Maternity and paternity

You’re over the moon that an employee’s having a baby, of course you are. But with pregnancy and parental rights comes ever-changing legislation to get your head around, and that’s not what you went into business for, is it?

From maternity and paternity leave and pay, shared parental leave and adoptive parent entitlements, to antenatal care, flexible working requests and notification periods, there’s a lot to keep up with and, more importantly, get right.

We’ll take care of it

We’ve been helping businesses manage new arrivals for more than 20 years. We’ll help you calculate the right amount of leave and pay. We’ll help you work out holiday entitlements and benefits. We’ll help you recruit maternity or paternity cover. And if times are tough and you need to make redundancies, we’ll support you through that too.

If you need a hand with your maternity and paternity obligations, simply pop a few details into the form below and we’ll show you just how much we can start supporting your business.


Get in touch to organise a free audit of your business.

Maternity and paternity leave

When it comes to maternity and paternity leave, there are different entitlements for each. Below is a brief overview of what each type entails.

Maternity leaveThere are two parts to maternity leave: ordinary maternity leave and additional maternity leave, and the former always comes first. Both last for 26 weeks (52 weeks in total) and employees qualify regardless of how long they’ve been with you for.
Paternity leaveAll qualifying employees are entitled to either one or two consecutive weeks (it cannot be two separate weeks) of ordinary paternity leave, and the leave cannot start until the child has been born.


Employees’ paternity leave normally ends either within 56 days of the child being born, or within 56 days of the first day of the expected week of childbirth (EWC); whichever is later.


For more information on what constitutes paternity leave qualification, check out our free guide on it here, or get in touch with our experts on 0345 844 1111 or

Maternity and paternity pay

Maternity pay

Statutory Maternity Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks and should be processed the same way you’d normally pay the employee. To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, employees must meet the following criteria:

  • They must have been employed by the same employer for at least 26 weeks up to and including the 15th week before their EWC – this is known as the qualifying week.
  • Their average weekly earnings in the weeks running up to and including the qualifying week must be equal to the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions.

Paternity pay

Employees are entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay if:

  • They qualify for ordinary paternity leave, and
  • Their average earnings were at least equal to the National Insurance lower earnings limit in the eight weeks running up to and including the 15th week before the EWC.

If an employee’s entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay they should be paid it for the entirety of their ordinary paternity leave period.

How much are employees entitled to?

Employees who qualify for statutory maternity or paternity pay are entitled to either the statutory weekly rate of £145.18 (as of April 2018) or 90% of their weekly earnings – whichever is lower, and this should be paid in the same way as their normal wage.

Maternity pay calculator

To help you keep on top of all the important dates you need to calculate maternity leave and pay, we’ve built our very own maternity calculator.

All you need is the employee’s due date and we’ll do the rest for you! We’ll tell you:

  • The latest date that the employee could have started working for you, for them to qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay.
  • The deadline for the employee to tell you that they’re pregnant and wanting to take maternity leave.
  • The earliest date the employee can start their maternity leave – ordinarily, this can’t be before the eleventh week before the expected week of childbirth.
  • The date in which maternity leave will automatically commence if the employee’s off work for a pregnancy-related illness.

Fancy trying it out? You can find our maternity calculator here.

Maternity and paternity rights

When an employee’s on maternity or paternity leave, excluding pay, they’re legally entitled to all of the same employment rights that they were whilst working . This includes things like pay rises, holiday accrual and benefits – like use of a company car, for example.

Maternity and paternity rights extend to pension payments too, so you must continue your contributions based on the employee’s normal pay throughout their leave period.

We’re not going anywhere

Whether it’s help getting your head around leave dates, calculating pay or recruiting for cover – and everything else in between, we’ve got your back – always.

With our 24/7 advice line, you’ll have access to our HR & Employment Law experts every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, so that you can get on with running your business with complete peace of mind.

To find out more about our industry-leading HR & Employment Law service, get in touch with the team on 0345 844 1111 or

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