Maternity Pay and Paternity Pay
Statutory Maternity Pay
When you wish to take time off to have a baby and are employed, you should get either Maternity Leave or/and Maternity Pay. Please tell your Employer at least 15 weeks before your baby is due.
While you are on Maternity Leave, your employment rights are protected. You will, therefore, receive your full holiday allowance for the holiday year while you are off and receive any pay rises during the period.
Statutory Maternity Leave lasts up to 52 weeks and consists of two types:
- OML – Ordinary Maternity Leave is the first 26 weeks
- AML – Additional Maternity Leave is the last 26 weeks
You can take as much/little time as you like but you must take the first two weeks after the birth (4 weeks if you work in a factory). The earliest you can begin your Maternity Leave is 11 weeks before the expected week the baby is due.
If your baby is born early your Maternity Leave will start straight away. If you are off sick with a pregnancy-related illness four weeks before the baby is due your Maternity Leave will also start. This is the same for Maternity Pay.
To receive Statutory Maternity Pay you must qualify for the following:
- Earnings of at least £118 per week
- Have received a form MATB1 from your GP/Midwife as proof of pregnancy
- You need to have been employed by your employer for at least 26 weeks before the 15th week before the baby is due. (the 15th week is known as the qualifying week)
Statutory Maternity Pay is paid to any eligible employee for up to 39 weeks:
- For the first six weeks of your Maternity Leave, you will receive 90% of your average weekly earnings (gross pay).
- For the remaining 33 weeks, you will receive (2019-20) £148.68 per week, or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. It will be paid whenever you receive your normal salary i.e. weekly or monthly and will have tax and national insurance deducted if applicable.
- If your baby is born early, or dies after being born, or is stillborn after the start of the 24th pregnancy week you can still receive Statutory Maternity Leave and Pay.
If you are unsure if you are entitled to Statutory Maternity Leave or Statutory Maternity Pay, HMRC has a calculator which may help. Please go to the link: – https://www.gov.uk/pay-leave-for-parents. Some companies have a Maternity Scheme where they offer more than the statutory amount of leave and pay.
Employees can work up to 10 days during their maternity/adoption/additional paternity leave. These days are known as KIT days (keeping in touch days). These are optional and should be agreed with the Employer. Your leave isn’t affected if you have KIT days.
If you want to return to work earlier than your original date agreed with your Employer, you must give the Employer at least eight weeks’ notice.
Statutory Paternity Pay
When your partner has a baby, or you are adopting a baby and are employed, you may get Paternity Pay and/or Paternity Leave. This is 1 or 2 weeks Paternity Leave, Paternity Pay and possibly Shared Parental Leave and Pay.
Same rules apply as for Statutory Maternity with regards to Employment Rights. You are entitled to time off for two antenatal appointments and if adopting, two adoption appointments after being matched with a child.
Your Paternity Leave should be taken in one go and cannot start until the baby is born. It must be taken within 56 days of the baby’s birth, but you do not need a precise date. It could be for example the birth date. A week is classed as your ‘usual’ working days.
The statutory rate of Paternity Pay is £148.68 (2019/20) or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is the lowest). This is paid with your ‘usual’ salary.
The same Eligibility rules apply to Paternity Leave as with Maternity Leave: –
- You must be an employee and have worked for at least 26 weeks before the ‘qualifying week’
- As with Maternity Pay, you must be employed up to the birth date, earn £118 per week (gross)
- You can still claim Paternity Leave/Pay if your baby is born early or is stillborn from 24 weeks of the pregnancy.
If you are unsure if you are entitled to Statutory Paternity Leave or Statutory Paternity Pay, HMRC has a calculator which may help. Please go to the link:- https://www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave/how-to-claim
Your Employer should ask you to complete the following form for Paternity Pay/Leave: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ordinary-statutory-paternity-pay-and-leave-becoming-a-birth-parent-sc3
The rules and forms are slightly different for adoption: https://www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave/adoption