Advice on your rights and entitlements as an employee whist on ordinary and additional maternity leave.
Entitlements during maternity leave
During the first 26 weeks of leave (your Ordinary Maternity Leave - OML) your contractual rights (i.e. your terms and conditions, such as a company car or paid holidays) continue as if you were still at work, apart from your normal pay.
During the rest of your time on leave (your Additional Maternity Leave - AML,) you will continue to be an employee, but the only contractual rights which will continue automatically will be:
- the notice period in your contract of employment will still apply (if either you or your employer wish to terminate your employment)
- you will be entitled to redundancy pay (after two years' service)
- disciplinary and grievance procedures will apply
- if your contract has a section which states that you must not work for any other company, this will still apply
It may be possible to negotiate with your employer for other contractual rights to continue.
During the first 39 weeks of your leave (26 weeks OML + 13 weeks AML) you will probably be entitled to SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) or MA (Maternity allowance). After that your leave will usually be unpaid. Some employers offer extra maternity pay so check your contract or ask your human resources department or your union representative.
You are still entitled to you all your statutory rights during the whole of your maternity leave (i.e. all rights that apply by law to all employees in this country). For example all employees have the right to 20 days paid annual leave whether they are on maternity leave or not. Your employer must not discriminate against you by failing to consider you for opportunities such as promotion.
If you are made redundant whilst on maternity leave, your employer must offer you first refusal of any suitable alternative work that is available. If there is none, they must pay you any notice and redundancy pay that you are entitled to.