Notice for maternity leave

To take maternity leave you must give your employer notice in or before the 15th week before your baby is due. If your employer asks you to, you must put it in writing. You must tell your employer that you are pregnant, your Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC), and the date you wish to start your maternity leave.

Your employer should assume that you will take all the 52 weeks’ leave you are entitled to.  Your employer must write to you within 28 days of receipt of your notice, and state the date your maternity leave will end.

Most women give notice for Statutory Maternity Pay at the same time. There is a sample letter you can use. If you and/or your partner wish to take Shared Parental Leave (SPL) at any early stage of your baby’s life, it is worth considering whether to start the notice process for this before maternity leave.

If you change your mind and want to change the start date of your maternity leave, you must give your employer at least 28 days’ notice before the date you originally intended to start your leave, or 28 days’ notice before the new date, whichever is the earlier (in some cases, a shorter period of notice can be given if 28 days is not reasonably practicable).


This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details

If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.

Advice contact form


Have you heard about your right to request flexible working? Watch our film to find out more.

DonateReceive updates button