Deciding to have a baby is an exciting business for most families, but however much you’re looking forward to being a parent, there’s just so much to think about ― and we don’t just mean the sleepless nights. Preparing for maternity leave can feel a little daunting if it’s your first time, but we’ve helped hundreds of candidates through it, and we’re here to help you too.
It’s important to start planning as early as possible. You can start your maternity leave during or after the 11th week before your baby is due, but you need to agree the date with your HR department. This allows your employer to prepare maternity cover, and gives you a date to get all excited over.
Your employer’s response
Once you’ve decided when you want to finish, your employer will receive a statutory notice informing them that you want to take maternity leave. After this, they have 28 days to write to you with the date that you’re expected to return to work.
How long you can take
No matter how long you’ve been with your current employer, you’re entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave. You can however choose to return as soon as two weeks after the baby is born.
Keeping in touch
When you’re on maternity leave, your employer should keep you informed of relevant promotion opportunities or job vacancies, along with any other issues or developments that may affect your job. And the good news is, you’re allowed to work for up to ten days during your maternity leave without it affecting your maternity pay. These are known as 'keeping in touch days' and can be great for staying up-to-date.
To read about the recent changes to maternity and paternity laws, visit the employment law section of our site.