiss you because you are pregnant or have asked to take maternity leave.

You should also be allowed to choose when you take maternity leave; it can be up to 11 weeks before you’re due to give birth. If you’ve just given birth, you must take at least two weeks leave before going back to work or four weeks if your job is physically demanding.

You should also receive statutory maternity pay (SMP) while you take maternity leave, providing you qualify. We can tell you if you qualify for SMP and what the minimum payments should be.

How Moore Barlow can help

If you believe your employer is in breach of any of these statutory rights, please contact us. We will assess your position and talk you through all your options. You should be able to enjoy the arrival of your new baby, without the worry of difficulties with your employer. We will do everything possible to take the pressure off you, so you can look forward and relax.

We have offices in Southampton, Richmond, London, Lymington, Woking and Guildford and we provide specialist legal advice and support to clients nationwide. Get in touch for more information on how we can help.