June 11th 2021

To: All Mandate Members – Tesco Ireland Limited
Maternity Leave
From: Tesco National Strategy Team

Dear Member,

As part of our commitment to keeping in touch more regularly, we have been updating you on you entitlements within Tesco, which have been hard campaigned for by you, the members through your Union, Mandate.

Today we cover the topic of Maternity Leave, please note the below is a guide.

Maternity Leave


All female Employees are entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave.
An employee who has taken maternity leave is also entitled to a further optional additional unpaid maternity leave of 16 weeks at the end of the period of maternity leave.

When a colleague returns from maternity leave they are entitled to return to their previous position with no less favourable terms and conditions. Click Here to see recent case which Mandate pursued and won on behalf of a Member who wasn’t allowed by the company return to her role after Maternity Leave.

Employees must start their maternity leave not later than 2 weeks before the expected birth date and the leave must not end earlier than 4 weeks after the birth.

Ante-natal Care

Employees are entitled to paid time off for antenatal care (including travelling time). This includes normal hospital visits concerning the health of the mother and child i.e. examinations and tests.

Ante- natal Classes

Employees can avail of one set of antenatal classes without loss of pay for expectant first time mothers. You must give notice of dates, times of classes in advance including location, distance from Store, travel time as soon as practicable but no later than 2 weeks before the date of the class.

Expectant fathers have a once off right to paid time off to attend two antenatal classes immediately prior to the birth, employees are required to notify your (Manager) of the intention to take this as soon as practicable but no later than two weeks before the date of the class.

Maternity- Health & Safety
Management in the Stores are obliged to conduct a one-to-one meeting with the new or expectant Mothers to go through the following;

  • Reduce the need for manual handling as far as practical, be aware of changing ability to lift and carry as the pregnancy progresses.
  • Follow the correct manual handling techniques you were trained to follow at induction.
  • Avoid situations where the abdomen is exposed to bumps or whole body vibration e.g. Fork lift trucks, confined areas where the abdomen keeps being bumped against objects, manual handling of large objects.
  • Take regular breaks and appropriate rest.
  • Discuss, with your Manager, amending hours/workload if necessary, as pregnancy progresses and on return to work, when required.
  • Avoid working in situations where excessive heat is encountered. Drink plenty of fluids.
  • If you are concerned that your work may be affecting your pregnancy, ask your Doctor or Midwife for their advice. Let your manager know the outcome of these discussions, and they may seek further advice from Occupational Health.

During Maternity Leave

During maternity leave the employees are entitled to accrue leave for any public holidays that occur (including additional maternity leave).

Time spent on maternity leave (including additional maternity leave) is treated as though the employee has been in continuous employment, and this time will be used to accrue annual leave entitlement.

After Maternity Leave

Employees are entitled to paid time off for postnatal care if required.

After Maternity leave an employee may wish to return to work in a different capacity e.g. part time or decide that they would prefer different working arrangements. You should discuss this with the Line Manager and request the preferred arrangement in writing.

In accordance with their Maternity Policy the company wherever possible should try to accommodate your request. If you have any issues you should consult your Mandate, Shop Steward.

Breastfeeding Mothers

Mothers who have given birth within previous 6 months are entitled to breastfeeding time off / breaks without loss of pay. Notification of intent to breastfeed must be given as soon as practicable or included as part of normal notification, but no less than 4 weeks before return date.

If an employee wishes to avail of this, in accordance with the company policy they should contact their Manager in order to discuss how to facilitate this request. These options may include one of the following:

1. Breastfeed in the workplace or express breast milk where facilities are provided or

2. Have their working hours reduced without loss of pay to facilitate breastfeeding where facilities are not made available, or

3. Take one hour with pay off work each day as a breastfeeding break. This time may be taken as one 60 minute break, two 30 minute breaks, or three 20 minute breaks, or alternatives by agreement (Note: this one hour break is pro-rated for individuals who work under full time hours).

Pay For Maternity Leave

Currently Tesco do not provide paid or indeed any top up in respect of maternity pay, your Union Mandate would be interested in hearing your view on that topic, please provide any feedback using the form below.

Useful Documents

Please see below a number of links to useful documents;

Tesco Maternity Policy
Tesco Maternity Leave Application Form
Tesco Maternity Health & Safety Policy

If you have any issues and need assistance with any of the above don’t hesitate to contact the Mandate Shop Steward in your Store or your local Union Office.

In next weeks update we will cover the topic of Fertility and Adoptive Leave.

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