What rights do I have for maternity pay and leave?

Maternity Pay

Contractual Maternity Pay

Some employers have a contractual maternity pay scheme which will be specified in either your contract of employment or the company policy which should be made available to you. Some companies require that you must pay back some of your maternity pay if you do not return to the company. However, this will only be the case if they pay you higher than the statutory maternity pay as that is non refundable.

Statutory Maternity Pay

Qualification Criteria

In order to be provided with statutory maternity pay you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must have been employed by the same employer without a break for at least 26 weeks into the 15th week before the week that the baby is due
  • You must be earning an average of at least £87 a week. Please note this is before tax. 

For how long will I receive maternity pay?

Pregnant employees you fulfil the above conditions are entitled to receive a total of 39 weeks maternity pay from their employer.

How much do you receive?

For the first six weeks of maternity leave the Statutory Maternity Pay is set at 90% of their average weekly earnings. For the following 33 weeks the Statutory Maternity Pay will be calculated at either 90% of their average weekly wage as previously or will be a set amount of £123.06 a week depending on which amount is the lower.

The rate of statutory maternity pay is subject to an annual yearly review by the Department of Work and Pensions each April.

The above figures are correct as of April 2009.

What happens if I don’t fulfil the above criteria?

If you do not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay then you may be able to claim for Maternity allowance.

Maternity Allowance

In order to claim for Maternity Allowance you must meet the following conditions:

  • That you worked for at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the week that your baby was due
  • That you earned an average of £30 over any 13 of those 66 weeks

Maternity allowance applies to both employed and self employed people and is the only option for those who are self employed.

How much will I receive?

The standard rate of Maternity Allowance is £123.06 or 90% of your average weekly earnings dependant on which is less. You will not be liable to pay income tax or any National Insurance contributions. 

The rate of maternity allowance is subject to an annual yearly review by the Department of Work and Pensions each April.

Maternity Leave

What rights do I have in relation to maternity leave?

    All pregnant employees shall be entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave.

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For more information on:

  • When will my leave begin?
  • How much notice am I required to give?
  • To what do I need to notify my employer?
  • Return to Work
  • Can I return when I want?
  • Can I return to the same job?