Have you just discovered you are pregnant?
….if so congratulations! All the very best for a health pregnancy. If this is your first child then it’s likely you may be a bit confused over your entitlements to maternity leave and pay and no wonder, it is not the simplest thing to work out!
If you understand all the nuances then you can skip straight to downloading the HR Solver app now and put your key dates in our maternity calculator, namely your ‘due date’ and the date you would like to start your maternity leave on. It will compute the following for you;
- The latest date you must be working for your current employer to qualify for maternity pay
- The deadline for telling your employer you are pregnant
- The day your statutory maternity pay will expire
- The earliest date your maternity leave can start
- The last day of your ordinary maternity leave
- The last day of additional maternity leave
However, if you are looking for a greater understanding then keep reading, we also have a FAQ’s section in our app which answers the below questions if you need to remind yourself of these points later. Also the HR Solver app is regularly updated with maternity entitlements on pay and leave.
How long is maternity leave and am I entitled to maternity leave?
Every pregnant women is entitled to maternity leave irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.
Maternity leave is broken down into two periods;
- Ordinary maternity leave of 26 weeks
- Additional maternity leave of a further 26 weeks making in total a full year of leave.
Did you have 39 weeks of maternity leave in your head? Yip you wouldn’t be the first. Many people get confused here because statutory maternity pay is paid only for 39 weeks. The remainder of your additional maternity leave would have to be unpaid, UNLESS, and check your contract of employment your employer enhances maternity pay.
What am I entitled to be paid on maternity leave?
As above, you are entitled to be paid for 39 weeks of maternity. The statutory entitlement is 6 weeks at 90% of your normal pay then followed by 33 weeks at £145.18 per week or 90% of earnings (whichever is less).
However, unlike maternity leave, where everyone is entitled to leave as stated above there is qualifying criteria for maternity pay (this is all built into our app maternity calculator). To qualify for maternity pay, you need to earn more than £113 a week and also have worked for your employer for 26 weeks by the end of your ‘Qualifying Week’ this being 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. If you started working for your present employer later than the date the maternity calculator shows your employer will not be required to pay you statutory maternity pay, however, you may still qualify for Maternity Allowance which you can apply for through the job centre.
When should I tell my employer I am pregnant?
This is a highly personal choice, however, legally you must provide your employer with a MATB1 form that your midwife will give you at 26 weeks of pregnancy. The latest you can tell your employer is three months before your due date. Some women prefer not to tell their employers straight away while others choose to do so almost immediately. Our recommendation would be to tell your employer sooner rather than later as your employer does have an enhanced duty of care to you as a pregnant woman and should do a pregnancy risk assessment fairly early on, especially if you are in a physical or more risky job or workplace.
When does my maternity leave actually start?
You can largely choose when your maternity leave starts, however, please note the earliest it can start is 11 weeks before your due date, unless you give birth before this and then it automatically starts. If you are having a difficult pregnancy then you can ask for doctor’s certificates to cover absence related to pregnancy up until this point. Often women have a lot of holidays to take, because you keep your full benefits when you are on maternity leave and holidays continue to accrue, so you might choose to take them before your maternity leave officially starts or depending when you are due, use them to extend maternity leave towards the end of the leave period.
We hope that we have given you some clarity on maternity leave and pay, however, if you have any more questions on this or shared parental pay and leave or paternity rights, download the HR Solver app and check out the free resources available. There are three calculators, loads of FAQ’s, an ‘Entitlements’ section and even a Glossary. It’s very easy to use and search to find what you need. You can even chat with real HR advisors from the app if you are still finding you have further questions. All the best.