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Changes to rights during maternity leave

Following changes made to the Sex Discrimination Act and to the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations, the law on contractual terms of employment during Additional Maternity Leave (AML) changed in respect of women whose babies were due on or after 5 October 2008. The date the baby is due, as shown on the MATB1 certificate (provided by the midwife or doctor at around 20 weeks into the pregnancy) is the relevant date and not the date the baby is actually born.

The main effect of the change is that broadly all non-pay contractual terms and conditions of employment to which a woman is entitled during Ordinary Maternity Leave (being the first 26 weeks leave) continue throughout her AML, including accrual of contractual annual leave. These rights could also include such things as the use of a company car or availability of private medical cover.  

These rights and entitlements will therefore now apply to the full 52 weeks maternity leave entitlement as opposed to the first 26 weeks as previously.

Internet links: HMRC guidance Government Equalities Office

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