How much maternity pay will I get?

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The amount of maternity pay you are due will depend on a number of factors.

Maternity pay (or maternity leave) is paid leave mothers are entitled to under law (Statutory Maternity Leave or SML), and separately under their contract of employment.

Am I entitled to Maternity Pay?

If you’re an employee and were employed by your current employer before you got pregnant, you will be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay.

How much is Statutory Maternity Pay?

That means you’ll get 90% of your normal weekly pay for the first 6 weeks’ maternity leave, followed by Statutory Maternity Pay for another 36 weeks.  SMP changes each April

How much will my employer pay for Maternity Pay?

Your contract of employment may also provide for maternity pay from your employer (on top of any Statutory Maternity Pay you are entitled to).  This is discretionary and depends entirely on your contract of employment.

Do you get full pay on maternity leave?

Only if your employer offers this.  The statutory provision is 6 weeks at 90% of your normal weekly pay, then Statutory Maternity Pay for another 36 weeks, making a total of 39 weeks (of the 52 week maternity leave) that is paid.

How do I survive on Statutory Maternity Pay?

The last thing you want to worry about when you’re pregnant is how much money will be coming in while you’re on maternity leave.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is set in law.

When does Maternity Pay start?

You can choose when to start maternity leave, from 11 weeks before your baby is due.  You have to tell your employer when you want to start maternity leave. If you want to take time off for the last few weeks of pregnancy, you could use annual leave to take paid time off up to a point closer to your due date, and then start maternity leave. If your baby arrives earlier than expected and you’re still on annual leave, maternity leave will start automatically on the date of birth.

How much Maternity Leave can I take?

The assumption is that you’ll take the full 52 week maternity leave entitlement, though you can return earlier by giving 8 weeks’ notice to your employer.  You can “return” by going on to paid annual leave to use up some, or all, of your accrued holiday before actually going back to work – holiday continues to accrue during maternity leave. In this way, you can stay off work, but be paid at your normal rate of pay during your paid annual leave period.

Beware, though, that once your maternity leave has ended, whether you’ve returned to work or gone on to annual leave, you’re no longer protected in relation to maternity discrimination.

How do people afford Maternity Leave?

You might be entitled to government benefits during maternity leave.  For instance, you can claim Universal Credit if you are employed, unemployed or during your maternity leave. If you aren’t entitled to Statutory Maternity Leave, you may be entitled to Maternity Allowance.  For more information see here.

Do you have to pay back Maternity Pay if you don’t go back to work?

You don’t have to repay Statutory Maternity Pay.

However, if your employer pays enhanced maternity pay on top of Statutory Maternity Pay, their policy may require you to repay the enhanced pay if you don’t return to your job, or if you don’t stay for a particular period after returning.  This should all be set out clearly in your employer’s maternity policy, or drawn to your attention before maternity leave, so that you’re clear on the potential consequences of not returning.

Need more help with Maternity pay?

If you need more help with the subjects covered here then do reach out to our expert pregnancy and maternity solicitors.  You can speak to our employment solicitors online via email or call us on 03300 020 863.

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