Parental Leave: How does maternity leave and maternity pay work in the United Kingdom?

Article author
Mika Komatsuzaki
  • Updated

In this article, we will cover: 

How maternity leave works in the United Kingdom

  • Employees are entitled to 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave.
    • Ordinary maternity leave - first 26 weeks
    • Additional maternity leave - last 26 weeks
  • As an employee, you don't have to take all 52 weeks of leave, but must take 2 weeks of leave after the baby is born (or 4 weeks if you work in a factory).
  • Usually, maternity leave starts (at the earliest) from 11 weeks before the week of expected childbirth. Leave can also start:
    • The day after childbirth, if the baby comes early.
    • Automatically, if you’re off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week (Sunday to Saturday) that your baby is due.
  • Before going on maternity leave, you need to provide Remote and the Customer with the following (this can be done in writing):

    •  Your baby's due date
    • When you plan to start the maternity leave. This information needs to be communicated at least 15 weeks before your due date. 
  • We will write back within 28 days confirming the start and end dates of your maternity leave.

How maternity pay works in the United Kingdom

  • Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks. Employees get:
    • 90% of the average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks.
    • £156.66 or 90% of the average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.
  • SMP is paid in the same way as your salary (in this case, monthly). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted accordingly.
  • SMP usually starts when you take your maternity leave. It starts automatically if you're off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week (Sunday to Saturday) that the baby is due.

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