Working mums receive maternity pay boost

Hundreds of thousands of working mothers will receive an increase in paid maternity leave, as the first changes under the Work and Families Act are introduced.

From October 1, statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance and statutory adoption pay will increase from six months to nine months for babies due on or after April 1, 2007 or adoption placements from that date.

The Act also includes a package of measures designed to make life easier for employers.

Employment Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said that up to 400,000 mothers each year would benefit from the changes.

He said: "The new rights will mean mothers can spend more time with their newborn babies during the vital early days of a child's development, rather than feeling they have to go back to work earlier than they would really like.

"The new arrangements have been introduced following consultations with businesses, and will also benefit employers by helping them plan ahead and manage maternity leave with greater certainty."

The move is the first step towards the government's aim of introducing 12 months paid maternity leave.

The new regulations will also:

  • double the amount of notice required from one to two months for women wanting to change their return to work dates from maternity leave

  • introduce up to 10 'Keeping in Touch' days to allow mothers to go into work and stay in touch with developments and training there without bringing their leave to an end or losing out on maternity pay

  • simplify the administration of maternity payments and allow employers to adjust them in line with their normal payroll procedures

  • extend the eligibility for additional maternity leave to all pregnant employees where births are due on or after April 1, 2007

A new right for carers to request flexible working will also come into force in April 2007 under the new act, as well as a further extension of paid maternity leave to 52 weeks and a new right to an additional period of up to 26 weeks paternity leave for fathers, both of which are due to be introduced later.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

19 October 2005
Fathers to get more paternity leave
Fathers could receive increased paternity leave under new government proposals. The Work and Families Bill proposes extending paid maternity leave to nine months from April 2007. However, fathers would be able to take the paid leave for the last three months of the leave period, if the mother wished to return to work.
10 March 2005
Mothers 'cannot afford' full maternity leave
New mothers are being forced to return to work early because they can't afford to take their full statutory maternity leave, a leading trading union has claimed.
04 November 2013
Commission Tackles Pregnancy And Maternity Discrimination
The Equality and Human Rights Commission will be undertaking a new comprehensive research project into the scale of pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some pregnant women experience discrimination while on maternity leave or on their return to work.
17 January 2011
New Plan Outlined For Shared Maternity Leave
The Deputy Prime Minister has unveiled plans to allow couples to share maternity leave. The move, proposed by the last government, will allow a father to take up any remaining unpaid leave if their partner goes back to work early. Nick Clegg has described current paternity arrangements as "Edwardian".
29 November 2013
New Rules Will Allow Parents To Share Childcare Leave
Parents will be given the option of sharing leave in a move designed to allow fathers to be more "hands-on" and to stop women having to choose between a career and raising children. The move was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and will be introduced in April 2015.