All new mothers are entitled to take up to 52 weeks’ leave. You need to be aware that every woman must take at least two weeks’ compulsory leave after the birth of a baby (or four weeks if they work in a factory).
The first 26 weeks of leave is known as ordinary maternity leave. The 26 weeks after this is known as additional maternity leave.
The earliest maternity leave can usually begin is 11 weeks before the expected due date. If the baby arrives early, maternity leave will automatically begin the following day. Maternity leave can also be triggered if an employee is off sick with a pregnancy related illness in the four weeks before the expected due date.
For the latest information on statutory maternity leave entitlement, take a look at the GOV UK website.