Information on the Rights that Women Have to Maternity Leave - Prolegal

Information on the Rights that Women Have to Maternity Leave

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All women have the same rights to maternity leave, irrespective of length of service. There are 3 types of maternity leave

a)    Compulsory Maternity Leave of 2 weeks following the birth

b)    Ordinary Maternity Leave of 26 weeks (6 months)

c)    Additional Maternity Leave of a further 26 weeks

Maternity leave can be taken any time from 11 weeks before the expected due date. A pregnant woman should tell her employer when she intends to start her leave 15 weeks before her due date. She can change her mind provided she gives 28 days notice.

Maternity leave starts automatically in cases of premature birth or when the woman is absent through sickness within 4 weeks of the due date.

All terms of the contract of employment continues during the maternity leave except for that concerning pay. All other benefits including holiday, insurances, company car, health club membership etc. must continue. Employers pension contributions must continue to be paid in full. Any contributions from the employee will reduce pro rata.

Statutory maternity pay is available to mothers who have at least 26 weeks’ service with the employer when they are 15 weeks from their due date, provided that they earn enough to pay NI contributions. SMP is 90% of average earnings for the first 6 weeks followed by 33 weeks at a statutory rate. You can check your eligibility for Statutory Maternity Pay here.

A woman has the right to return to the same or similar job at the end of maternity leave.

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