Updated EHRC guidance

16th April 2024

Employment law, Newbury, Berkshire.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a useful source of information for various employment issues. Most recently, they have produced updated guidance relating to the duties towards pregnant employees and those on maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

You can read the guidance here and we have summarised the main obligations below: Maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave and pay | EHRC (equalityhumanrights.com)



  • Pregnant employees can take up to 52 weeks' maternity leave and adoptive parents can take the same. 
  • The earliest an employee can start maternity leave is 11 weeks before their due date (or 14 days before the date of placement for adoption leave).  
  • The employee must take the two weeks after giving birth off work, or four weeks if they work in a factory. This is called “compulsory maternity leave”.
  • An employee can choose to  end their maternity (or adoption) leave and take shared parental leave instead.
  • Training, promotion and development opportunities must still be offered to all employees on leave. 
  • The normal contractual terms and conditions (other than pay) continue during the period of leave and the employer must pay eligible employees at least statutory pay. 
  • The employer’s pension contribution based on the normal rate of pay should be maintained. 
  • Eligible employees have a legal right to take paternity leave for up to two weeks, which can now be taken at separate times within 52 weeks from birth. 



  • Eligible employees are entitled to statutory maternity and adoption pay for up to 39 weeks. SMP is paid at 90% of average earnings for the first six weeks, with the following 33 weeks paid at the statutory rate, currently - £184.03.  
  • Statutory paternity pay for eligible employees is paid for up to two weeks at the statutory rate (currently £184.03) or 90% of their average earnings, if their earnings are less. 
  • Employees can choose to receive shared parental leave pay instead of statutory maternity pay.
  • The pregnant employee must provide a copy of a maternity certificate (form MAT B1) from their GP or Midwife to receive statutory maternity pay. 


Redundancy during leave

  • Employees must not be treated less favourably, dismissed or selected for redundancy for any leave-related reasons. 
  • Any employee selected for redundancy whilst pregnant, on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave must be offered any available suitable alternative vacancies in priority to other employees. 


Keeping in touch (KIT) days

  • Up to ten 'keeping in touch' (KIT) days can be worked during their leave (20 days for shared parental leave), without bringing leave or statutory pay to an end.


Miscarriage, stillbirth and the death of a baby

  • Employees remain legally entitled to maternity leave and pay if the baby is stillborn after the end of 24 weeks of pregnancy, or if the baby is born alive (at any stage of the pregnancy) and subsequently dies. 
  • Before the end of 24 weeks of pregnancy, employees are legally entitled to sick leave and/or annual leave if a miscarriage occurs.




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