If you fall pregnant whilst at you are working, there is a law that protects you and provides you with some basic rights. These rights are that; you should not be fired from your job because you are pregnant, your job should be a safe for when you want to return to work, you have the right to maternity pay and to time off for ante natal care. If your employer fails to comply with any of these laws, you will have the right to take legal action against them.

If you get fired from your job for being pregnant or having a baby, it is classed as an unfair dismissal. You may even experience other types of discrimination which are used to try and force you to leave your job, this could include; changing your hours without consulting your first, being given work which is unsuitable for you, being unfairly judged in staff reports and not being allowed time off for ante natal appointments.

Being a mother gives you the legal right to have time off for maternity leave. There is a basic statutory amount which is set by the government and some employers have their own company schemes which can differ and be more generous than the statutory amount.

Statutory maternity leave is set at 52 weeks. 26 weeks of this is Ordinary Maternity Leave and the other 26 is Additional Maternity leave. 39 weeks of maternity leave should be paid. Throughout this period the mother’s job should be kept open and her contract of employment should continue despite the fact that she is not there. If you are pregnant, you need to inform your employer before the 15th week before the baby is due that you are pregnant and are planning to take maternity leave. You should also inform your employer of the date in which you would like your maternity leave to start. As long as you follow this procedure, you will be entitled to maternity leave regardless of how long you have worked for your employer or the amount of hours that you work.

If you fit certain specifications, for example you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks before getting pregnant; you may be entitled to statutory maternity pay. Statutory maternity pay is set at 90% of your normal pay and is payable for six weeks. After this time it will be reduced to 124.80 for the remainder of the maternity period up until 33 weeks. If you don’t qualify for statutory maternity pay, you may be entitled to state maternity allowance.

Expecting fathers are also entitled to some paternity benefits. A father is entitled to two weeks statutory paternity leave providing that they inform their employer before the 15th week before their child is due.

Fathers will also be entitled to statutory paternity pay for the duration of their leave, this is set at 90% of their weekly earnings or 124.80, whichever amount is lower. Fathers are not legally entitled to any time off for ante natal care, however some individual employers may make exceptions for this.

I am a legal writer covering advice on topics of law including maternity and paternity leave, for further text and similar works visit family law or contact a solicitor today.

For more legal advice and information, and for free legal resources I suggest you visit lawontheweb.co.uk.

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