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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.

Annual leave and maternity

pregnancy and maternity

What you need to know


Annual leave and maternity

Is my employee entitled to build up annual leave during their maternity leave?

Yes, they continue to be legally entitled to annual leave for the period they are on maternity leave. The minimum is 28 days in the year including bank/customary holidays (pro-rata if they are part-time) but their employment contract may provide for longer.

Can an employee carry over annual leave from the previous leave year?

An employee must be allowed to carry over any unused part of her statutory leave entitlement of 28 days (including bank holidays).

Is my employee entitled to be paid for annual leave when on maternity leave?

No, they must not take annual leave and maternity leave at the same time.  If they are on annual leave when their baby is born, maternity leave will start on that day and their annual leave will finish.

Can an employee take the annual leave they accrued while on maternity leave a day or two a week upon their return to work?

Yes, if you agree. It may help an employee to settle back into work if this leave pattern can be accommodated however you will want to ensure that it is consistent with your business needs.

Further guidance about maternity leave, annual leave and sick pay is available on the NI Business Info's website
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