Maternity and Paternity Leave

1 minute read | 9 May 2022

At Boardrm, we are you Career partner for life, therefore we are committed to support you through all stages of your career and your life. Navigating through Maternity and Paternity leave can be a very tricky process. Alongside the emotional journey this stage of life brings, the differences in the law and leave periods is still remarkable. 
 

Paternity Leave.

All employment rights are protected while on paternity leave. This includes your right to:

  • pay rises
  • build up (accrue) holiday
  • return to work


When you take time off because your partner’s having a baby, adopting a child or having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement you might be eligible for 1 or 2-weeks’ paid Paternity Leave and/or Paternity Pay.

As a father, you can only take either one or two consecutive weeks off work, known as Ordinary Paternity Leave, when your baby is born or when adopting a child. The start-date of leave must be either an agreed number of days following the baby arrive or the actual date of birth. Paternity leave must be taken within 56 days of birth.

The statutory weekly rate of paternity pay is currently £148.68 or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.
 

Maternity Leave.

Maternity leave mainly consists of two parts:

  • Ordinary Maternity Leave – this applies to the first 26 weeks of maternity leave. During this period, you will be able to build up holiday and receive pay increases as you would if you were at work, even though you won’t get your normal pay unless your contract states otherwise.
    • You start the leave as early as 11 weeks before the baby is due up to the day of birth.
  • Additional Maternity Leave – this applies to the next 26 weeks of maternity leave, which follows on directly from your Ordinary Maternity Leave.

You don’t have to take the total of 52 weeks, but it is mandatory to take 2 weeks leave after the baby is born. If you work in a factory this increased to a mandatory leave of 4 weeks.

You are eligible for SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) if:
  • if you’ve been with the same employer for at least 26 weeks up to the fifteenth week before the week you are due to give birth
  • have been earning on average at least £112 a week.

When on Maternity leave you have Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) which is paid for up to 39 weeks:
  • 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks
  • £156.66 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks


For both maternity and paternity leave, you might need to provide a medical certificate showing when your baby is due. This is called form MATB1, and you can get it from either your GP or midwife.
 

Paternal Leave.

Although less common, there is also another type of leave. Parental leave is unpaid and can be taken by both mothers and fathers for both biological or adoptive parents.

If a parent has worked for their employer for at least 12 months, they are entitled to take 18 weeks of parental leave for each child up to their 18th birthday, limited to four weeks per year for each child and taken in one-week blocks (unless the child is disabled). The entitlement is overall and does not restart with a new employer.
 

Conclusions.

All employment rights are protected while individuals are on leave regardless of if its paternity, maternity, or parental leave. Any unfavourable treatment of a woman or man because of her/his pregnancy, childbirth, maternity, or paternity is unlawful and is likely to constitute pregnancy and maternity/paternity-related discrimination and may also give rise to a constructive unfair dismissal claim.

It is no news that discrimination among pregnant women happens, but there have been cases where the differences in these entitlements have led male employees to claim sex discrimination.

The fact is that the different types of leave are provided for different purposes and, having different provision for a woman who has undergone the physical demands of giving birth is completely reasonable. But a partner who is not giving birth is also a parent figure therefore they should also be allow a longer paid leave to be able to not only help the mother but be there for the new-born child.

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