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Holiday Pay and Maternity

A common misconception in the workplace is that employees on maternity leave don't accrue any holidays however this, is not the case.

One of the most commonly asked questions in payroll is 'Will my employee still be entitled to their holidays even when they're on maternity?' or 'Do I still owe my employee any holidays since they've already had time off on maternity leave?' the answer is yes. Even if the employee is off for her full entitlement of 52 weeks maternity leave, she will still accrue holidays in that time. By law, if an employee has been on maternity and hasn't been able to take her holidays, you must allow for them to be carried forward to the next year.

When an employee is on maternity leave, they can't take both statutory maternity pay and holiday pay at the same time. It must be either or. An agreement should be made between both the employer and employee on when the employee will take their holidays. This should be in place before she starts her maternity leave to avoid any confusion during the maternity or at a later date. There are a few options on how the holidays could be taken. For example, it could be spread out in the months before and after the maternity so it doesn't result in it being taken in longer periods at a time. Alternatively, the employee could leave more days for the end of the maternity leave so that she can spend more time with the baby.

If there is no agreement in place, it means that the employee may not have taken all of her holidays for that year with the knowledge that she will have a set date to leave for maternity, that's when she becomes entitled to carry this forward to the next holiday year.

The key thing to remember is that, even if someone is on maternity leave, they are still entitled to their holidays.

If you have any employees going onto maternity leave and need any assistance, please contact us on 0191 250 2110 or email us at

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