Maternity Leave can cause problems for all sizes of employers in terms of managing the workload both during the pregnancy and during maternity leave. However, strict Maternity Laws are in place to protect employees, and as a employer your duty is clearly set out by maternity legislation. If you have any doubts about whether you are meeting your obligations, please contact us to avoid any subsequent litigation costs.
Your employee's basic entitlement is for 12 months maternity leave. This is split into two periods, 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) starting up to 11 weeks before their due date, and 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave (AML) which starts when the OML ends.
Your employee is also entitled to Statutory Maternity Leave, although the amount and duration will depend upon their period of service.
When you are advised that an employee is pregnant you must carry out a health and safety risk assessment. This must take into account any changes needed to your employee's workstation or their working practices. If your employee is at risk in their role you must offer them an alternative role or send them home on full pay until changes can be made to ensure that their workplace is safe.
Discrimination on the grounds of maternity can include:
- Refused requests for flexible working
- Redundancy when your employee is selected as a result of their pregnancy
- Failure to carry out a risk assessment
- Being sidelined due to pregnancy
- Restructuring whilst on maternity leave
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