Am I entitled to Maternity Allowance?

As of April 7th 2019, the rate of pay for maternity allowance has gone up to £148.68 per week, or 90% of your weekly wage before tax if it is less than £148.68. When receiving your Maternity Allowance it’s important to take note that other benefits may be affected including; council tax reductions, housing benefits, income support and universal credit. This is due to the benefit cap in place that limits how much individuals can receive from various benefits as a whole. This affects people from 16 years old to state pension age. If you’re unemployed you’ll also receive Maternity Allowance, however, due to the benefit cap this is limited to £27 a week for 14 weeks. 

Am I eligible for Maternity Allowance? 

To be eligible for the maternity allowance for 39 weeks then you must adhere to these following regulations:

  • You’re employed but cannot get statutory maternity pay
  • You’re self-employed and pay Class 2 National Insurance( including voluntary National Insurance)
  • Have recently stopped working.

Within the 66 weeks of the baby being due, you must also have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks and earning £30 a week or more in at least 13 weeks (does not have to be consecutive weeks).


When can I take Maternity Leave?

You can start your Maternity Leave as early as 11 weeks before you’re due to have the baby. This is totally dependant on the Mother’s decision, however, this should take things such as how physically demanding the job is as well as how long the commute is for the Mother. You can work all the way up to the due date if you so wish, as this could allow you to have the majority of the Maternity Leave after the child’s birth. Although it’s recommended to take some time to prepare for the arrival of the baby.

In order to take Maternity Leave and receive Maternity Pay, it’s important to notify your employer 28 days before taking your leave in order for your employer to prepare for your absence.  If the mother suffers from pregnancy-related illnesses or the baby is born prematurely then the mother will start her maternity leave with immediate effect.

Mother and Baby

How long can I take Maternity Leave for?

You can take Maternity Leave for a maximum of 52 weeks however this is split into standard leave, 26 weeks and additional leave, 26 weeks. This is the choice of the Mother as they may have to return to work 2 weeks after giving birth, 4 weeks if they work in a factory. Maternity payments last for 39 weeks so it’s recommended to stay on maternity leave until you are well-rested and feel comfortable returning back to work.

For the Father, their leave is a bit shorter. Paternity Leave can only last between 1- 2 weeks and must be taken within the first 56 days of the child being born. Paternity pay is the same amount as it is for mothers although it only lasts for two weeks. If you would like to split the leave between partners then you can share up to 50 weeks worth of leave as well as 37 weeks of pay. The amount of leave and pay to be divided is up to the parents.


How do I claim Maternity Allowance?

If you’re seeking to claim Maternity Allowance and Leave then you have to inform your employer. They’ll pay you directly into your bank account once every 2 weeks, the Government will reimburse the company after a period of time. If you’re unemployed and do not have an employer to pay for your Maternity Allowance then you will have to fill in a Maternity Allowance (MA1) claim form or get into contact with Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus. Alternatively, visit our Maternity Allowance contact page to find out all the information you need.