Everything You Need To Know About Maternity Pay In The UK

Maternity Pay

Motherhood is the most important phase in the life of every woman. It does not just change the person herself but it also impacts the work surrounding, especially for a working person. Government and many organizations are sensitive to this change and have placed policies to provide working women with some benefits like maternity pay benefit. During maternity pay, a working woman gets paid while she has taken time off from her work (Essentially, they can be absent from work but still get pay benefits). The working women are allowed a maternity pay benefit for 39 (thirty-nine) weeks.

Mainly there are two types of maternity pay benefits

  • Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP)
  • Maternity Allowance (MA)
  • Optionally, some employers may also offer
  • Additional maternity pay benefit known as ‘Contractual Maternity Pay’

Below is the deep dive into Maternity pay benefits: 

Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP): 

The working women who are categorised as ‘Employees’, are eligible for Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP). 

Below are the details about Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP):

  • Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP) is payable up to 39 (thirty-nine) weeks.
  • For the first 6 weeks you will get 90% of average weekly earnings (Salary before tax)
  • For the next 33 weeks you will get 90% of average weekly earnings or £151.97 whichever is lower.
  • The start date of your maternity pay and the date from which your maternity leave starts has to be the same.

Below is the list of criteria that needs to be satisfied to be eligible for this benefit.

  • Minimum salary: You should receive an average salary of £120 per week.
  • Continuous job: It is required that you have worked for the same employer for a minimum of 26 weeks in continuation and rolling over to the qualifying week. The qualifying week marks the 15th week before the pregnancy due week.   
  • Prior notification: You may be required to give a notice of at least 28 days to the employer. It should be understood that the notice need not be a written letter but in case of your employer demands the formal notice, you have to provide the notice in writing and have to attach the proof of pregnancy along with it. 
  • Proof of pregnancy: The proof of pregnancy can be procured from the Doctor or the Midwife which is generally an undersigned letter. The letter from a Doctor or Midwife becomes the basics of the proof of pregnancy is mandatory and without which you will not qualify to get the benefit of Statutory Maternity Pay(SMP).

If your employer is satisfied with the notice and submitted proof, he/she must confirm you with the below details within 28 days from the date of received notice.

  • Start date of your Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP)
  • End date of your Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP)
  • Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP) amount that you will receive 

As a pregnant woman, you are entitled to avail of Maternity leave 15 weeks before the pregnancy due date provided you have given the appropriate prior notice to your employer.

You are eligible to receive the Statutory Maternity Pay benefit even in the following cases:

  • If your child is born before the due date.
  • If after the 24thweek of pregnancy the baby is stillborn 
  • Unfortunately, If ababy dies after the birth

You are not eligible to receive the Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP) in the following cases:

  • Having achild through surrogacy 
  • If you happen to go intopolice custody during your maternity pay 

The employer may reject the Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP)request but the employer is required to give valid reasons for denying the SMPbenefit within 7 days after deciding in the form SMP1.

The working women who are not eligible to get statutory Maternity Payment (SMP) may be eligible for Maternity Allowance (MA).

MaternityAllowance (MA):

Those who are not eligible for Statutory Maternity Payment (SMP) can get the maternity allowance. Maternity allowance can get up to 39(thirty-nine) weeks in the following cases:

  • If self-employed, you can get a maternityallowance.
  • If you were working and recently stopped working you canget the maternity allowance.

The eligibility to get Maternity Allowance:

Below are the mandatory pre-requisites to be eligible to get maternity allowance.

  • Up till 66 (sixty-six) weeks ofthe pregnancy:
  • You must have beenworking (self-employed or employed) for a minimum of 26 weeks
  • You must be earning a minimum of £30 per week for at least 13 weeks and would not necessarily have to be in continuity.
  • Have you had recently given up working or have done jobs at different employers or had any unemployment periods will have no adverse effect on your eligibility provided you satisfy the above two points. 
  • Ifself-employed, you will receive Maternity Allowance in full provided you have paidClass 2 National Insurance for a minimum of 13 weeks of the 66 (sixty-six) weeks before thepregnancy due date. If you do not fulfill these criteria, The Department forWork and Pensions (DWP) will inform you the same when you claim MaternityAllowance(MA).
  • In case of unpaid required Class 2 National Insurance, you will receive £27 per week for 39 (thirty-nine)weeks instead of £151.97 per week. But, please do remember to fulfill othereligibility criteria to receive this benefit amount.
  • If you want toreceive the full benefit amount, you can check with HMRC and pay the NationalInsurance payment early.

Below are the mandatory pre-requisites to be eligible to get maternity allowance for 14 weeks.

  •  You must be marriedor in a registered civil partnership for 26 weeks during the pregnancy periodof 26 weeks.
  • You don’t have to beworking or employed or could also be self-employed to avail of the allowance.
  • You are eligible while playing a supporting role in the business run by your civil partner or spouse but not paid for the supporting job.
  • Allowance is alsooffered if your partner is self-employed and has registered with HMRC andpaying National Insurance of Class 2.

It should be noted that you are eligible for the 14 weeks allowance only in a situation where you are not already a beneficiary of statutory Maternity Payment (SMP) or not have availed of the maximum amount of Maternity Allowance (MA) for the same pregnancy.

A woman is also eligible for Maternity Allowance in case 

  • Of stillbirth i.e., baby is born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy
  • Of premature childbirth or baby is born alive during any time of pregnancy

The process to claim MaternityAllowance

  • Once you have beenpregnant for 26 weeks, you can claim for Maternity Allowance. You will startgetting Maternity Allowance 11 weeks before the baby’s due date. To claim theMaternity Allowance you need to fill and submit the Maternity Allowance claimform(MA1).
  • Along with theMaternity Allowance Claim form you need to submit the following documents:
    • Proof of your Income
    • Letter from thedoctor or midwife or MATB1 certificate as proof of baby’s due date.
    • If applyingfor 14 weeks Maternity Allowance benefit then you need to submit additionalinformation about your husband/civil partner’s self-employed business.

Once you submit the Maternity Allowance (MA) claim form with the required documents you will get the decision about your claim within 20 working days. If entitled to the claim, you need to fill the form to confirm your last day of employment before the start of your leave.

ContractualMaternity Pay:

Contractual maternity pay is offered by some employers over and above legal minimum maternity pay. Employers include this additional maternity pay benefit in the employment contract. Employers offer this enhanced maternity pay to attract and retain talented employees. It is also called as“Enhanced Maternity Pay”.

Our subject matter experts in the Maternity pay benefit area at CoreAdviz are second to none. In case of any queries regarding the Maternity pay benefit please don’t hesitate to call and discuss with our team at CoreAdviz.