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Navigating the complexities of maternity leave can be daunting, especially when it comes to understanding your rights around bank holidays. If you’re wondering how bank holidays accrue during your maternity leave, this guide will help clarify your entitlements and ensure you receive what you’re due.

Understanding Maternity Leave and Bank Holidays

Maternity leave in the UK entitles mothers to 52 weeks of leave, which is divided into:

  1. Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML): The first 26 weeks.
  2. Additional Maternity Leave (AML): The subsequent 26 weeks.

During this period, you continue to accrue annual leave, including bank holidays. This means you should not lose out on any holiday entitlement because you are on maternity leave.

How Bank Holidays Accrue

Annual Leave Entitlement: Under UK law, you are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave per year. For most full-time workers, this equals 28 days, which can include bank holidays.

Bank Holidays on Maternity Leave: If your employer includes bank holidays as part of your annual leave entitlement, you continue to accrue these holidays while on maternity leave. This means if you miss bank holidays because you’re on leave, you are entitled to take these days at another time, either added to the end of your maternity leave or taken separately.

Practical Steps to Ensure Your Entitlements

  1. Review Your Contract: Check your employment contract or company policy on annual leave and bank holidays. This will help you understand how your employer structures holiday entitlement.
  2. Communicate with HR: Inform your HR department or manager about your intention to take accrued bank holidays. Ensure that they are aware you will be accruing these days during your maternity leave.
  3. Plan Ahead: Decide when you would like to take these accrued holidays. Whether it’s immediately after your maternity leave or spread throughout the year, having a plan will make discussions with your employer smoother.

Common Questions

Q: What if I don’t use all my accrued holidays before the end of the leave year?

A: Your employer might allow you to carry over any unused accrued leave to the next leave year. Ensure this is clearly documented and agreed upon with your HR department.

Q: How should accrued bank holidays be taken?

A: This can vary depending on your employer’s policies. Some may allow you to take all accrued days consecutively, while others may prefer you spread them out.

Q: Can my employer refuse to allow me to accrue bank holidays during maternity leave?

A: No, they cannot. Accruing annual leave, including bank holidays, is your legal right during maternity leave.

For more insights and support on returning to work after maternity leave, join our community to connect with other returners and access valuable resources.