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Taking time off work: For new and expecting parents

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Pregnancy leave

Only a birth mother can take pregnancy leave. Pregnancy leave is sometimes called maternity leave. It can be taken during pregnancy, after the birth of the baby, or a combination of both.

If you started working for your employer at least 13 weeks before your due date, the law says that your employer must let you take a pregnancy leave.

How long can my pregnancy leave be?

Your employer must let you take at least 17 weeks of pregnancy leave. But if your pregnancy ends in a miscarriage or stillbirth, your leave can continue at least 12 weeks after the miscarriage or stillbirth. This could make your leave longer than 17 weeks.

When can I start my pregnancy leave?

You can choose when to take your pregnancy leave, but there are some limits.

Earliest you can start: Usually, the earliest you can start your pregnancy leave is 17 weeks before your baby is due. But if your baby is born earlier than that, you must start your leave on the date of the birth.

Latest you can start: You must start your pregnancy leave no later than your due date. If your baby is born before your due date, you must start your leave on the date of the birth.