Once you have decided when you would like to start your maternity leave, it is a good idea to put this in writing in a formal letter to your employer. You should include details about when you would like your maternity leave to start. The earliest you can start your maternity leave is 11 weeks before your expected week of childbirth.
Your employer is obliged to confirm within 28 days of receiving your letter.
You are entitled to take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. If you want to return earlier than the 52 weeks, you simply need to give your employer 8 weeks’ notice. You don’t have to give your return date in this letter, you can wait until after you have the baby if you wish, or you can put in a possible date for return now if you prefer.
A letter template which you can amend and use is below. Alternatively you can download one here: Maternity Leave Dates – Letter Template
Company / Employer’s Name
Dear [insert name]
Re: Maternity dates
This letter is to inform you of the dates I wish to take my maternity leave. Thank you for informing me of my Maternity Leave entitlement and for the enclosed Maternity Policy. [If your company has already provided this to you]
I would like to start my maternity leave and pay on [insert the date you’d like to start your maternity leave]. I understand that if I wish to change this date I must give you a minimum of 28 days’ notice.
I understand that I qualify for 52 weeks’ maternity leave, made up of 26 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave and a further 26 weeks’ additional maternity leave.
I believe I qualify for [SMP/ Maternity Allowance or contractual maternity pay*]. Please can you confirm this, and let me know what amount I will receive.
I look forward to receiving confirmation of my leave from you.
Please let me know if you require any further information.
Your Name, Department
CC HR Department
*NB contractual pay may be more than statutory pay or could be paid for longer than 39 weeks – this will depend on the terms of employment, please check your policy and or employment contract before sending this letter.