All pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable paid time off for antenatal care. Fathers-to-be and partners of pregnant women are also entitled to unpaid time off to attend two antenatal appointments.
The right to unpaid time off to attend two antenatal appointments is also available to intended parents under a surrogacy arrangement if they satisfy the conditions for, and intend to apply for, a Parental Order for the child.
Agency workers with 12 weeks’ service doing the same job for the same hirer have the same rights to time off for antenatal appointments as employees.
For the first 39 weeks of your maternity leave, you will be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay, provided you have worked continuously for the same employer for 26 weeks by the 15th week before the child is due. If not, you may be entitled to receive Maternity Allowance. This is also the case if you are self-employed or earn below the Lower Earnings Limit.
Agency workers who satisfy the rules as to continuous service and earnings are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay but not Statutory Maternity Leave.
Employees who opt to cut short their maternity leave and pay may be able to share the remaining leave with their partner as Shared Parental Leave if they qualify. Although agency workers cannot take shared parental leave, their partner may be able to do this, provided he or she is an employee with at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment and provided the agency worker can satisfy an ‘employment and earnings’ test.
Employees who opt to cut short their entitlement to maternity leave and pay may be able to share the remaining leave under new Shared Parental Leave arrangements introduced for all babies born or matched for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.
Another useful resource is SPLASH, a web portal devised by a group of legal advisers and charities, including Working Families and Maternity Action, providing guidance on Shared Parental Leave rights.