Checklist for managing pregnant women and new mothers

New law in force

The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 10. Some of the information on this page may be out of date.

This checklist is a brief list of rights and actions for pregnant women and new mothers and their employers. 

All pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave. Eligible employees are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay which is 90% of average pay for the first six weeks and a fixed amount for the remaining 33 weeks. This is reimbursed by HM Revenue and Customs. 

Contents

Pregnant employees

  1. The employee is entitled to time off for antenatal care.
  2. You should record sick leave for pregnancy-related sick leave separately to other types of sick leave.
  3. The employee should notify you of the pregnancy, the expected week of childbirth (EWC), and the date she plans to start her maternity leave. She must do this by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC).
  4. You should complete a health and safety risk assessment for this employee, and review as necessary.
  5. You should confirm the expected date of return from maternity leave within 28 days of receiving the employee’s notification. This must be in writing. 
  6. If the employee is claiming Statutory Maternity Pay.  she needs to provide a copy of her MAT B1 certificate and notify her employer of when she would like her Statutory Maternity Pay to start. This can be done at the same time as she notifies you of the pregnancy. She is to do this at least 28 days before she would like the Statutory Maternity Pay to start.
  7. It is a good idea for the employer and employee to discuss when the employee will take her annual leave entitlement.
  8. It is a good idea for the employer and employee to discuss the possibility of a request for flexible working before the pregnant woman goes on leave.
  9. It is a good idea for the employer and employee to discuss what sort of contact the woman would like to have with her employer while she is on maternity leave.
  10. If the employee is absent for a pregnancy-related reason at any time during the four weeks before the expected week of childbirth (EWC), her maternity leave may start automatically. There are exceptions to this.

See: Time off for antenatal care | Sickness before, during and after the birth | Maternity leave and pay | Health and safety during pregnancy and after the birth | Good communication during pregnancy and maternity leave | Requests for flexible working

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Employees on maternity leave

  1. All employees who have given birth are entitled to Ordinary Maternity Leave and Additional Maternity Leave.
  2. All employees are entitled to their contractual terms and conditions during Ordinary and Additional Maternity Leave, apart from remuneration.
  3. An employee may work for up to 10 days during her maternity leave, by agreement with her employer.
  4. The employee doesn’t need to give notice if she is returning to work on the expected date of return. This is the date which the employer confirmed to her in writing. See Maternity leave and pay. 
  5. The employee is to give at least 8 weeks’ notice if she intends to return to work any earlier than the expected date of return. See Maternity leave and pay.
  6. If the employee intends to request flexible working, it is a good idea to submit this request at least two months before she intends to return. She may not be able to do this if her circumstances are not settled.
  7. You can recover either 92% or 104.5% of the Statutory Maternity Pay you have paid to employees from HM Revenue and Customs. Advance payment may also be available. See Maternity leave and pay.

See: Martenity leave and pay | Requests for flexible working 

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Returning from maternity leave

  1. An employee returning from Ordinary Maternity Leave is entitled to return to the same job in which she was employed before her absence.
  2. An employee returning from Additional Maternity Leave is entitled to return to the same job in which she was employed before her absence, however there are some circumstances in which she may be offered suitable alternative work. 
  3. You must complete a health and safety risk assessment for the employee if she has given birth in the last six months or is breastfeeding.
  4. An employee is entitled to request flexible working.
  5. An employee is entitled to take Time Off for Dependants.
  6. An employee may be entitled to Parental Leave.
  7. It is a good idea to hold a “mini-induction” on the employee’s first day back to update her on changes which have occurred while she was away.

See: Managing the return from maternity leave | Health and safety during pregnancy and after the birth | Breastfeeding | Requests for flexible working | Parental Leave and Time Off For Dependents

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