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Maternity benefits
Maternity Leave
All employees are entitled to 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave whether or not they qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance. In addition, employees who have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks at the beginning of the 14th week before their baby is due are entitled to additional leave. Additional maternity leave starts immediately after ordinary maternity leave and lasts for 26 weeks. Additional maternity leave is unpaid.
There are two principal kinds of maternity benefit available to women under the social security scheme; you cannot get both at the same time:
Statutory Maternity Pay from your employer
AND
Maternity Allowance from the Department
for Work and Pensions (DWP)
Statutory Maternity Pay
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is a weekly payment that you may be able to get from your employer. The amount of SMP you get depends on how much you earn. Employers pay SMP to those women who have been with them throughout their pregnancy. Qualifying women are entitled to SMP whether or not they intend to return to work for that employer. SMP can be paid for a maximum of 26 weeks from the beginning of the 11th week before the week in which your baby is due, but only if you stop work before then. Your employer cannot pay you SMP for any week in which you do work for him or her.
If you are pregnant and you think you are eligible for SMP from your employer, you must tell your employer that you intend to stop work to have the baby. You must also provide your employer with evidence of when your baby is due. You should give at least 28 days' notice of the date you intend to stop work to have your baby. Your employer may need your notice in writing. If it is not possible to give 28 days' notice, you must tell your employer as soon as you can. If your employer considers it was reasonably practicable for you to have given notice earlier than you did, they can refuse to pay you SMP. If your baby is born prematurely, before you had given notice to your employer, you may still be able to get SMP.
Maternity Allowance
You can claim MA when you reach the 14th week before the week in which your baby is due (the 27th week of pregnancy). Ask for an MA claim pack at your Jobcentre Plus or Social Security Office or your maternity clinic or child health clinic. If you claim more than 3 months after the date your Maternity Allowance Period (MAP) is due to start, you will lose money. The earliest MA can be paid is the start of the 11th week before the week the baby is due. But there may be some flexibility as to exactly when the payments start, depending on when you stop work to have the baby. If your baby is born later than the week in which it was due, your MAP will not change if it has already started. If you continue to work beyond the date your baby is due and you give birth, your MAP will start the day following the birth. If your baby is born prematurely after your MAP has started, nothing will change. The MAP will remain based on the date the baby was due. If your baby is born before your MAP was due to start, your MAP will start from the day following the day on which your baby was born.
If your baby is stillborn earlier than the 25th week of your pregnancy you will not be able to get MA. But you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay from your employer or Incapacity Benefit from your Jobcentre Plus or Social Security Office. If your baby is stillborn after the start of the 25th week of your pregnancy, you are entitled to the same MA you would have been given if your baby had been born alive.
This information is intended only as a guide only.
All employees are
entitled to 26 weeks
ordinary maternity leave
Tell your employer
that you are pregnant
as soon as you can
The earliest MA can
be paid is the start of
the 11th week before the
week the baby is due
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