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Is my holiday allowance affected when I go on maternity leave?

Find out what happens to your annual holiday allowance when you go on maternity leave.
Since 2008 all pregnant and employed women have been entitled to take up to a year's break from work on maternity leave. This is made up of 26 weeks' Ordinary Maternity Leave (6 months) and 26 weeks' Additional Maternity Leave (an additional 6 months).

Regardless of how long you have been with your current employer, how many hours you work, or how much you are paid, you are entitled to take both Ordinary and Additional Maternity Leave - as long as you give the correct notice to your employer.

But what happens to your accrued holiday while you are on maternity leave?

You will be glad to know that women whose due date is on or after 5 October 2008 will continue to accrue annual leave as usual, throughout both their Ordinary and Additional Maternity Leave.

All of your contractual rights (apart from pay) will remain the same throughout the duration of your maternity leave. That means your annual accruement of holiday will be the same as if you were still working.

This means that if you wish, you may take some of your annual leave at the end of your maternity leave if you are not quite ready to return to work.

Likewise, you may want to go on maternity leave earlier than the required 11 weeks before you're due, and can do so by tacking some annual leave onto the beginning of your maternity leave. This could be a good option if you are finding being pregnant at work too much of a strain.

Remember that you can't take annual leave during your maternity leave, and you may not be able to carry it over from one leave year to another.

It's a good idea to check the individual terms set by your employer regarding your holiday entitlement before you go on maternity leave, to make sure you are both under the same understanding.

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