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.