Maternity & Paternity Rights

Maternity rights solicitors

We are maternity pay/maternity rights solicitors call to speak with us to discuss your maternity issues. 

Statutory maternity pay

This is the standard maternity pay. It comes from your employer, and there are 3 steps to getting it: 

  • tell your employer you are pregnant 

  • confirm your pregnancy with a form or letter from your doctor or midwife - you'll need to do this at least 15 weeks before your due date 

  • give your employer at least 28 days’ notice of when you’d like your maternity pay to start 

You can do most of this at the same time you arrange your maternity leave. 

You will be paid by your employer in the same way you get your usual pay.  

After you tell your employer you are pregnant you will be entitled to rights whilst pregnant. These rights include protection from discrimination and paid time off for antenatal appointments. 

Maternity pay

To get your maternity pay, you need to give your employer proof that you are pregnant. Your proof should also show your due date. You should do this at least 15 weeks before your due date. You can show them either a maternity certificate (Form MATB1) that you’ll get from your midwife or doctor after your 20-week scan or a letter from your doctor or midwife 

Contractual maternity pay is an extra benefit some employers offer. It. Is paid in the same way as your normal pay. 

If you need help understanding your contractual maternity pay or have problems getting it from your employer call us. 

Maternity Allowance

You might be able to claim Maternity Allowance from the government if you can not get statutory or contractual maternity pay.  

If you are claiming Maternity Allowance because your employer has said they will not give you statutory maternity pay, your employer should have given you a form called ‘SMP1’, confirming they will not pay statutory maternity pay.  

Maternity leave

You have a right to take up to a year of maternity leave regardless of how long you worked for your employer, how much you’re paid or how many hours a week you work. Maternity leave is separate from maternity pay, which has different rules.  

You might also be able to share your leave with your partner 

You are entitled to maternity leave if you are an employee, but not a worker Finding out whether you are an employee can be difficult – get in touch and we can guide you. 

How to get your maternity leave

At least 15 weeks before the week when your baby is due, tell your employer: 

  • that you are pregnant 

  • when your baby is due 

  • that you want to take maternity leave 

  • when you want your maternity leave to start and end 


It is best to tell your employer in writing so you have a record. Your employer should confirm the end date of your maternity leave.  

Your employer can ask to see a medical certificate, such as your MATB1 form. You will get this at an antenatal appointment after your 20-week scan. 

As soon as you tell your employer you are pregnant, you are entitled to maternity rights at work. 

When can you start maternity leave

You can start your maternity leave any day from 11 weeks before your due date. Your maternity leave will start earlier than the date you pick if your baby comes early, or you are off work with an illness related to your pregnancy, and this happens in the 4 weeks before the week of your due date 

How long maternity lasts

Your maternity leave will last for a year unless you tell your employer you want to return earlier. The shortest maternity leave you can take is 2 weeks. This goes up to 4 weeks if you work in a factory. 

Adding holiday to your maternity leave

You can take holiday immediately before or after your maternity leave if you want to spend more time away from work. 

If your employer says you can not take maternity leave. Your employer should agree to your maternity leave if you have given them the right amount of notice. 

If your employer says you can’t take maternity leave, this is likely to be maternity discrimination, so contact us to discuss… 


Pregnancy and maternity discrimination

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination solicitors 

If someone at work treats you unfairly because you are pregnant, breastfeeding or because you have recently given birth, you may have been discriminated against and we may you may be able to do something about it. Call us to discuss 

When you have given birth or are breastfeeding, you are protected against discrimination for 26 weeks following the day you gave birth.  

Additional protection when you’re breastfeeding

If you’re being treated unfavourably because you’re breastfeeding your baby who’s over 26 weeks old, the Equality Act says it is direct sex discrimination. Unlike other direct sex discrimination cases, you don’t have to show that you were treated worse than someone of the opposite sex. All you need to show is that you were treated worse than if you hadn’t been breastfeeding. 

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work

It is unlawful to discriminate against you because: 

  • you are pregnant, or 

  • of a pregnancy-related illness 

The protection against discrimination lasts for a specific period which starts when you become pregnant. This is called the protected period. 

If you have the right to maternity leave, the protected period ends when your maternity leave ends or when you return to work, if this is earlier. All employees have the right to take maternity leave. 

If you don’t have the right to maternity leave the protected period ends two weeks after your child was born. If you are treated unfavourably after this, you could still be protected against discrimination because of your sex. 

Once you have given birth, it is also unlawful to discriminate against you for one of these reasons: 

  • you’re on maternity leave 

  • you have been on maternity leave 

  • you have tried to take maternity leave which you’re entitled to

Our expert employment solicitors are here to help resolve your issue as quickly as possible. 

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