Pregnancy, Maternity and other Family Leave

Pregnancy, Maternity and other Family Leave



Laws surrounding pregnancy/maternity are strict and must be observed by employers…Call us in today, so we help you stay legally compliant. A refusal to allow a new mum to return to work after having her baby will be a dismissal and will also be discrimination.

Dismissal during pregnancy, maternity leave or soon after..

During Pregnancy
It can be legal to sack a pregnant woman, but the normal rules of dismissal apply, and the dismissal must not in any way be related to her pregnancy or intention to take maternity leave. A dismissal because of pregnancy, pregnancy related sickness, birth or maternity leave is an automatic unfair dismissal, however long you have been in employment. If you are dismissed while pregnant (or on maternity leave) you must be given written reasons for the dismissal.  Unlike women on maternity leave, pregnant women who have not yet started maternity leave have no special protection in a redundancy situation.
However, the redundancy selection criteria must not take into account reasons connected to pregnancy (including pregnancy-related illness) or maternity leave.
During maternity leave
It is not unlawful to dismiss a woman while she is on maternity leave, but if you are dismissed because of pregnancy, birth or maternity leave you may have a claim for automatic unfair dismissal and pregnancy or maternity discrimination. You are entitled to written reasons for the dismissal and to be paid for any outstanding holiday pay that has accrued during your maternity leave up to the end of your notice period.

Maternity rights

There are a number of rights for pregnant women given by the law. These are known as statutory rights:-

the right of all pregnant women to take time off work for ante-natal care
the right of all pregnant women to work in a safe environment
the right of all pregnant women to claim discrimination and unfair dismissal if dismissed because of pregnancy or maternity leave
the right to take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave
the right of some pregnant women to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
the right to return to work after you have had the baby.