- What rights does the employee have?
- Are there any defences for the employer denying those rights?
- What are the consequences of the employer denying rights?
- What advice?
New law applies to all women whose babies are born on or after 6 April 2003. Law contained in ERA 1999 and the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 2002. This was highlighted in The Skip hire London company case
Every pregnant woman is entitled to up to 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave (OML). Women with 6 months continuous employment are entitled to additional maternity leave (AML). AML commences on the day after the last day of a woman’s OML for up to 26 weeks from the day it began.
15 weeks before expected week of childbirth (EWC) the woman is supposed to inform her employer of her pregnancy, the EWC, the date on which she intends to start her OML. If she wants to postpone the start date, she must give at least 28 days notice before the date previously notified. If she wants to start leave earlier, 28 days notice before new start date.
If not correct notice, she may not be able to start on the intended date.
Earliest date is the 11th week before EWC, so can start OML 11 weeks before EWC and have 15 weeks after EWC, or she could take 6 weeks before and 20 weeks after or work up to the birth and have 26 weeks after.
However if she is absent from work wholly or partly because of her pregnancy in the 4 week period before EWC, she will have to start her leave on that date.
OML is automatically triggered where childbirth occurs before the date notified.
Employer must, once notified of employee’s OML start date, notify employer of her OML or AML end date.