A guide to navigating through the maternity journey

27 January 2022

A guide to navigating through the maternity journey

Going on Maternity leave is an exciting time and sometimes a new experience for all. The below illustrates a timeline to show what you, as an employer, should be doing and when. Also, what to expect from your expectant mother.

In most cases, this will help you manage your responsibilities. But sometimes you may encounter issues, for example, managing pregnancy-related sickness, requests for shared parental leave, individuals not meeting eligibility for pay mother and would like some advice on how to manage this. We are on hand to provide advice, templates, checklists and practical help at any stage of the journey.

Examples of the templates available:

  • Maternity Policy
  • New or Expectant Mothers Risk Assessment
  • Letter to confirm Maternity Leave and Pay
  • Example ‘Welcome Back’ checklist

Key considerations

  • KIT; Keeping In Touch days
  • If you need/want to change your return work date 8 weeks notice is required
  • Managing communication and relevant updates
  • If you decide not to return, you must give notice in line with your employment contract
  • Plan to return to work
  • Flexible working request

Process summary:

  1. Inform company at least 15 weeks before due date
  2. Complete new or expectant mothers risk assessment*
  3. Complete MAT B1 form (usually given by your midwife around 20 weeks pregnant)
  4. Arrange a conversation to understand when employee would like to start their maternity leave, how long they would like to take and discuss how holiday will be managed*
  5. Consider and decide what your maternity leave looks like, specifically when you would like to begin your leave
  6. Confirm maternity leave and pay, in writing*
  7. Wupdate New or Expectant Mothers Risk Assessment as pregnancy progresses, if necessary*

Welcome back plan

A good starting place is to consider how you induct new employees to the company and whether it would be useful to use any of these materials to help reintegrate your new mother back to work.

  • Setting realistic expectations/goals
  • Inform what’s changed in the business since they went on leave
  • Any new processes, practices or systems and people


The maximum Maternity leave is 52 weeks

  • The first 26 weeks is called Ordinary Maternity leave
  • Weeks 27 to 52 are called Additional Maternity leave

The employee MUST take two weeks off immediately after giving birth (or the first four weeks if working in a factory environment).

To qualify for Maternity leave, the employee must be a “worker” and have given the correct notice.

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, the employee must earn at least £120 a week, have met criteria for Maternity leave, given proof of pregnancy (MAT B1 form) and have worked for the employer continuously for the qualifying period.

How can Haines Watts help?

We advise clients with a broad range of employer services throughout the South West.

If you would like to have a conversation to see if our partners can advise you about getting organised ahead of time or with regards to a paticular situation, please get in touch with your usual Haines Watts contact.