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Maternity, family and work

Are you pregnant and working and need help understanding your rights? Are you on maternity leave with questions about returning to work? Maybe you need time off work because of family circumstances. If so, our advice can help. 

Maternity pay and leave entitlements

All pregnant women are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, regardless of length of service.  

Read our maternity leave and pay advice for information about starting your maternity leave, and your entitlement to NHS maternity pay, SMP or MA. 

We have two timelines you can refer to during your pregnancy and leave. See the weeks during your pregnancy that are used to calculate your pay, plus the dates your maternity leave could begin. See also the weeks in which your maternity pay starts, then reduces as you move through your maternity leave. 

Maternity and paternity glossary

Unsure of the difference between SMP and MA? Never heard of a KIT day? Our glossary can help. 

When you need time off work

If you're an employee you have the right to take time off to deal with any unexpected or sudden problem involving a dependant.  You are entitled to as much time off as you need, provided it is a real emergency. Find out more about taking time off work for emergencies.

Parental leave allows you to take time off work to care for your child, or to spend more time with them. There are certain criteria you need to meet to qualify for parental leave. If eligible, you would be entitled to take a specified amount of time as unpaid leave. Read more about parental leave

Problems at work

You shouldn't be treated unfairly because you are pregnant or a new mother. 

Being treated unfairly could mean being selected for redundancy or dismissal, changes to your pay or hours, pressure to resign, failure to carry out a risk assessment, or anything where you are treated unfavourably because of your pregnancy or because you are a new mother.  

If you believe you are being treated unfairly it's really important that you take action right away.  Read our advice on discrimination which explains what action you can take. Act promptly. If the matter is not resolved by your employer, RCN members should contact us without delay.


Advice and support for those experiencing circumstances that impact on their finances.

Planning for your future

Do you need help and advice with Will writing, Probate, Trusts  or Lasting Power of Attorney?

Find out more about how RCN Law can help you. 

Get help

As an RCN member, you can find answers to your questions about work - and more - in our comprehensive advice. You can also find out how to contact the advice team. 

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