Statutory maternity pay is the best way to ensure you receive full pay during pregnancy. This is usually calculated based on how long you worked up till the day you gave birth. If you are self employed, it’s important to check whether you are covered by SMP or not. You might also want to consider contractual maternity pay, which is often offered by employers. There are some differences between the two forms of maternity pay.
For example, statutory maternity pay is always paid regardless of how much work you do during your pregnancy. However, contractual maternity pay is usually only paid if you meet certain criteria. For instance, if you work less than 30 hours per week, you won’t be eligible for contractual maternity pay.
You might also be able to claim maternity allowance if you don’t qualify under either of these options.
When mandatory maternity pay is payable
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid to all workers meeting specific criteria. This is the normal type you’ll receive. However, it doesn’t apply to everyone. You might not qualify because you’re self-employed, or work part-time, or are employed by a small firm. Or maybe you’ve been working abroad for some time. Whatever the reason, there are ways to claim SMP. Contact your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau for help.
If you’re self-employed
The government says it wants to make sure people are better off during pregnancy and while raising children. But what does that mean for those who work for themselves? Here’s everything you need to know about maternity benefits.
You’ll get £27 per week (£1.75 per hour) if you haven’t worked since becoming pregnant. This payment covers up to 52 weeks of maternity benefit – meaning you could get up to £156.66 per fortnight.
Your employer must contribute towards your maternity allowance too. They do this by paying you Class 2 National Insurance Contributions. This money goes into a special pot called the Maternity Benefit Fund.
Class 2 NI contributions cover the first 13 weeks of maternity leave. After that, you’re entitled to statutory maternity pay. Statutory maternity pay is a weekly payment of 80% of your average earnings.
Statutory maternity pay lasts for 26 weeks. However, you can claim additional payments for longer periods. For example, you could be eligible for 38 weeks’ worth of statutory maternity pay if you give birth to twins.
If you’re an agency worker
The government says it wants to make sure women working in agencies are treated fairly, but some workers say there’s no way around the fact that many employers aren’t paying out.
If you work for an agency, you might not know about the changes. But if you do, you’ll find out soon enough. From April 2019, agencies will have to start offering employees statutory maternity pay.
The government says it is trying to ensure that women working in agencies are properly protected under employment law.
But some workers say they feel like they’ve been left behind.
If you’re an agency employee, you can still get paid statutory paternity pay.
Contact your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau if your employer isn’t offering it.
And if you don’t get paid maternity pay, you could try claiming back any money lost through lower earnings.
If you have multiple employers,
Statutory maternity pay applies to most employees who are pregnant or who give birth within three months of starting work. This includes those employed by public sector bodies, local authorities, housing associations, charities, religious organisations and companies employing fewer than 250 people. However, it does not apply to self-employed workers or people working part-time. If you have more than one job, you must claim statutory maternity pay from each employer separately.
You must claim maternity allowance from each employer who employs you. You cannot split your claim across multiple employers. For example, if you start work on Monday and finish on Friday, you must claim maternity allowance from both your employer on Monday and Tuesday, and your employer on Wednesday and Thursday.
The amount of statutory maternity pay depends on how many weeks you worked before becoming pregnant and whether you had been paid for those weeks. Your employer must calculate your entitlement based on the number of weeks you worked up until the day you became pregnant, rather than the number of days you actually worked.
For example, if you worked 40 hours per week for six weeks before becoming pregnant, you could receive £1,250 per month for 52 weeks. Alternatively, if you worked 30 hours per week for four weeks before becoming pregnant, then you could receive £750 per month for 24 weeks.
If you become pregnant again while receiving statutory maternity pay, you will not receive an additional payment.
The government says it wants to make sure that women are supported throughout their pregnancies and beyond. But what does that mean for those who already have children? And what about those who aren’t expecting another baby?
Statutory maternity pay is paid for up to 52 weeks – usually around six months – following childbirth. This includes 37 weeks’ worth of salary plus an additional 15 weeks’ worth of income support.
