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Maternity and Paternity Rights

Duncan Lewis Employment Law Solicitors – Maternity and Paternity Rights


When parents have a child – including by adoption or surrogacy – they may be entitled to maternity/paternity leave and pay.


The Employment Act 2002 and accompanying regulations ushered in significant changes to the law on maternity and paternity rights.


The Children and Families Act 2014 also allows shared parental leave (SPL) arrangements – and applies to parents whose babies are due or who are adopting on or after 5 April 2015.


Same sex couples have the same rights when a child is born.


Parents also have other other rights, including requesting time off in the event of a family emergency involving their children, as well as flexible work schedules to facilitate childcare arrangements – and in some instances, unpaid parental leave.


Maternity rights


Under the Employment Act 2002, the period of ordinary maternity leave was extended from 18 weeks to 26 weeks. The period of additional maternity leave was extended to 26 weeks from the date when ordinary maternity leave ended. The total statutory maternity leave is now 52 weeks, but new mothers do not have to take the full 52 weeks’ leave. However, new mothers must take two weeks’ leave after their baby is born and before they return to work. The Equality Act 2010 has also intoduced further statutory rights for new mothers if they can satisfy certain qualifying conditions, including:

  • A total of 26 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks’ additional maternity leave
  • Maternity pay
  • Offer of alternative work before being suspended on maternity grounds
  • Paid time off to receive antenatal care
  • Protection from dismissal by reason of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity
  • Remuneration on suspension on maternity grounds
  • Return to work after ordinary maternity leave or additional maternity leave.


Paternity rights


Fathers who take time off if their partner is having a baby or they are adopting a child might be eligible for:

  • One or two weeks’ paid Ordinary Paternity Leave
  • Up to 26 weeks’ paid Additional Paternity Leave – but only if the mother or co-adopter returns to work.
New fathers may not receive both paternity leave and paternity pay – and there are rules on how to claim and when paternity leave can start.


A father’s employment rights are protected while he is paternity leave, including the right to:


  • Accrue holiday
  • Receive pay rises
  • Return to work.


Fathers-to-be can also be given time off from work to accompany their partner to two antenatal appointments.


Duncan Lewis Employment Law Solicitors – How we can help you


Duncan Lewis employment law solicitors can advise parents, new parents and parents-to-be on their rights to maternity/paternity leave and pay – as well as advising on maternity and paternity discrimination in the workplace and maternity or paternity pay claims.


Duncan Lewis employment lawyers act on behalf of claimants and respondents in all Employment Tribunal related matters.


The Duncan Lewis employment team can represent all types of employers, both large and small – as well as employees in matters relating to the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Equality Act 2010 and maternity/paternity and adoption pay claims.


Duncan Lewis Employment Law Solicitors – Fees


Duncan Lewis employment law solicitors operate a transparent fee scale – and can offer a range of competitively priced funding options for claimants and respondents:


  • No-win-no-fee
  • Damage based fee
  • Contingency fee
  • Fixed fees (for specific tasks)
  • Insurance funded cases.


Some cases may be funded with Home Contents Insurance or Contents/Buildings Insurance with Employment Protection Cover.


Duncan Lewis believes clients should always know what they will be paying – and will advise on the best funding option at the initial client meeting.


Duncan Lewis Employment Law Solicitors – When to contact us


If you have a problem with employment – including maternity or paternity discrimination – it is important to take legal advice and find out what your rights are as soon as possible.


Duncan Lewis can offer clear legal advice on employment law at any stage of an employment matter – including disputes relating to maternity or paternity claims.


Duncan Lewis also has a successful track record in advising companies and employers on employment matters and disputes – including responding to claims for unfair dismissal.


The sooner you call us, the sooner we can help with an employment matter.


Duncan Lewis Employment Law Solicitors – How to contact us


Duncan Lewis has offices nationwide and in most major cities, with more than 20 offices across London and the southeast.


For expert legal advice on employment law and maternity or paternity rights, call Duncan Lewis employment solicitors on 020 7923 4020.

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Call us now on 033 3772 0409 or click here to send online enquiry.
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