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maternity rights


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The rights of a woman when she is absent from work because of her pregnancy or confinement. The current law is contained in the Employment Rights Act 1996 as amended by the Work and Families Act 2006 and supplemented by the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, 2002, and 2006. The statutory rights are:• (1) All pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable time off work, with pay, for antenatal care.• (2) An employee is entitled not to be dismissed because of pregnancy or any reason connected with it.• (3) A pregnant employee who meets certain qualifying conditions is entitled to receive statutory maternity pay from her employer for up to 39 weeks. Employers can recover 92% of such payments by setting the amount against their National Insurance payments.• (4) An employee who continues to be employed by her employer until the beginning of the 11th week before the expected week of confinement is entitled to maternity leave of 52 weeks, consisting of 26 weeks of ordinary leave and up to 26 weeks of additional leave.• (5) An employee entitled to maternity leave is also entitled to return to work with her employer. An employee who returns at the end of her ordinary maternity leave is entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions. An employee who returns at the end of her additional maternity leave has the same entitlement unless the employer can show that this is not practicable, in which case she must be offered a similar job on terms and conditions no less favourable.• (6) Throughout the maternity leave period the employee is entitled to continue to benefit from all contractual terms of her employment with the exception of remuneration (money payment).• (7) During her maternity leave an employee is entitled to do up to ten days' paid work in order to ‘keep in touch’: however, the employer may not demand this.• (8) Pregnant women, and women who have recently given birth or who are breastfeeding, have the right to be offered any suitable alternative work, rather than being suspended on maternity-related health and safety grounds.In the UK men enjoyed no statutory paternity rights until 1999, when an EU directive was adopted into British law entitling a parent of either sex to take a total of 13 weeks unpaid leave in the first five years of a child's life (but only four weeks in any one year). New fathers became entitled to two weeks' statutory paternity pay in April 2003. A growing number of companies now operate contractual schemes providing for a period of paid and/or unpaid paternity leave.

• (1) All pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable time off work, with pay, for antenatal care.

• (2) An employee is entitled not to be dismissed because of pregnancy or any reason connected with it.

• (3) A pregnant employee who meets certain qualifying conditions is entitled to receive statutory maternity pay from her employer for up to 39 weeks. Employers can recover 92% of such payments by setting the amount against their National Insurance payments.

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Subjects: Law — Business and Management.


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