All doctors - whether full or less-than-full-time - are entitled to parental leave from their employer. 


A summary is available at:


Full details can be found at:


The basics:


  • All employees have the right to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave

  • Most trainees will be eligible for both Occupation Maternity Pay (OMP) and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

  • You are eligible for OMP if you’ve a) worked for the NHS continuously for more than 12 months by the eleventh week before your ‘expected week of childbirth’ (EWC), and b) you intend to return to NHS work for at least 3 months after your maternity leave ends

  • You are eligible for SMP if you have 26 weeks continuous service with the one (current) employer by the beginning of the fifteenth week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC)

  • If you are eligible for both, you will be paid as follows:

  • You need to notify your employer in writing before the end of the 15th week before the EWC

  • You need to specify the date you wish your maternity leave to begin – this can usually be any date from the beginning of the 11th week before the baby is born (ie your EDD)

  • While on maternity leave, you are entitled to up to 10 ‘Keeping in Touch’ (KIT) days. These are intended to facilitate a smooth return to work for women returning from maternity leave

  • Further details about KIT days and ideas for how best to use them can be found here

  • For clarity, NHS Employers guidance about KIT days is reproduced below:

Keeping in touch during the maternity leave period.

15.11 To facilitate the process of keeping in touch, it is important that the employer and employee have early discussion to plan and make arrangements for “keeping in touch days” (KIT days) before the employee’s maternity leave takes place.

15.12 To enable employees to take up the opportunity to work KIT days, employers should consider the scope for reimbursement of reasonable childcare costs or the provision of childcare facilities.

15.13 KIT days are intended to facilitate a smooth return to work for women returning from maternity leave.

15.14 An employee may work for up to a maximum of ten KIT days without bringing her maternity leave to an end. Any days of work will not extend the maternity leave period.

15.15 An employee may not work during the two weeks of compulsory maternity leave immediately after the birth of her baby.

15.16 The work can be consecutive or not and can include training or other activities which enable the employee to keep in touch with the workplace.

15.17 Any such work must be by agreement and neither the employer nor the employee can insist upon it.

15.18 The employee will be paid at their basic daily rate for the hours worked, less appropriate maternity leave payment for KIT days worked.

15.19 Working for part of any day will count as one KIT day.

15.20 Any employee who is breastfeeding must be risk assessed and facilities provided in accordance with paragraph 15.34.



NHS guidance around paternity leave is summarised here:

  • All NHS employees are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave, which must be taken within 8 weeks of your baby’s birth

  • You are eligible for two weeks’ occupational ‘ordinary maternity support’ (paternity) pay as long as you have 12 months’ continuous service with one or more NHS employer at the beginning of the week in which the baby is due.


Shared parental leave / additional paternity leave:

  • Employees may also be entitled to take up to twenty six weeks of additional maternity support (paternity) leave if their partner has returned to work

  • This is also known as Shared Parental Leave, and can be taken between 20 weeks and one year after the child is born or placed for adoption

More guidance about eligibility can be found at:

Further links for your information:


The pregnant anaesthetist  


This is a GAT Page article which aims to clarify some of the main issues facing pregnant anaesthetists and provide guidance on your rights and responsibilities towards your employer. 


General Maternity Guidance for rotational Junior Doctors in Training, June 2013

8 weeks

18 weeks

13 weeks

Remaining 13 weeks

Full pay less any SMP / SMA receivable

Half pay plus the flat rate of SMP (or average weekly earnings, whichever is lower) providing the total does not exceed full pay

Flat rate SMP (or 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings, whichever is the lower

Unpaid leave