Ok, so you are pregnant, you have your due date and you have a job.  When can you /should you finish work and how long are you allowed to take off?  You’ll need to find out about Maternity Leave and what you’re entitled to….

Maternity Leave

This is the time you take off of work just before and after the birth of your baby.  Whilst all women MUST take two weeks’ leave (four if you work in a factory), you are actually entitled to a total of 52 weeks (this won’t necessarily be paid time – see Statutory Maternity Pay for more information).

Maternity leave is made up of the first 26 weeks (Ordinary Maternity Leave), followed by the last 26 weeks (Additional Maternity Leave).

Irrespective of how long you’ve had your job, how many hours you work or how much you get paid if you’re an employee and give the correct amount of notice (28 days), you’re entitled to Statutory Maternity Leave.

How early can my leave start?

Of course if your baby makes a surprise early appearance, this is one you won’t have to worry about, as your Maternity Leave will begin the day after the birth.  Usually the earliest your leave can start is 11 weeks before the expected date of delivery.

What arrangements do I need to make?

You’ll need to give your employer written notice, at least 15 weeks before your due date, providing your due date and when you’d like your leave to start.  Your employer must then write to you within 28 days to confirm these dates.

The www.gov.uk site has a maternity planner to work out the earliest date your maternity leave can start, when you need to claim your maternity leave and the dates for Ordinary and Additional Leave.