Employment Law

Employment Law

Maternity & Paternity Rights at Work

New parents have clearly defined maternity and paternity rights at work to help them balance their personal and professional responsibilities. When these are not respected, it can have a serious impact on their wellbeing and ability to do their job; if this has happened to you, it is important to seek legal advice from the experts at Clough & Willis. 

The employment law team at Clough & Willis are highly experienced in all aspects of parental employment rights, and are here to provide you with legal advice and guidance to ensure these rights are consistently upheld. 

If you have been treated unfairly by an employer due to your parental responsibilities, we can help you take the necessary action, which may potentially involve launching an employment tribunal. 

We understand how upsetting it can be for new parents to feel mistreated or discriminated against at work, which is why we will aim to provide compassionate, pragmatic advice to help you achieve the best possible outcome for both your life and career. 

If you are looking to launch a legal claim over your maternity or paternity rights at work, call Clough & Willis on 0800 083 0815 for a free, no-obligation chat, or fill out our online enquiry form and we will get back to you at a time that suits you.

How we can help

At Clough & Willis, our solicitors are experts on all aspects of employment law, and have years of experience advising working parents involved in legal disputes with their employers. No matter what the circumstances of your case, we can advise you on the best path forward. 

We will provide support on the following matters: 

  • Advising you clearly on the most up-to-date legal protections that apply to your role, including maternity leave rights, arrangements around your return to work, and pay issues during parental leave
  • Providing legal support in case you need to make an informal complaint to your employer or going through internal grievance processes
  • Helping you negotiate a mutually agreeable out-of-court settlement or severance package with an employer
  • When necessary, issuing legal proceedings and taking your case to an employment tribunal, as well as handling any subsequent appeal processes 

If you believe your parental rights have been breached and wish to make a claim against your employer, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. This will help you put together a strong case, without missing any key deadlines. 

With offices based in Bolton and Bury, we have worked with a wide range of clients across the North West and beyond, and are here to help you whenever we are needed.

What are my maternity and paternity rights at work?

If you are a new parent or expecting a baby, you will gain access to a number of additional rights to help protect you from discrimination or unfair treatment. For mothers, these can include: 

  • The right to take up to a year of maternity leave, no matter how long you have worked for your current employer
  • Entitlement to maternity pay, calculated either at the statutory rate or according to the terms of your contract
  • Access to adoption leave and pay if you are a working parent matched with a child for adoption, or if you have had a child placed with you for adoption
  • Health and safety protections and allowances for working while pregnant, and for breastfeeding at work
  • The right to take up to 18 weeks of additional unpaid leave from work to care for children under the age of 18
  • Paid time off to attend essential antenatal appointments 

For fathers or individuals with pregnant partners, the following rights are available: 

  • The right to take one or two weeks of paternity leave when having a baby with your partner, or when adopting a new child
  • Entitlement to statutory paternity pay, calculated at the same rate as statutory maternity pay
  • The option to take shared parental leave and pay with your partner, sharing up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks' pay between you
  • The right to take up to 18 weeks of additional unpaid leave from work to care for children under the age of 18
  • Unpaid time off to attend one or two antenatal appointments with your partner

What can I do if my parental rights at work are violated by my employer?

If you feel your legally-protected maternity or paternity rights are being ignored by your employer, you may have a case to argue that you have been unlawfully discriminated against. When this happens, you should take the following steps: 

  • Check whether the treatment you have received is specifically protected against by current employment laws
  • Gather evidence to support your complaint
  • Make an informal complaint to your employer, giving them an opportunity to resolve the matter internally
  • If this does not succeed, lodge a formal complaint through the company’s grievance procedures
  • If the issue remains unresolved, pursue legal action at an employment tribunal. To do this, you will first need to speak to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to see if a solution can be found through its Early Conciliation process; if not, you may need to proceed to a court hearing 

To find out more about these processes, please consult our discrimination at work and pay dispute pages.

Need help right away?
Contact Clough & Willis

If you are looking for employment law advice or representation, speak to the solicitors at Clough & Willis today. With offices in Bury and Bolton, we can help you through the entire process, providing support and guidance at every stage

Contact us today to speak to an employment law solicitor by calling 0800 083 0815, or fill out an online enquiry form and we will get back to you at a convenient time.


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