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How to give maternity notice

Advice on when to tell your employer you are pregnant and how to give notice for maternity leave and pay.
It is essential that you give sufficient notice of your pregnancy to your employer.

When do I tell my employer I am pregnant?

The latest time you can tell your employer that you are pregnant is the 15th week before your baby is due. You do not have to tell your employer any earlier, although it may be to your advantage, for example, special health and safety rights during pregnancy and the right to paid time off for antenatal care apply when your employer knows you are pregnant. The law protects you from being dismissed or discriminated against on the grounds of pregnancy once your employer knows you are pregnant.

How do I give notice for maternity leave and pay?

To get maternity leave you must give your employer the following information in or before the 15th week before your baby is due (if your employer asks you to you must put it in writing):
  • 1. that you are pregnant
  • 2. the expected week of childbirth
  • 3. the date on which you intend to start your ordinary maternity leave.
If you want to change the date you start your maternity leave, you must give your employer notice of the new date at least 28 days before the new date or the old date, whichever is earliest. If there is a good reason why that it not possible, tell your employer as soon as you reasonably can.

To get Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you must give your employer 28 days notice of the date you want to start your pay and then you cannot change your mind. SMP usually starts on the Sunday after the start of maternity leave.

To claim SMP you must give your employer a copy of your maternity certificate (form MAT Bl) stating your expected week of childbirth which your midwife or GP will give you when you are about 20 weeks pregnant. You can give notice for leave and pay together in the 15th week before your baby is due but if you do that you cannot change your mind about pay later.

Once you have given notice, your employer must write to you within 28 days and state the date you are expected to return from maternity leave. If you are only entitled to OML this will be 26 weeks after the start of maternity leave. If you are also entitled to AML your return date will be 52 weeks after the start of your leave.

If you cannot give notice by the 15th week before you are due (for example because you have to go into hospital unexpectedly), you must give notice as soon as you reasonably can.

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I have just accepted a new job, due to start on 6th Jan, and I have just found out I'm pregnant! What do I need to do to protect my rights? Anyone with any advice please can you pm me?
by LCW22 22nd Dec 2010, 9:29am
i have informed my employer of my pregnancy today , i have been working there for 5 yr 2 month but these new employers took over 7 wk ago , they seem to think they do not have to pay me maternity , is this right ?
by lyndsm 11th Aug 2010, 5:36pm
OML = Ordinary maternity Leave
AML = Additional Maternity Leave
SMP = Statutory Maternity Pay
MA = Maternity Allowance

This is my first pregnancy too so I may be wrong!!
by AmyAndMark 27th Mar 2009, 9:15am
hi i started at a new company and founded out a month later im expecting im now going for 13 weeks must i tell my bos now or wait until im permanent
by jacques 8th Jan 2009, 5:41pm
This is my first pregnancy, I'm so confused what all the abreviations mean, could someone tell me what OML, AML, SMP and MA stand for?
by lucy1andstella1 6th Nov 2008, 8:55am
I'm just after some advice, i've just found out i'm pregnant probably about 6 weeks, but i've just started a new job 2 weeks ago, i don't think i'll be entitled to SMP am I entitled to anything else?
by littlelisa 28th Apr 2008, 8:39am
I have been in the same job just over 12 months and my baby is due jan 2008 if I leave now will I still get SMP from them or do I have to claim MA and can everyone get MA.
by lmb 28th Jul 2007, 1:04pm