Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Paternity Pay and Leave

New Dads (or the partners of new mothers) are entitled to 2 weeks Ordinary
Paternity Leave when the baby is born and may be entitled to Ordinary
Paternity Pay while they are away from work.

To qualify for Ordinary Paternity Leave, he must have been with his employer
for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due.

He must also be either the:
• Biological Father
• Mother's husband or partner (including same-sex relationships)

He needs to let his employer know he wants to take paternity leave by the
fifteenth week before the baby is due.
A Self Certificate (form SC3) to pass to his employer can be printed off from
the HMRC website:  

Ordinary Paternity Leave should either be taken as 1 week or 2 consecutive
weeks. It can not be split.

Paternity leave can not start until the baby is born and must be taken within
56 days of the baby being born.
Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay (OSPP)
If the father/partner qualifies for Ordinary Paternity Leave, and earns more
than £102 a week, he qualifies for Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay (OSPP)
This is paid at £128.73 per week or 90% of his average weekly earnings if
they are less than this.

Additional Paternity Leave & Pay
From April 2011, fathers/partners could also have the right to up to 26 weeks'
Additional Paternity Leave if the child's mother has returned to work before
the end of her Statutory Maternity Pay period. This is in addition to the 2
weeks Ordinary Paternity Leave they are entitled to.
He may also receive Additional Statutory Paternity Pay if the child's mother
has returned to work before the end of her maternity pay period.
Additional Paternity Leave can be taken from 20 weeks after the child is born.
It must finish before the child's first birthday.
Additional Statutory Paternity Pay is paid at the same weekly rate as the
OSPP and can be paid for a maximum of 19 weeks (to complete the Statutory
Maternity Pay period of 39 weeks for the mother).


Self Employed New Dads
Unfortunately, there is no paternity pay equivalent for self employed dads (which is rather unfair I think!!).

For more information visit:

A great website for dads-to-be and new dads is:


Monday, 13 June 2011

Help! I don’t qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

Perhaps you don’t qualify for SMP from your employer as you haven’t worked there long enough or you don’t earn enough. 
Perhaps you are unemployed or maybe you are your own boss and SMP doesn’t apply to you. 
Don’t worry – there is other help available!

Maternity Allowance

For Employees
Your employer should give you a form called SMP1.  This explains why they can not pay you SMP.  Call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 and ask for a MA1 claim form or download one from:  

This is a form to apply for Maternity Allowance.  You will need to send in the SMP1 form, MA1 form and proof of earnings in the form of original payslips.
You must have worked at least 26 weeks of the previous 66 week period before the week your baby is due.  In 13 of those weeks, you must have earned at least £30 per week.  When you are collecting your payslips, choose the 13 weeks where you earned the most. If you are paid monthly, send 4 months worth of payslips in with your highest earnings.
The standard weekly rate of Maternity Allowance is £128.73.  If your average weekly amount is less than this, you will receive 90% of that average amount.
Maternity Allowance is paid for 39 weeks.

For the recently unemployed
Mums to be who have recently become unemployed may also qualify for Maternity Allowance.  If you have worked for 26 weeks during the 66 weeks before your baby is due and have earned more than £30 in 13 of those weeks, you can apply as above.

For Self Employed Mums-to-be
Call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 and ask for a MA1 claim form or download one from:

HMRC will be asked if your Class 2 National Insurance Contributions are up to date.  If they are, you are entitled to the full weekly rate of Maternity Allowance of £128.73 for 39 weeks.
If you have a Small Earnings Certificate, your maternity allowance will be treated as if you earn £30 per week and so will receive only £27 per week (90%) for 39 weeks. 
Perhaps consider cancelling your Small Earnings Certificate as soon as you know you are pregnant and start to pay the full Class 2 NI Contributions (currently £2.50 per week).

For more information on Maternity Allowance, please refer to the claim form or

If you do not qualify for Maternity Allowance
You my qualify for 8 week’s worth of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead.  You need to be on a low income but also have paid some National Insurance over the past few years.
ESA replaced Incapacity Benefit.  Mothers are considered as having  “limited capability to work” due to pregnancy from 6 weeks before the baby is due until 2 weeks after.
You can fill in the MA1 form for Maternity Allowance as above.  Some of the question will not apply to you so leave them blank and in Part 9 “Other Information” state that you would like your claim to be considered for ESA.
The rates are £53.45 per week for mothers aged 24 or under and £67.50 per week for those aged 25 or over. 
For more information, visit:


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) 2011/2012

To help you take time off work with your baby, if you are an employee, you may be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) which is a payment from the government and is paid to you via your employer. 
(You may also be lucky enough to have this enhanced by an employer’s maternity scheme).

