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Welcoming a new member into your family is an exciting time, but it can also bring a myriad of questions and concerns, especially regarding maternity leave. Knowing what you’re entitled to and how to get it is crucial for expectant mothers in the UK. This article aims to demystify the process of maternity leave, helping you understand your rights, entitlements, and how to plan your leave effectively. Whether you’re marking your calendar or simply curious, let’s explore the essentials of maternity leave, including calculating important dates such as “what was the date 9 weeks ago” and how it relates to your maternity leave planning.

Understanding Maternity Leave in the UK

Maternity leave in the UK is designed to give expectant mothers the time to rest, recover, and bond with their newborn without the worry of losing their job or income. But, navigating the entitlements and requirements can sometimes feel overwhelming. Here’s a breakdown to help simplify things.

What You’re Entitled To

In the UK, eligible employees can take up to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave. The first 26 weeks are known as Ordinary Maternity Leave, while the last 26 weeks are referred to as Additional Maternity Leave. Financially, you may be entitled to receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) for up to 39 weeks, provided you meet certain employment and earnings criteria.

Calculating Your Start Date

One common question is determining the right time to start maternity leave. Knowing key dates, like “what was the date 9 weeks ago,” can be crucial for planning. This calculation often relates to the earliest you can start your leave, which is 11 weeks before your expected week of childbirth. Understanding how to calculate dates backward is essential for timely planning and ensuring you maximize your leave.

How do I calculate my maternity leave start date?

Planning Your Maternity Leave

Step 1: Notify Your Employer

You must inform your employer about your pregnancy, your expected week of childbirth, and when you intend to start your maternity leave by the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth. This is also a good time to discuss any plans for keeping in touch days or a phased return to work after your leave.

Step 2: Understand Your Maternity Pay

To qualify for SMP, you need to have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the ‘qualifying week’ – the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. You also need to earn at least £120 a week (before tax) in an 8-week ‘relevant period’. If you’re not eligible for SMP, you may qualify for Maternity Allowance from the government.

Step 3: Calculate Important Dates

Understanding how to calculate dates, such as “what was the date 9 weeks ago,” plays a pivotal role in planning your maternity leave. These calculations help determine your eligibility period for SMP and ensure you’re applying within the correct timeframes. Online date calculators or speaking with HR can simplify this process.

How do I calculate my qualifying week for SMP?
Employment: what was the date 9 weeks ago

Your Rights During Maternity Leave

During your maternity leave, your employment rights are protected. This includes your right to return to work, pay rises, accruing holiday, and pension benefits. If you face any issues, such as discrimination or redundancy, because you’re on maternity leave, it’s crucial to seek legal advice promptly.

Have you experienced discrimination or redundancy during your maternity leave? Chat with us now for legal advice

How Contend Can Help

At Contend, we understand that navigating maternity leave entitlements can be complex. Our AI legal experts are here to guide you through your rights and help you understand your entitlements. Chat with our AI legal assistant for clear answers to your legal questions about maternity leave, all in 5 minutes or less. With Contend, you get the help you can trust, built by lawyers and legal experts.

What are my specific maternity leave rights at my workplace?


Understanding and planning for maternity leave is essential for expectant mothers in the UK. By knowing your entitlements, calculating important dates, and ensuring you’re prepared, you can make the most of this special time with your new arrival. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Contend’s AI legal experts are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need. Chat now with our legal expert and take the first step towards a stress-free maternity leave.

What are my specific maternity leave entitlements in the UK?

Take Action with Contend

Ready to understand more about your maternity leave rights and entitlements? Chat now with Contend’s legal expert to get personalized, trustworthy advice tailored to your unique situation. Let us help you navigate your maternity leave with confidence.

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This material is for general information only and does not constitute
tax, legal or any other form of advice. You should not rely on any
information contained herein to make (or refrain from making) any
decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your
own particular situation. Contend Inc is not regulated by the
Solicitor’s Regulation Authority.