You should contact your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau if you want to find out how much you’ll receive, and whether you’re eligible. They can give advice on whether you qualify for statutory maternity pay and help you apply.
If you don’t qualify for the benefit, you won’t be entitled to reclaim any money you spend on childcare.
When contractual maternity pay is payable
Maternity benefits are often offered by companies, but it’s important to know what those benefits are and how much they cost.
Contractual maternity pay refers to paid maternity leave. This type of benefit is usually part of employment contracts, but some companies provide it voluntarily. If you work for one of these companies, ask whether your contract includes contractual maternity pay. You might also want to check your company’s maternity policy. These documents outline the types of maternity leave offered and the amount of time you’ll receive. They’re sometimes called “maternity plans” or “policies.”
Ask your employer about contractual maternity
If your employer offers contractual maternity pay, you should ask about it. Your employer could be offering this benefit because it wants to attract talented employees. Or it could be trying to avoid paying out large sums of money in case of pregnancy complications. In either case, it’s good practice to understand the terms of the benefit.
Ask your employer about the costs
Your employer may charge you a monthly fee for the benefit.
You may also be charged extra fees if you take longer than the allotted period of time off. For example, if you take six months off, you may be required to pay for another three months of coverage.
When you can receive Maternity Benefits
Maternity Allowance is available for women who are self-employed or who work for themselves. You don’t have to be earning £140 per week to receive it. However, if you do earn over that amount, you’ll pay less tax.
If you’re pregnant while working, you might be able to claim maternity allowance. This money is paid directly into your bank account each month.
You must have been employed for at least 12 months prior to becoming eligible for maternity allowance.
The government says there are no restrictions on how long you can continue claiming maternity allowance once you’ve had a baby.
If you are unable to obtain maternity pay,
Maternity pay is one of those things that sounds like it should be easy to get, but isn’t. If you work full-time, you might think you qualify for statutory maternity pay (SMP). But there are some conditions that could mean you won’t get SMP. You might even find yourself out of pocket because your employer doesn’t offer contractual maternity pay (CMP), or pays less than what you’re entitled to under law.
To make matters worse, there are different types of maternity pay. There’s statutory maternity pay (SGP), which is paid at least 52 weeks later; contractual maternity pay (CGP); and maternity allowance (MA), which is paid directly to you by the government.
So how do you know whether you’ll end up getting anything at all? And how much will you actually get? We take a look at the basics.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I qualified for Maternity Benefits?
If you’re thinking about applying for maternity allowance, there are some things you need to know about how it works.
The government introduced maternity pay for women working up to nine months into pregnancy in April 2016. But it wasn’t actually made mandatory until August 2017.
This means that if you apply for maternity pay now, you won’t receive it until January 2018 – just before your baby arrives.
So if you want to take advantage of the extra money while you still can, make sure you start looking for work soon.
You must have earned at least £30 every week during your ‘test period’, which starts six weeks before your expected due date and ends three months afterwards.
Your test period doesn’t need to be continuous either; it can begin and end anywhere within those 66 weeks.
But you do need to show evidence of earning at least £30 every single week during this time.
How is Statutory Maternity Pay calculated?
To work out entitlement to Statuary Maternity Pay (Smp) you need to check whether you qualify under one of the following criteria:
1. You must have been employed by the same employer continuously for at least 26 weeks during the relevant period;
2. You must have had at least 8 weeks continuous employment in the relevant period;
3. You must have worked at least 20 hours per week throughout the relevant period;
4. You must have earned at least £140 per week during the relevant period; or
5. You must have earned less than £110 per week during the relevant periods and have returned to work within 28 days of giving birth.
If you are eligible for SMP, it is paid at the statutory rate of 66% of your average weekly earnings over the 26 weeks immediately preceding the qualifying week. This includes both maternity pay and additional payments for working while pregnant.