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What is Additional Maternity Leave (AML)?

The second 26 weeks of maternity leave are Additional Maternity Leave (AML). You are entitled to this leave regardless of how long you have worked for your employer.

AML starts on the day after the Ordinary Maternity Leave period finishes.

Your right to return after a period of AML is slightly different. If it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to offer you the same job when you return from AML they must offer you appropriate similar employment.

Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance are payable, for those who qualify, for the first 39 weeks of maternity leave, so the first 13 weeks of AML may be paid. The remainder, if you take it, will be unpaid leave.

During AML you are entitled to all of the contractual rights that you would have received if you had not been on leave, although there is some uncertainty about how pensions should be treated. Current Government advice is that if you qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay your employer should maintain their contributions to your pension scheme throughout Ordinary Maternity Leave and throughout a period of paid Additional Maternity Leave, but contributions do not have to be maintained for any period of unpaid maternity leave.

This means if you are paid for 39 weeks of maternity leave, and you take your full 52 week entitlement to leave, the employer contributions may not have to be made for the final 13 weeks. However, this is a complicated area, so you should seek the advice of your union representative.

Your employer must not discriminate against you while you are on any part of your maternity leave. If you feel that you have been discriminated against while on maternity leave, you may have protection under the law. Seek advice from your union or a legal specialist.