Pregnancy and Maternity.

Going on, or returning from, parental leave? We know that you’ll have a lot of questions on legislation, timelines, and employers. On this page, you’ll find a host of resources to help navigate this special period of your life.

What are my rights?

For a complete guide to what your benefits are, you can consult the Working Families parental toolkit. This includes handy tips of child benefits, tax credit, and support for rent and council tax.

You can also consult a guide listing what your rights are before, during, and after your parental leave. Here you’ll find what the law says of maternity, paternity and shared parental allowance; all the steps to take when you return to work; and what to do if you decide not to return to work. For more specific questions on your rights during maternity leave, like keeping your car allowance or accruing holidays, see this handy FAQ sheet compiled by Working Families.

If you do not qualify for Maternity Pay, you can find more information on Maternity Allowance here.

What if my employer has treated me unfairly?

If you think you’re being discriminated or unfairly treated by your employer because of your parental leave, you can email or call Working Families’ Helpline at 0300 012 0312. You will receive legal help and information on the next steps to take. For your maternity leave, you can also consult Maternity Action or find your local Citizens Advice office.

You can also consult Working Families for frequently asked questions on maternity discrimination, from taking time off for pre-natal assessment to breastfeeding at work.

How does Shared Parental Leave work?

Shared Parental Leave can give parents more flexibility in how they share the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption. Parents are able to share a pot of leave. They can decide to be off work at the same time and/or take it in turns to have periods of leave to look after the child.

You can find a lot of great resources on SPL on the ACAS website, including a ‘good practice guide’ for both employees and employers. On the same page, you’ll find standard from to apply for Shared Parental Leave.

For fully updated information on timelines and eligibility, you can consult

What about Paternity Leave?

If you have questions on which kind of workers are eligible for paternity leave, you can consult this Introduction to Paternity Leave. You can also find information on paternity pay rate on this page, and a sample declaration form here.