|Type of Maternity Leave||Length of Service needed as an EMPLOYEE
|Ordinary Leave||No minimum needed||26 weeks|
|Additional Leave||No minimum needed||Additional 26 weeks (52 in total). There must be no gap between the two entitlements.|
|Type of Maternity Pay||Length of Service needed as a WORKER/FREELANCER or as an EMPLOYEE
|Maternity Allowance (MA)
Other Maternity Allowance
|No minimum needed although you must have worked, either as an employee, worker or self-employed/sole-trader freelancer, for 26 weeks out of the 66 weeks (for any employer) before your baby is due, to be eligible.
Regulations came into effect on 1st April 2014 that allows women who work in an unpaid capacity in the business of a self-employed spouse/civil partner, and who give birth on or after 27th July 2014, to receive a weekly allowance.
The allowance is £27 per week payable for up to 14 weeks.
|Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)||You need 26 weeks continuous service with your Employer, as an Employee or Worker, by the 15th week before your baby is due.This also applies to those who have their own Personal Service/Limited Company – where they are eligible as ’employees’ of their own Limited Company.||
In January 2015 the Government published an ‘online calculator’ so you can work out what maternity, paternity or shared parental pay you may be entitled to – which you can see here.
Employers can reclaim at least 92% of Maternity Pay, Adoption Pay, Paternity Pay and Shared Parental Pay back – see details here.
Maternity Allowance may be available if you are a worker or self-employed, or are an employee with less than 26 weeks service. If you do not qualify for either you may be able to get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead via your local Job Centre.
You need to earn a minimum of £112 per week to be eligible for Maternity Allowance or SMP (from 6th April 2015; this increases to £113 in April 2017). If you do not earn this amount you will still be entitled to unpaid Maternity Leave (if you meet the qualifying conditions).
The minimum period of maternity leave you have to take following the birth is 2 weeks. From 3rd April 2011, if you do not take your full allowance of 39 weeks Maternity Pay, the father of your child/your spouse/your partner may be eligible to take the remaining entitlement that you have not used if they meet the conditions to be eligible for the new Additional Paternity Leave – see the details about this new entitlement here. Additional Paternity Leave will be abolished when the new Shared Parental Leave system comes into force on 1st April 2015.
There are no age restrictions to receiving MA or SMP.
If you are an Employer and need ongoing professional help with any staff/freelance issues then talk to Lesley at The HR Kiosk – a Human Resources Consultancy for small businesses – our fees are low to reflect the pressures on small businesses and you can hire us for as much time as you need.