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Salary on maternity leave in the UK

There’s a lot of false information on the web about changes to your salary while on maternity leave but you can be assured that your firm can’t make these changes while you’re off taking care of your child. While you’re on maternity leave, you’ll remain entitled to the same legal rights that covered your working life leading up to your pregnancy, and there are other rights that also come into force.
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Mother’s rights

Mothers have the right to 26 weeks of what’s called 'Ordinary Maternity Leave' and a further 26 weeks of 'Additional Maternity Leave' which means you can take a total of 52 weeks. During this time you will still accrue holiday pay, which basically gives you additional paid time away from the workplace.

Handbook

Before you get too far along with your pregnancy, it pays to speak to a representative from the firm’s HR department. It’s also a good idea to read the company handbook. Some firms offer additional benefits while on maternity leave. These can include extra pay on top of the official entitlement.

Statutory maternity pay

SMP for eligible employees can be received for up to 39 weeks. The amount you’ll get differs over this period. You can expect 90% of your salary before tax for the first 6 weeks of your maternity leave and a further £138.18 a week for the remainder of the period. If 90% of your weekly wage is lower than £138.18, you’ll earn that sum instead. If you’re unsure exactly how much you can expect, check out gov.uk/maternity-paternity-calculator.

Employment rights

As previously mentioned, your employee rights remain in force during your maternity leave so the terms and conditions of your employment can’t be changed while you’re away, and you have the right to return to your job when the maternity leave is over. You also have the same redundancy rights as your colleagues while on leave, and the firm can’t use your maternity leave as a reason to get rid of you.

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