Responding to notice of maternity leave

Once a pregnant employee has told you when she wishes to commence her maternity leave, within 28 days you’re obliged to notify her of the end date.

Under regulation 4 Maternity and Parental Leave ect Regulation 1999 (MPLR) the employee must no later than the end of the 15th week before her expected week of childbirth (EWC) or, if that’s not reasonably practicable, as soon as it reasonably practicable, notify you of:

- her pregnancy and her EWC

- the date on which she intends her ordinary maternity leave (OML) to start – but this cant be a date earlier than the beginning of the eleventh week before the EWC. OML is a period of 26 weeks leave available to all employees who give birth and comply with the notification conditions. You can ask the employee for written notice of the date on which she intends to start her OML.

Once you have received notification of the date the employee has chosen to start her OML, under regulations 7(6) and (7) MPLR you have 28 days to notify her of the date on which her additional maternity leave (AML) will end. AML follows immediately at the end of OML and lasts for a further 26 weeks, giving a total entitlement of 52 weeks maternity leave, and is available to all employees. If the employee changes the date of the OML to start, you must notify her of the new AML end date within 28 days of the start of her leave.

If you fail to notify the employee of the AML end date within the 28 days timescale, under regulation 11(5) MPLR she is not then obliged to give you the normal eight weeks advance notice if she wishes to return to work earlier than the end of her AML.

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Authors: Roxanne Bradley

Published: 10 Jan 2019

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