Your rights as a parent in the UK

Your rights as a parent in the UK

Your rights as a parent in the UK

Whether you’re a new parent in the UK, or you’re looking to up your knowledge around your rights as a full-time parent or a parent in work, below is a guide for you. As a parent in the UK, you’re entitled to some rights and you should be aware of them. Read on to learn more about Maternity Rights, Leave, Breastfeeding, information on Adoption leave and more.

Maternity Rights

When you’re pregnant in the UK, you could be entitled to maternity pay and leave from your work. Maternity allowance is usually less than your current pay, but it will still be a sufficient amount to live on whilst you’re away from work. When you’re on Maternity Leave, you may choose to work some days either from home or in the office. If this is the case, pay can be discussed with your employer.

If you are not given your maternity rights, or you feel as though you have been discriminated against, there are steps you can take against your employer. Firstly, talk to your employer about your rights. If they still decline to provide you with your rights, you should then speak to your trade union. If you do not have one, you can speak to ACAS who can assist you further.

If you’re an employee, you will be entitled to maternity leave. If you are self-employed or work a zero hour contract, you will not be entitled to leave or pay when it comes to your maternity. At least 15 weeks before the arrival of your baby, you must tell your employer that you are pregnant, and when your baby is due. You must also inform them of when you would like to take maternity leave, and when you would like to come back from taking your leave. When asking for your maternity leave, it’s best to have your MATB1 form with you or to give it to your employer when once you have it. These forms are given to you around your 20-week scan.

What you will earn when on maternity pay and leave can differ. However, you can calculate how much you will be on from the citizen’s advice.

Paternity Leave

If you are a new father, you will be given two weeks paternity leave when your partner has the baby. If you have recently adopted a child, you can also take paternity leave for 2 weeks. In order to qualify for paternity leave, you must have had the same employer for 26 weeks, be the biological father of the child, be responsible for the child and have given your employer the correct notice. Notice periods differ depending on the company you work for, discuss notice periods with your boss before discussing leave further with them.

During paternity leave, you will be given statutory pay. Leave can start on the day your child is born or the day in which the child is placed in your car through adoption.

Breastfeeding Rights

When you have given birth, you will still have the same health protection as when you were pregnant. In the UK, it is legal to breastfeed in public, this rule should apply to many offices, however, this is down to the company. Discuss your rights with your boss before breastfeeding in public in order to avoid any unhappy situations with co-workers.

Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave is a right given to those who are adopting a child together, or who are having a surrogacy carry their child to term for them. Shared leave means that the parents can have up to 50 weeks off together, with up to 37 weeks of those paid by your employer. To be eligible for shared leave you must share the care of the child, have had the same employer for 26 weeks, and still be employed by the same employer at the time the adoption takes place.  The amount you are paid on share parental leave will be decided by your employer, and pay should be discussed when you tell your employer of your adoption.

Hospital Appointments

If you have worked for your current employer for over a year, you are entitled to take time off in order to look after your children. Up to 18 weeks is the amount you can take off if your child is below the age of 5, or under the age of 18 if the child is disabled. If you are pregnant, you are also entitled paid time to attend antenatal appointments, and for each appointment, you can take up to 6.5 hours paid time away from work.