How to deal with the situation where an employee becomes pregnant again while on maternity leave

  • Be aware that an employee may become pregnant again while she is on maternity leave.
  • Take into account that an employee who becomes pregnant while she is on maternity leave will be entitled to a second period of maternity leave.
  • Bear in mind that, while the employee will be entitled to a further period of maternity leave, she may not be entitled to statutory maternity pay. This will depend on whether or not her average earnings in the eight weeks prior to the end of the 15th week before her expected week of childbirth are at least equal to the lower earnings limit for national insurance purposes.
  • Check any contractual maternity pay scheme carefully, as the employee may qualify for contractual maternity pay during a period when she does not qualify for statutory maternity pay.
  • Calculate if it will be necessary for the employee to return to work between her two periods of maternity leave.
  • Appreciate that the employee may decide to give eight weeks’ notice to return early from her initial period of maternity leave, and then start her second period of maternity leave as late as possible, so may be back at work for several months.
  • Equally, bear in mind that the employee could apply to take a period of parental leave and/or annual leave after her first period of maternity leave, to avoid having to return to work before the start of her second period of maternity leave.
  • Clarify the employee’s intentions regarding her maternity leave as soon as possible to enable you to organise staffing around her plans.

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