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Notification of Maternity leave

What you need to know


Notification of start of maternity leave

Can I ask when my employee will start her maternity leave so that I can plan the work?

You can ask her about when she wants to start her maternity leave, but she may not be able to give you a definite answer if she is only recently pregnant. You must not put pressure on her to give you a definite date before she is legally required to do so.

She must tell you when she wants to start her maternity leave 15 weeks before the date she is due to give birth.

What questions can I ask my employee about her pregnancy or maternity leave?

You can ask your employee:

  • How she is feeling, as this may be necessary to consider any health and safety risks or other work adjustments, for example to the hours she works.
  • When she is likely to start her maternity leave and how long she is likely to take; but you must not pressure her to make a firm decision before she is ready.
  • When she wants to take annual leave.
  • When to hold a performance review if this is due to be held during her maternity leave.

When should my employee tell me she is pregnant and wants to start her maternity leave?

In the 15th week before the baby is due (that is when she is about six months pregnant) she must tell you:

  • That she is pregnant.
  • The week she expects to give birth (expected week of childbirth), and;
  • When she intends to start her maternity leave, which cannot be before the beginning of the 11th week before the week she expects to give birth.

After your employee has told you the date she wants to start her maternity leave you must write to your employee, within 28 days, confirming her start and end dates. The end date will be 52 weeks after the start of her maternity leave unless she wants to return earlier. If your employee is on maternity leave and decides to return before that date, she must give you eight weeks notice. Further information is available on NI Direct's website

Can my employee change the start of her maternity leave?

Yes, she can change the date she wants her maternity leave to start, but she must tell you 28 days before that date. You must then give her the new date when her maternity leave will start and end.
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