Maternity Leave on a Fixed-Term Contract: What You Need to Know
If you are a woman who is pregnant and currently working on a fixed-term contract, you may be wondering what your rights are when it comes to maternity leave. The good news is that if you meet certain criteria, you are entitled to the same rights as other employees on permanent contracts. Here’s what you need to know:
Eligibility for Maternity Leave
To be eligible for maternity leave on a fixed-term contract, you must have worked continuously for your employer for at least 26 weeks leading up to the “Qualifying Week,” which is the 15th week before your due date. You must also have an employment contract or a contract for services that is for a fixed period of time, although this contract can be renewed.
Length of Maternity Leave
The length of your maternity leave will be the same as it would be if you were on a permanent contract. You are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, which is made up of 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) and 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave (AML). However, you may need to check your contract as some fixed-term contracts may specify a shorter period of maternity leave.
Statutory Maternity Pay
You are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) if you meet certain criteria, such as having worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks leading up to the Qualifying Week and earning at least £120 per week. If you are entitled to SMP, you will receive 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first six weeks and then £151.20 per week (or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks. The remaining weeks will be unpaid.
Returning to Work
At the end of your maternity leave, you have the right to return to your job. If your contract is due to end before you return, your employer must offer you a suitable alternative position if one is available. If no suitable alternative is available, your contract will end and you will be entitled to redundancy pay.
If you are on a fixed-term contract and are pregnant, you are entitled to the same rights as other employees when it comes to maternity leave. You may be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay and have the right to return to your job at the end of your maternity leave. If you are unsure about your rights, it is always best to seek advice from a qualified professional.