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In recent decades, the rights held by workers in respect of their family and home life has steadily grown. This is reflected in both the increased number of situations where an employer now has a duty to observe specific minimum rights, as well as in respect of the number of rights that employees have in different workplace situations.

The specialist employment solicitors at Wilford Smith have many years of experience advising businesses of all kinds on maternity and family rights issues – whatever your circumstances, speak with a member of our employment team reliable, commercially focused legal support. Speak to a member of our team today, call us on 01709 828 044 or complete our online contact form.

What are maternity and family rights?

Maternity and family rights employment law aims to protect female employees who are pregnant or who have recently given birth, as well as allowing parents to balance work and family life by way of maternity and paternity leave, flexible working and taking time off to care for dependents. These protections can sometimes create issues for employers that require careful and delicate handling. We regularly advise employers across England and Wales on their rights, responsibilities and obligations in respect of maternity and family rights, including issues such as:

  • The rights of pregnant employees
  • Maternity and paternity leave
  • Maternity and paternity pay
  • Shared parental leave
  • Adoption leave
  • Flexible working requests
  • Parental and emergency leave to care for dependents
  • Part-time working

Maternity rights

Maternity leave periods

Employees are entitled to maternity leave from the point at which they give birth – this is known as Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML). On returning to work, the employee is entitled to reinstatement to the position they held before going on leave. Beyond the period of OML, there is an additional period called Additional Maternity Leave (AML). If the employee returns to work after OML but during AML, and if it is not reasonably practicable for them to return to their previous job, they may be offered another position.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

The employee will be entitled to statutory maternity pay. To qualify for SMP, the employee must have been working for the employer at the time they became pregnant.

Shared Parental Leave (SPL)

Employees are entitled to replace the maternity leave period with SPL, and to swap Statutory Maternity Pay for Statutory Shared Parental Pay. Both parents can divide periods of leave between them.

Contact our Maternity and Family Rights Solicitors

At Wilford Smith, we pride ourselves on our reputation for providing legal services that are uniquely client-focused. Our employment lawyers will take the time to discuss your business with you in detail, answering any questions you may have clearly and without legal jargon. We are well known for delivering advice that is innovative, responsive and tailored to meet the needs of our clients’ businesses.

For advice on the maternity and family rights of your employees, speak to a member of our employment law team today by calling 01709 828 044 or complete our enquiry form and we will be in touch.


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