Q: I'm a newly qualified teacher and have just discovered that I'm pregnant - I can't believe it's happened now. How long do I have to have been teaching to receive full maternity benefits? Is this going to affect my career? Not having the baby is not an option for either my partner or me.
A: All pregnant workers, regardless of hours of work or length of time in employment, have a statutory right to 26 weeks maternity leave, referred to as ordinary maternity leave to distinguish it from additional maternity leave which is only available to employees who have completed 26 weeks service at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. Additional maternity leave is a period of up to 26 weeks immediately following ordinary maternity leave. You may not have enough service for anything other than ordinary maternity leave. There are important dates about when you need to give notice of your intentions to take leave. As to any effect upon your career, it is difficult to predict. Your induction period can be tailored to cope with a break in service. Many teachers do juggle family and work responsibilities.