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All employed pregnant women are entitled to 52 weeks (one year) of maternity leave, no matter how long they've worked for their employer. This is made up of 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave. You have a range of rights during this period and can also request that your employer provides flexible working arrangements if you decide to return to work at the end of your leave. Find out more about statutory maternity leave.
The Gov.uk website has an online tool that can give you personalised guidance on maternity rights.
Your employment terms, for example your pension contributions, are protected while you are on statutory maternity leave. If you are made redundant while on maternity leave, you also have extra rights.
If you're pregnant, your employer must protect your health and safety, and you may have the right to paid time off for antenatal care. You are also protected against unfair treatment.
If you enjoy your work and like the people you work with, you may have mixed feelings when you go on maternity leave. Try to make the most of these few weeks to enjoy doing the things you want to do at your own pace. It's also a good opportunity to make some new friends. You may meet other pregnant women you want to keep in touch with at antenatal classes, or you may get to know more people living close by.
Find out more about your employee rights when you're on maternity, adoption or parental leave.