In order to qualify for statutory maternity pay, you need to meet certain eligibility requirements. First of all, at the time of writing (December 2014) you must earn on average more than £111 per week, give the correct notice to your employer (at least 15 weeks before your due date), and give proof that you’re pregnant if asked by your employer (showing them your MAT B1 certificate will suffice).
As well as the eligibility criteria above, you must also have been employed by a company for longer than 26 weeks before your qualifying week (which is 15 weeks before your baby’s due date) in order to receive statutory maternity pay, which at the time of writing equates to 90% of your normal average pay for 6 weeks followed by either £138.18 or 90% of your normal average pay (whichever is lower) for a further 33 weeks.
Income tax and National Insurance payments are applied to statutory maternity pay in the normal way.
One other thing, if for any reason you’re taken into police custody during your maternity pay period then your maternity pay will be stopped and it won’t resume.
If you don’t qualify for statutory maternity pay, then you may qualify instead for maternity allowance. There are different types of maternity allowance (for example, maternity allowance may last for up to either 14 weeks or 39 weeks) and eligibility criteria can seem complex. There’s more information on the Gov UK website about maternity allowance eligibility.
Again there are different levels of payment, depending on which eligibility criteria you meet, but a maternity allowance of up to £138.18 per week could be paid to you beginning 11 weeks before your baby is due.
If you receive maternity allowance then this might affect any council tax reductions, housing benefit, income support, JobSeekers Allowance or carer’s allowance payments that you currently receive.
If you need legal advice about any aspect of maternity pay or maternity allowance then please get in touch with QualitySolicitors on 08082747557. We offer Free Initial Assessment, which is a free five-minute chat so we can listen to you and let you know how we can help.