Will I be entitled to claim maternity pay?

Gemma Newstead
Gemma Newstead

Question:My partner and I are expecting a baby in June but I changed jobs in the last four months and been told I might not be entitled to maternity pay

Answer: The simple answer is that it depends on what your employment contract says. Your employer may have different requirements and pay scales for maternity pay and leave.
However, with regard to maternity leave, the statutory leave is 52 weeks, which is split between “ordinary maternity leave” of 26 weeks and “additional maternity leave” of 26 weeks.

You do not have to take all of this leave, however you have to take at last two weeks (four weeks if you work in a factory). You are entitled to 39 weeks Statutory Maternity Pay as long as you have worked for your employer continuously for 26 weeks before your 25th week of pregnancy and have earned on average £118 per week.

If you do not meet the criteria above, you should be entitled to Maternity Allowance. Both maternity pay and Maternity Allowance are paid at the same rate. The first six weeks are paid at 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings.

This is calculated as the average gross earnings over the eight weeks before your 25th week of pregnancy. The next 33 weeks are paid at £148.68 per week or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. If you decide to take the full 52 weeks of maternity leave, the final 13 weeks are unpaid leave.

If your partner would like to share the leave, you can claim “Shared Parental Leave and Pay” instead of maternity leave. You are able to share 37 weeks of paid leave (50 weeks of actual leave) in the first year after your baby is born. You can choose to be off work together or to stagger the leave and pay.

The pay amounts and eligibility criteria are very similar to maternity pay. If you would like any further information regarding this, please contact one of our offices.
Ashdown Hurrey has been providing accountancy, audit, tax and financial advice to individuals, businesses and charities since the early 1980s.

We aim to provide all the services expected from a city practice for our full range of clients, both national and international, while retaining a focus on personal relationships with the benefit of lower overheads of a provincial practice. Whether you are a sole trader or a larger business, please contact either our Hastings or Bexhill office for a free consultation.

Email Gemma Newstead: gemman@ashdownhurrey.co.uk or call the office on 01424 720222