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Can You Work When on Maternity Leave?

Can You Work When on Maternity Leave?

As a qualifying employee you have a statutory right to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. This is divided into ordinary maternity leave, covering the first 26 weeks and additional maternity leave for the last 26 weeks. An employee does not have to take the full 52 weeks but you must take 2 weeks’ leave following the birth or a baby, if you work in a factory you are required to take 4 weeks off, to give the mother ample time to recover after childbirth and to bond with the baby.

In most instances, the earliest an employee is able to start their period of maternity leave is 11 weeks before the week that they are expected to go into labour. If the baby arrives early then the leave can start the day after the baby is born, or it can also be granted automatically if the employee is on sick leave for a pregnancy related illness in the four weeks before the baby is due.

It does not matter when your maternity leave begins, your employment rights are protected throughout your period of statutory leave. Your rights include the rights to pay rises and to any improvements in terms and conditions given during your leave, you will also still have the ability to accrue statutory holiday entitlement and to ensure that in the lead up to maternity leave, that you have taken all necessary holiday. If you take 26 weeks of maternity leave you still have the right to return to your job, and if an employee takes additional maternity leave, they will still have the right to do their job or a similar job if it is no longer possible for them to do their old job.

Doing Work When On Maternity Leave

If you wish to work whilst on maternity leave, you are able to work a maximum of 10 paid days without it impacting your statutory maternity leave. The term for these days are ‘keeping in touch days’ and are designed to ensure that you can keep up to date with what is going on or any changes that might impact you on your return. You are also able to undertake any necessary training courses or attend meetings. These 10 keeping in touch days cannot be within the first 2 weeks of giving birth, or 4 weeks if working in a factory, or it will then begin to impact your entitlement for statutory maternity leave.

If you work the full 10 days, then you will start to lose a whole week of your statutory maternity pay for any week in which you work an extra keep in touch day.

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