Hello Mums, how are your weekend plans coming along? we’ve been sharing with you on Facebook a Guardian’s article reporting that staying at work beyond the eight months of pregnancy might be as harmful for the unborn as smoking.
The author of the controversial study suggested that governments should offer more flexible maternity leave, that might be used before as well as after the birth. The article sparked some discussion about Statutory Maternity Pay and whether or not it is affordable for a woman to leave work earlier. We felt we should investigate what are actual rights and approaches related to maternity leave.
In general, as an employee you have the right to 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave making one year in total. If you give a correct notice, you are entitled to Statutory Maternity leave no matter how long you have been with your employer, how much you are paid and how many hours per week you work. You can also get quite a bit of help from the baby’s dad, as might have the right to up to 26 weeks’ Additional Paternity Leave, in addition to the two weeks’ Statutory Paternity Leave.
The situation is less transparent with the Statutory Maternity Pay. You are entitled to the weekly payment from your employer if you:
were employed by the same employer for at least 26 weeks into the 15th week before the week your baby is due
earning an amount which at least equals the lower earnings limit which applies on the Saturday at the end of your qualifying week (which in practice means earning 107 per week)
If you are in UK on a visa which states that you have “no recourse to public funds”, you can still apply. so our advice is to get as much information as possible and demand your rights to be respected. You should be able to find information relating to your case on the Directgov website.
There is an ongoing debate about Statutory Maternity Pay: many mums complains it is insufficient, adoption pay and leave aren’t equal to maternity benefits. Government has been recently discussing a flexible approach to parenting leave, allowing dads and mums to share responsibility and balance work and family duties, so we might expect changes soon. Will that be in tune with what families need and want? If you are pregnant or thinking about having a baby, are you communicating your views strongly enough?
We are waiting to get to know your opinions on this important issue!
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