I hope to take the additional unpaid maternity leave (16 weeks?) as well as the fully paid 26 weeks.
I haven't told work I'm pregnant yet, will have to in the next few weeks unfortunately.
When do I tell them I want to take the additional unpaid leave? Do I have to tell them before I start maternity leave, or during maternity leave e.g. > 4 weeks before the additional leave starts?
You're obliged to give your employer a minimum of four weeks notice in writing if you intend to take the additional 16 weeks unpaid leave, but you can tell them whenever you wish before then. I'd decided from the outset that I would take the additional leave, so I just told them early on when I was going through my mat leave dates.
Remember that in order to be able to return to your job (if that's what you want to do) you also have to give them at least four weeks notice in writing of your intention to return to work .
I am on paid maternity leave at moment. Have not told employer officially yet that I am going on unpaid leave or not, will do so at end of September which is over 4 weeks notice.
I had decided at the beginning that I was going to take the leave and told him when I was telling him that I was pregnant. He really didn't believe me so I went back into him, 8 wks before my 6mth leave was finished and told him I wouldn't be back for another 16 wks.
Unfortunately that now ends for me on the 3rd Sept
I gave them my dates for leave a couple of weeks ago, which included both paid and unpaid leave. However, if I change my mind and decide to come back earlier (which I doubt!), I just have to let them know 4 weeks before I need to come back.