Family-Friendly Employment Rights

Employees have a number of fundamental, family friendly employment rights in the workplace, but what are they?

Maternity leave & pay

Employees are entitled to maternity leave after 26 weeks of service.

The qualifying week is the 15th week before the baby due.

Employees are entitled to a maximum of 39 weeks of paid maternity leave.

The maternity leave entitlement is:

  • 90% of average weekly earnings for the 1st 6 weeks
  • £151.20 or 90% (whichever is lower) of average weekly earnings for the next 33 weeks

All employees have the right to take up to 52 weeks of maternity or adoption leave in total.

Mothers can end maternity leave early and take shared parental leave instead.

Adoption leave & pay


Like maternity leave, Statutory Adoption Leave lasts for up to 52 weeks.

Employees are entitled to adoption leave if they have adopted a child through an adoption agency, rather than a private adoption.

As with maternity pay, Statutory Adoption Pay is payable for 39 weeks.

Adoption pay begins when an employee starts Adoption Leave.

Adoption pay entitlement is:

  • 90% of average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks
  • For the following 33 weeks, £151.20 OR 90% (whichever is lower) of average weekly earnings

Mothers can end adoption leave early and take shared parental leave instead.

Paternity leave


Statutory paternity pay is payable to employees with at least 26 weeks service at the end of the 15th week before the expected birth or adoption.

Fathers / partners can take up to 2 weeks paternity leave.

Statutory Paternity Pay is either £151.20 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

Leave must be taken consecutively, rather than as odd days.

Unpaid time off can also be taken to accompany a partner up to 2 ante-natal appointments

Parental leave

Parental leave applies to all employees with more than 1 years paid service.

Parents are entitled to time off to care for children. Up to 18 weeks per child can be taken up to the child’s 18th birthday, with a maximum of 4 weeks per year.

Parental leave is unpaid and must be taken in blocks of 1 week unless the child is disabled.

Shared parental leave

Shared parental leave can only be taken by a mother, father, partner, or adopter of a child.

After 26 weeks of service, shared parental leave can be taken by the 15th week of the expected birth or adoption.

Eligible employees can take up to 50 weeks shared parental leave during the child’s first year in the family. Leave is shared between the parents.

Where entitled, shared parental pay is £151.20 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Leave must be taken in 1 continuous block, or up to 3 separate blocks.

Time off to look after dependants

Employees can take reasonable time off to look after dependants in unforeseen or emergency situations. Dependants can include parents, a spouse or partner or children.

Taking time off to look after dependants is unpaid.

Bereavement leave

After April 2020, all employees are entitled to 2 weeks of bereavement leave following the death of a child. Employees are entitled to take bereavement leave after 1 day of employment, including for the loss of a stepchild or an adopted child up to 18 years old.

Employees are also entitled to bereavement leave if a baby is still born after 24 weeks or dies at birth.

Should both parents work for the same employer, both are entitled to take this time off.

Employees can take leave in a block of 1 or 2 weeks at any point during the 56-week period following bereavement. This allows parents to take time when they need it most, including around the 1st anniversary.

After 26 weeks continuous service, employees are also entitled to statutory bereavement pay. This is payable at £151.20 per week or 90% of weekly salary, whichever is the lower.

If you need advice on your legal obligations as an employer or managing relationships with  your team please get in touch.  Contact Debbie today, Telephone: 01278 802329. Email: debbie@concilium-hr.co.uk.


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