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You can take up to 52 week's maternity leave.  You must take at least 2 weeks, or 4 weeks if you work in a factory, of compulsory maternity leave after the baby is born.  During your compulsory maternity leave, your employer should not ask you to come into work or to attend any disciplinary meetings.

On Maternity Leave:
  • you keep your normal employment rights and benefits (apart from salary) for your maternity leave;
  • you still accrue holiday entitlement as per your employment contract;
  • your employer is entitled to make reasonable contact with you;
  • you are not obliged to contact your employer if you do not wish to do so;
  • you are entitled to receive notification of promotion opportunities or redundancy situations that you would normally see at work;
  • you should be kept informed of all changes which are taking place in your absence;
  • you are entitled to Keeping in Touch days.

Keeping In Touch days

You can do up to 10 days' work without losing maternity pay or bringing maternity leave to an end.  Your employer should clarify whether you will just receive your statutory maternity pay or whether there will be any extra payment for working on a Keeping in Touch day.

Your employer is not obliged to offer Keeping in Touch days and cannot demand you go into work.  You need to agree any Keeping in Touch days with your employer and you don't have to do your usual job.  Keeping in Touch days can be used for meetings or training sessions.

Your employer cannot treat you unfairly because you requested to work Keeping in Touch days or because you chose not to work Keeping In Touch days.

Redundancy and Maternity Leave

You can be selected as a candidate for redundancy whilst on maternity leave, but the reason for your selection cannot be related to your maternity leave.  If redundancies are being made whilst you are on maternity leave, you have the right to be offered any suitable alternative position in preference to other employees who are also candidates for redundancy. 

Returning from Maternity Leave

You are entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions of employment whilst on ordinary maternity leave or a suitable role on similar terms and conditions at least as good as your job whilst on additional maternity leave if you cannot have your job back.

If you intend to breastfeed or express milk, your employer should provide facilities for you to rest and to safely store expressed milk.  Your employer should also carry out a risk assessment.

You do have the right to request flexible working. This could be a change to your working hours, a change to the time you work or to work from home.  Employers do not have to agree to your request for flexible working if there is a sound business reason for not doing so. However, on most occasions they should be able to grant your request provided that it is reasonable.

If you do encounter problems returning to work after maternity leave call Ashley Hunt, Vaishali Thakerar or Carrie-Ann Randall on 0116 212 1000 for a free initial consultation. We also run a number of free drop-in advice clinics at our offices in Leicester, Wigston & Market Harborough.

Lawson-West will make sure that your case is funded on the most appropriate basis and that will often be on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that Lawson-West have a vested interest in ensuring your employment claim is successful. 
Please also see our pages on Frequently Asked Questions on Maternity LeavePaternity Leave and Pregnancy at Work.  Lawson-West have also provided a Maternity and Pregnancy at Work Resources Page which includes relevant news articles.