Law guide: Employment

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Ending maternity leave or pay

Ending maternity leave or pay

Contents

To start shared parental leave (SPL), the mother must first give up her entitlement to any maternity leave or pay, or maternity allowance. To do this, the child's mother must either return to work or give their employer a written notice to say that they'll return.

When to give the notices

The notice must be given at the same time that she gives notice to take SPL or statutory shared parental pay (SSPP).

The type of notice will differ depending on whether the mother is entitled to receive maternity leave or pay, or maternity allowance.

If the mother is entitled to maternity leave

The notice must state the date that her maternity leave will end. This must be on a date that's at least:

  • 8 weeks after the date the employee gives you notice;
  • one day after the compulsory maternity leave period of 2 weeks (or 4 weeks for factory workers); and
  • one week before the last day of her period of additional maternity leave.

If the employee is not entitled to maternity leave but can receive statutory maternity pay

The notice must state the date that her statutory maternity pay will end. This must be on the last day of a week that's at least:

  • 8 weeks after the date that you were given the notice;
  • one day after her compulsory ordinary maternity leave (2 or 4 weeks) ends; or if she does not have this right
  • 2 weeks after the end of the pregnancy; and
  • one week before her maternity pay ends.

If the mother is entitled maternity allowance

The notice must be given to the Department for Work and Pensions, stating the date that her maternity allowance will end.

This must be on a date that's:

  • one day after her compulsory ordinary maternity leave (2 or 4 weeks) ends; or if she doesn't have that right, at least:
  • 2 weeks after the end of the pregnancy;
  • 8 weeks after the date she gave you the notice; and
  • one week before her maternity allowance ends.

You should ensure that your employee provides you with a copy of their notice.

Cancelling a notice

The child's mother can cancel her notice by giving written notice to you, but only if one of the following applies:

  • Neither parent is entitled to receive SPL or SSPP. In this case, the employee must give notice within 8 weeks of the mother giving her notice to end maternity leave (the employee cannot cancel if neither parent is entitled to receive SPL or SSPP if the notice was to end her maternity pay or maternity allowance).
  • The mother's partner dies. In this case, she must give notice to cancel within a reasonable time of their death. The notice must state the date of her partner's death.

An employee can also cancel SPL before her child is born or if her partner dies if she has given you notice to end her maternity pay or maternity allowance. This must be provided before the date given in that notice, as long as the employee gives you (or for maternity allowance, the Department for Work and Pensions) their notice to cancel within 6 weeks of the child's birth or within a reasonable time of her partner's death. Note that this cancellation right does not apply to adoptions.

Adoptions

The process to end maternity leave and pay also applies to adoption leave and pay.

In this article, any references to the following can be substituted in this way:

  • 'main adopter' for 'mother';
  • 'adoption leave' for 'maternity leave';
  • 'adoption pay' for 'maternity pay';
  • 'match date' for 'child's expected week of birth' and
  • 'placement date' for 'child's date of birth'.