Some while ago I struck up a relationship with Michelle Morgan who is a qualified Solicitor and whose speciality is employment law. Michelle has kindly offered to assist each month with a Q & A session on aspects of employee law and here is this months.

The laws on maternity are complex and it is always worth seeking specialist legal advice about your particular situation. If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Morgan on 01865 781195 or

Qualifying periods/Pregnancy at work/Maternity Leave

How do I qualify for maternity leave?

All pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks’ maternity leave, irrespective of how long you have worked for your employer or how many hours or days you work.

There are three periods of maternity leave:

  • Compulsory maternity leave – you cannot work for a period of 2 weeks immediately following date of childbirth.
  • Ordinary maternity leave (“OML”) – you are entitled to take 26 weeks’ of ordinary maternity leave (this includes the 2 weeks compulsory maternity leave). You can start your OML up to 11 weeks before your baby is due. If you have an illness which is connected to your pregnancy in the 4 weeks before your baby is due, then this will trigger the start of OML.Your employment continues throughout OML and AML, unless either party expressly ends it. During statutory maternity leave you are entitled to all your benefits (such as the accrual of contractual annual leave, health club membership, permanent health insurance or use of a company car).
  • Additional maternity leave (“AML”) – you are entitled to take a further 26 weeks’ leave at the end of your OML. If you’re taking AML, this must follow on directly after OML and there must be no gap between the two. During AML you are entitled to the same contractual benefits as during OML.

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