What maternity leave am I entitled to?

Sharing is caring!

What maternity leave am I entitled to?

With so many new things to get your head around, it’s easy to get confused when you are trying to plan your maternity leave.

In this post let’s look at what your maternity leave entitlement is.

Let’s have a quick recap

What is maternity leave?

Maternity leave is the legally protected time that a woman is allowed away from work following the birth of her baby. Entitlement to maternity leave is from day one of being employed. There are no qualifying criteria, other than one day of employment.

Maternity leave is not the same as maternity pay. And just because you qualify for maternity leave, there is no automatic entitlement to maternity pay.

What maternity leave am I entitled to?

The maximum maternity leave that you are entitled to in the UK is 52 weeks. The minimum requirement is two weeks (or four if you work in a factory).

Maternity leave is broken into two during that time.

Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML), which is the first 26 weeks starting on the first day of your maternity leave. Followed by, Additional Maternity Leave (AML). This starts the day after OML finishes.

You don’t need to be confused by OML or AML. These are just time periods within your maternity leave.

Do I have to qualify?

Two very simple qualifying criteria exist for maternity leave. Firstly, it’s only relevant if you are employed. Self-employed and unemployed mums do not qualify for maternity leave. Secondly, you need to have been employed for one day.

Remember that maternity leave and maternity pay are not the same things. Just because you qualify for maternity leave, does not mean you qualify for maternity pay.

I thought there was long qualifying period?

As I said above, maternity leave and maternity pay are not the same things.

Unfortunately, maternity pay has a long qualifying period. If you are new to your job you might not qualify.

You need to be employed continuously for 26 weeks before the qualifying week of your pregnancy. The qualifying week is the 15th week before your due date. I know that sounds like a complex calculation – in summary, you need to have worked for the same employer for around 41 weeks to qualify.

If you have recently started a new job and you are pregnant, you might find that you don’t qualify for Maternity Pay. However, if this is the case you may qualify for Maternity Allowance. You can find out more information about Maternity Allowance on the HMRC website.

For example, if my due date was 9th August 2022 – I would need to have been continuously employed by my current employer since 6th November 2021.

How can I get a longer maternity leave?

For many, maternity leave won’t be long enough. For others, it will be too long. This is especially so once the financial implications are considered.

There are some ways to extend your maternity leave (and much of it is paid). Use annual leave before and after to increase the amount of time you can have off work.

You are also entitled to ask for Unpaid Parental Leave for up to four weeks once maternity leave is over.

At the end of maternity leave – use your missed holidays owed to delay your return to work (and get paid for them).

Get more maternity leave preparation tips with my FREE eBook – How to Save Money for Maternity Leave. https://themumsguidetomoney.com/savingsactionplan/

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: