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Every employee who is pregnant is entitled to take maternity leave.
There is no need to have worked for your employer for any particular period of time, and it doesn't matter how big or small the company is, nor whether your employment is temporary or permanent.
How long do you get?
52 weeks leave which is divided into:
Ordinary Maternity Leave - the first 26 weeks
Additional Maternity Leave - the next 26 weeks
What do you have to do?
You need to inform your employer:
that you are pregnant
the week that you expect your baby to be born
the date on which you intend to start maternity leave.
This doesn't have to be in writing (although that is a good idea), but if your employer asks you for proof that you are pregnant then you have to provide it.
The notice has to be given at least 15 weeks before your baby is due, unless there is a very good reason why you are not able to. A very good reason would be something like not having known that you were pregnant, or having been seriously ill.
When can you start your leave?
Any time from 11 weeks before the week that your baby is due. If you've told your boss that you want to begin your maternity leave on a particular date, you can change your mind, but you have to give at least 28 days notice of the change.
If your baby is born early then your ordinary maternity leave starts automatically on the day after the birth. You should inform your employer as soon as possible after the birth.
If you are off sick in the last four weeks before your baby is due for a reason relating to pregnancy then you have to tell your employer that your absence is pregnancy-related. If this happens then your maternity leave starts immediately from the date of your absence, whether you want it to or not.
You're obliged to take two weeks' compulsory maternity leave after the birth of your baby. This will count as part of your ordinary maternity leave if you choose to take more than two weeks.
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Pregnancy loss and stillbirth
If you suffer the loss of your baby when you have been pregnant for 24 weeks or more, or if your baby is stillborn, then you are still entitled to maternity leave. Your leave starts immediately and you should tell your employer as soon as possible.
Sadly, no matter how many babies you are coping with, the period of leave remains the same.
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Discuss your plans for maternity leave
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