Do I qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)?
To qualify for SMP you must meet the following criteria:

Have been in your current employment continuously for at least 26 weeks proior to the 15th week before the week your baby is due (the qualifying week). In plain terms, you should have started the job before you fell pregnant and still be in the same employment at approximately week 26 of your pregnancy.
If you are made redundant or resign from your job after the qualifying week but before your maternity leave was due to start, your employer will still be obliged to pay your maternity pay if you are eligible.

You must be earning on average an amount which at least equals the lower earnings limit (LEL). The LEL for 2011/2012 is £102 per week or £442 per month.
This must be the case on the Saturday at the end of your qualfying week.

You must give your employer evidence that you are pregnant. This is the form MATB1 that you will receive from your midwife around week 21 of your pregnancy.

You must give your employer notice of your intention to take maternity leave in writing on or before the qualifying week (ie by week 26 of your pregnancy.)

For help working out your qualifying dates and weeks, check out my SMP calendar at:

or visit:

How is SMP calculated?
SMP is calculated over an average of 8 week’s (if you are paid weekly) or 2 month’s (if you are paid monthly) worth of gross earnings before the Saturday at the end of your qualifying week. 
The more eligible pay you receive during these periods, the more SMP you will receive for the first 6 weeks of your payments. 

The payments used must be eligible for national insurance deductions.
Examples of these are:
Salary or basic pay/hours
Bonus payments
Sick pay
Holiday pay

The qualifying payments are added together and multiplied by 6 to get an annual average. 
This is then divided by 52 to find an average weekly amount.

How much SMP will I get?
SMP is paid as follows:
6 weeks at 90% of the average weekly amount
followed by 33 weeks at the statutory amount
(for the 2011/2012 tax year this is £128.73 per week)

39 weeks at 90% of your average weekly amount if your average weekly amount is less than £128.73

Some companies offer additional occupational maternity pay, so please check your contract.

SMP is subject to tax and national insurance.

NB    If you are due a pay rise while you are on your maternity leave, your average weekly amount will need to be re-calculated to include it.

Keeping in Touch (K.I.T.) Days
You are allowed 10 K.I.T. Days during you maternity pay period (while you receive your SMP).  These are days when you can go into work to stay in touch with what’s going on or for training.  It could just be for half an hour or a full day.
You are not usually paid extra for these days, but you do not lose any of your SMP for that week.  (Some employers may offer additional payment on top of the week’s SMP so please check your contract.)
Don’t exceed the 10 days though as you will lose the whole week’s worth of SMP, and don’t do a K.I.T. day in the same week (seven day period) as you go back to work as you will also lose the SMP for that week.

I don’t qualify for SMP – what can I do?
If you do not qualify for SMP from your employer or you are self employed, you may be entitled to Maternity Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance which is paid to you directly by the government. 
For more information visit: and see next week’s blog post!

For further help and information, I recommend the following websites:

If you have a question, please do leave a comment or contact me via email if it is of a more personal nature.



Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Maternity Leave

If you are an employee, you qualify for 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave no matter how long you have worked for your employer, how many hours you work or how much you are paid. 
(However, not all employees qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay.)

At least 15 weeks before your baby is due, you must tell your employer (preferably in writing) that:
           You are pregnant
           When the baby is due
           When you want to start your maternity leave                                            
            (you can change the date later, if you give at least 28 days' notice.)

You should also pass on your MATB1 form that your midwife gives you around week 21 of your pregnancy.
Your employer should then write to you confirming your maternity leave dates and they may also give you an idea of your maternity pay if applicable.

You can start your maternity leave from 11 weeks before your baby is due (unless your baby is very premature in which case it will start the day after the birth).

If you are off work with a pregnancy related illness in the last 4 weeks before your baby is due, your employer can make you start your leave then.

The 52 weeks are divided into 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave. 
After your Ordinary Maternity Leave, you have the right to return to the same job.
After Additional Maternity Leave you have the right to return to the same job, or to another suitable job if that is not reasonably practicable.

While you are on maternity leave, you continue to accrue holiday as if you were at work.  If your employer allows, it’s a great idea to tag a week or two to the beginning and end of your maternity leave. 

A fantastic tool for working out maternity leave dates (and for getting an estimate of your SMP) can be found at:

If you have a question, please do leave a comment!