All pregnant employees are entitled to take up to 52 weeks maternity leave. This is broken down into 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML), which is inclusive of compulsory leave and 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave (AML). You are entitled to this length of maternity leave regardless of how long you have been employed.
In law, you are required to take a minimum of two weeks off work after the birth of your baby. This is called Compulsory Maternity Leave (CML). This is extended to four weeks for factory workers.
You could have the right to share statutory entitlements to leave and pay with your partner. You can read about Shared Parental Leave (ShPL) here or below.
You may be entitled to ordinary Statutory Paternity Leave and Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) if you satisfy certain conditions. For the purposes of SPP, HM Revenue and Customs treats each NHS trust as a separate employer. If you change NHS employers you may lose your entitlement to SPP.
Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) gives eligible parents the opportunity to share leave and pay during the child's first year.
SPL and ShPP are only available in England, Scotland and Wales.
To be entitled to SPL and ShPP both the mother/adopter and the father/partner need to meet specific eligibility criteria.
If you are employed by the NHS, please also see section 15 of the NHS handbook.
Always check your contract/workplace policy to clarify what you are entitled to.
If you are an NHS employee please see the NHS handbook. NHS entitlements and qualifying criteria for adoption are in section 35.
If you work outside of the NHS or do not meet NHS eligibility criteria, see gov.uk for eligibility criteria for statutory adoption leave and pay.
Some employees will not qualify for both leave and pay.
If you are adopting a child from overseas then different rules apply. See gov.uk for further information.
Read more about adoption leave and pay on gov.uk.
Employees are entitled to take up to eighteen weeks of parental leave per child.
If you are classed as an employee, you have the right to take time off to deal with any unexpected or sudden problem involving a dependent.
A dependent may be a husband, wife or partner, child or parent, or someone living with you as part of your family. Others who rely solely on you for help in an emergency may also qualify.
Read more about time off work here.