Maternity leave and pay

All employees have basic legal maternity rights, including the right to up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave, although not all of that will be paid. 


The amount of pay you get depends on who you work for and for how long you have worked there.

Most NHS employees and transferred NHS staff are covered by the NHS Terms and Conditions Handbook Section 15, which are better than the statutory ones. However, to qualify, you have been continuously employed by NHS employers for 12 months.

Non-NHS employees should check their contract of employment to see if they are entitled to more than the statutory minimum rights.

If you don’t qualify for any NHS or contractual maternity pay but have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks, you may be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay.

There are other rules around maternity leave, such as notifying your employer, and rights to return to your job and for time off for ante natal care.

More details are contained in this briefing.

Last reviewed: