Maternity Leave

Mandatory Maternity Leave

It is a legal obligation that prohibits an employee from engaging in work during the two weeks immediately following childbirth.


Statutory Maternity Leave

All employees have a legal entitlement to a total of 52 weeks of maternity leave, comprising 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and an additional 26 weeks of leave, regardless of their length of service with the employer.

To comply with the statutory requirements, an employee must provide advanced notice no later than the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC) with the following information:

– Confirmation of her pregnancy
– The anticipated childbirth date (available on the MATB1 form issued by her registered doctor or midwife to confirm pregnancy)
– The desired start date for her maternity leave (which cannot commence earlier than the 11th week before the EWC).

If requested by the employer, this notification should be in writing, and the employee must present a certificate from a registered midwife or medical practitioner validating the EWC.

The EWC is defined as a Sunday-to-Saturday timeframe.

Within 28 days of receiving the notification, the employer must confirm the start date of the employee’s maternity leave. If the employee wishes to alter the start date, the employer must inform the employee of the revised end date of her maternity leave within 28 days of the leave’s commencement. If the initiation of maternity leave is automatic due to pregnancy-related sickness absence or early childbirth within the four weeks preceding the EWC, the employer must confirm the new end date within 28 days of being notified of the absence or birth.

Should the employee wish to modify her return date from maternity leave, she must provide eight weeks’ notice to the employer.

Statutory maternity leave cannot commence prior to the 11th week before the EWC. Within this constraint, the employee can choose the specific start date. Nevertheless, if the employee is absent from work wholly or partly due to pregnancy after the beginning of the fourth week before the EWC (or if the child is born during that period), her maternity leave will be automatically initiated and commence on the day following her first day of absence or the day after childbirth.



Under the salaried GP contract model, a salaried GP is eligible for contractual maternity pay if they have completed 12 months of continuous NHS service by the start of the 11th week before their expected childbirth week. If this condition is met, the maternity pay will be as follows:

– For the initial eight weeks of absence, they will receive full pay minus any Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance (MA) they are entitled to.
– For the subsequent 14 weeks, they will receive half of their full pay in addition to any SMP or MA, provided that the combined amount does not exceed their full pay.
– For the following 17 weeks, they will receive SMP or MA (assuming the employee qualifies for it). The current statutory entitlement is 39 weeks of pay, leaving an entitlement to 17 weeks of statutory pay following the full and half pay periods.

Upon prior agreement with the employer, the entitlement may be distributed differently throughout the maternity leave period.

To be eligible for the aforementioned benefits, the salaried GP must meet the following notification requirements:

– Inform the employer of their intention to take maternity leave.
– Specify the date they wish to commence their maternity leave.
– Declare their intention to return to work for the same or another NHS employer for at least three months after their maternity leave concludes 
– Provide a MATB1 form from their midwife or GP indicating the expected childbirth date. This notification must be submitted before the end of the 15th week before the anticipated childbirth week, or as soon as reasonably practicable if that timeline is not feasible.

If the salaried GP intends to change their maternity leave start date, they should notify the employer at least 28 days in advance, or as soon as reasonably practicable if advanced notice is not possible.


Return from Maternity Leave

If an employee only takes ordinary maternity leave (the initial 26 weeks of maternity leave) and returns before the conclusion of ordinary maternity leave or combines maternity leave with a period of shared parental leave (as detailed below), where the total leave is 26 weeks or less, the employee is entitled to return to her previous job, unless a redundancy situation has arisen. The employee will enjoy any improvements as if she had never been absent (e.g., a salary increase).

An employee who takes additional maternity leave (up to a total of 52 weeks with ordinary maternity leave) or combines it with shared parental leave (as outlined below) for a total leave period exceeding 26 weeks is generally entitled to return to her pre-absence position. However, if it is not reasonably feasible for the employer to reinstate her in that role, she is entitled to return to another job that is both suitable and appropriate for her given the circumstances. Nevertheless, any alternative position must offer terms and conditions that are no less favourable than those of her previous job.


Practices should follow these steps:

1. Complete the application form below

2. Submit the completed form to GMAST at, along with the following documents:

– Relevant employment contract or partnership agreement page indicating the duration of full pay during maternity leave.
– MATB1 Form.
– A letter from the GP stating the intended start date of Maternity Leave.

Practices are entitled to support for up to 26 weeks during maternity leave. The first 2 weeks are compensated at a rate of £1143.06 per week, and the remaining period is at a rate of £1751.52 per week.

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