Pregnancy and maternity
Download Prospect's guide on maternity rights.
We want all members to have the opportunity to develop themselves and achieve in their working lives while successfully balancing home and work.
We have made formal submissions to the government setting out our policies on work and parents. We have identified the following three priorities:
- Enhanced maternity leave and paternity/maternity support leave with pay, enabling parents to spend valuable time with their baby. This would benefit the health and well-being of parents as well as their babies
- Rights for both parents and carers to work reduced or flexible hours, encouraging a balance between home and work responsibilities. This should be a statutory right, since it has been shown that voluntary practices do not work
- Paid parental leave and shared parental leave with flexible implementation, also allowing parents to balance home and work responsibilities.
All women are entitled to:
- 52 weeks’ maternity leave
- statutory maternity pay
- paid time off work to attend ante-natal sessions.
Adoptive parents have similar entitlements. Men and women are entitled to:
- shared parental leave and pay (the mother’s partner can share the statutory leave and pay)
- time off to care for dependants in exceptional circumstances
- return to the same or (in some cases) similar job after maternity or parental leave
- 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave for children aged up to 18 but only after one year’s continuous employment
- two weeks’ paternity/partner leave and statutory paternity pay.
Shared parental leave: The provisions under the Children and Families Act introducing shared parental leave and pay came into effect on 1 December 2014. The provisions will apply for children born or adopted on or after 5 April 2015.
Shared parental leave will enable eligible parents to share up to 50 weeks’ leave and will allow them flexibility to decide whether they take it in turns to take the time off to look after the child or to be off work at the same time.
The amount of paid leave available mirrors the statutory maternity leave arrangements: ie, 39 weeks available at the statutory minimum pay and 13 weeks’ unpaid leave – less the two weeks’ compulsory leave directly following the birth/adoption.
To qualify for shared parental leave, complex eligibility criteria and notification requirements must be met, which we cover in an equality briefing.
Prospect has produced guidance for negotiators and representatives on alternative working patterns available that contribute to good work-life balance policies, including good practice checklists and examples of where the policies work well.
We have also produced guidance on the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees – whether this is a change in working hours, working patterns or their work location – for any reason at all.
Our guidance on flexible working and work-life balance has been brought together into a model policy to assist negotiators and representatives.
Public resources for pregnancy and maternity
- EHRC advice: Pregnancy and maternity in the workplace
- EHRC guidance: Our recommendations to tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination
- HSE guidance: New and expectant mothers
- TUC guide: Who’s looking after the children? A trade union guide to negotiating childcare
- TUC booklet: Time off and pay for adoptive parents
- TUC booklet: Time off and pay for parents having a child through surrogacy
- TUC report: The Pregnancy Test: Ending discrimination at work for new mothers
- TUC video: Pregnancy discrimination is not a myth
- TUC publication: Family-Friendly Rights: Transforming Britain’s Workplaces
- TUC report: Talent not tokenism: The business benefits of workforce diversity
- ACAS guidance: Accommodating breastfeeding employees in the workplace
- ACAS booklet: Shared Parental Leave: a good practice guide for employers and employees
- ACAS graphic: Shared parental leave process at a glance
- ACAS website: Advice and guidance for parents and carers
- ACAS advice and guidance: Flexible working and work-life balance
- Working Families website: advice and information for working parents and carers
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Prospect resources for equality and diversity
Prospect provides advice and guidance on a range of equalities issues, which can be accessed under the Resources tab in the left-hand navigation menu. This includes links to guides, posters and leaflets etc.