Maternity rights allow a new mother a minimum of 26 weeks maternity leave on either maternity allowance or statutory maternity pay together with a further minimum of 26 weeks unpaid leave. These rights exist regardless of how long the employee has been with their employer or how many hours a week they work or how much they are paid. In addition, these rights cannot be reduced but can be extended by specific contractual agreements between the employee and their employer. Maternity rights also entitle the employee to return to work after the period of maternity leave is over and their period of continuous employment is not broken by maternity leave. Any dismissal of the employee because they are pregnant is automatically unfair. Further, any other form of discrimination against the employee such as giving them unsuitable work or treating time off for pregnancy as a disciplinary issue is also unlawful.