I am currently 15+ weeks pregnant with my 2nd, due 10th July. Does this mean I am in the 15th or 16th week? I work for the NHS and have only just found out that maternity pay is calculated from weeks 17-25. I get paid on 26th of every month. I have childcare vouchers taken from my salary but have been informed that my maternity pay will be based on my salary after the vouchers have come out and as this means I'll be out of pocket by several hundreds of pounds I am thinking of cancelling them. I have to give a months notice to cancel which will take me until 18th February but payroll will base it on my pay at the end of feb which will take me to 20+6 weeks pregnant. My questions are: 1) As my pay is monthly will my maternity pay be based on 2 months salary around weeks 17-25? If it is monthly which months will it be? I have a feeling it will be January and February but I'm hoping it will be February and march as I will have cancelled the vouchers by then. 2) I am thinking of doing overtime during feb and march In a hope to increase my maternity pay as it is likely to be reduced due to the vouchers. Does anyone know whether a couple of months of increased salary with overtime will be included in calculating my maternity pay if it is done during the qualifying period even if I haven't done any for the past few years? Thanks in advance
you get maternity pay when on maternity leave not during pregnancy. check whether you can take a voucher holiday rather than cancelling. I'm not clear why you think you'll be out of pocket. what is your maternity pay policy eg. I work for a univ which pays 18 weeks at full pay inc statutory mat pay (SMP), then i get only SMP (but they continue to pay my vouchers). you still acrrue holiday whilst on mat leave which consists of your annual leave allocation PLUS any bank holidays. to give you longer at home with your baby you can take the accrued holiday just before you return to work meaning, for example, you could officially return to work a month before you actually go back taking it as leave with full pay. I think as you have misunderstood when you actually get maternity pay you should speak to your line manager and HR in person.
It is based on what you earn during the relevant weeks and so yes if you work extra hours or if you happened to get a bonus during those weeks you do get a higher level of maternity pay for the 90 percent period.
Some very high earners in the city time their pregnancies (or try to!) so that their bonus falls at the right time to give them a big windfall in their maternity pay.
When I was pregnant I got something like 8 wks at full pay then 26 at half pay. My mat pay was based on the averge of two specific months salary, but i can't remember which two! I stopped my childcare vouchers for those two months to make my salary as high as possible and I also luckily got a large bonus in one of the month's salary. As a result, my mat pay was virtually double my normal pay so I ended up with 8 wks double pay and 26wks normal, so your overtime plan sounds like a good idea.
I think you should speak to someone in your HR dept to confirm which months salary will be used to calculate your mat pay.
Good idea if yo can stop the vouchers for specific months but don't come out of the scheme as when you go back in it is much less. They give you the child are vouchers for the whole year ( if you take it) even though mat pay stops after 9 months.
Hi ladies, thanks for your advice and comments. I have spent quite a bit of time looking into this as cant decide what to do and my HR haven't been the most helpful.
Angelic, redandwhitesprinkles, and buddynora - I have double checked and maternity pay is based on any salary which is subject to national insurance contributions. As the childcare vouchers are taken out of salary before tax and NI the maternity pay is based on salary after vouchers are taken out. This is why I will essentially be out of pocket. I understand that maternity pay is paid when on maternity leave but the calculations on what to pay you are based on your average salary at around weeks 17-25. My maternity pay is full pay for 8 weeks, half pay + SMP for 18 weeks and SMP alone for 13 weeks. The last 13 weeks are no pay. I do accrue A/L but not bank holidays and have thought about returning earlier but using A/L like you mentioned Angelic but I am not able to carry over A/L into next financial year so unfortunatley this is not possible.
Virgil - thanks for your advice. I thought overtime would be included in maternity pay calculations if done during the 8 week qualifying period (approx wks 17-25), I just wondered whether they could get out of including it if they know you don't normally do overtime or would that be 'illegal'? I have also read that even if you do overtime in the qualifying period it is when it shows up in your wages that matters. At my place if I did o/T in January it wouldn't show up until my feb pay so it seems like I need to time my overtime with the month it will be paid! Anyone else know if this is the case?
Piffpaffpoff - your maternity pay sounds quite a lot like mine. I will speak to my HR department again about which months they will use to calculate my Maternity pay but they don't seem very forthcoming with answers as they pass me onto payroll who say I shouldn't be passed to them...! When you restarted the vouchers did the NHS pay for the vouchers during the months you were on no pay (if you had that long off)? Also did you completely cancel to vouchers then restart after qualifying period or did you ask them to freeze the vouchers for a few months?
Redandwhitesprinkles - you say the vouchers are free, have you had vouchers whilst on mat leave? Did you definitely not have them taken out of your salary? Did your company give you vouchers as a benefit or did you have to 'salary sacrifice' which basically means you exchange some of your wages for vouchers as some companies give their employees childcare vouchers on top of their salary which maybe why you think they are free?
Ceveebee - thanks so much for the link. It explained lots of things. The only things I'm now not clear on is whether the NHS will pay for the vouchers during the last 6 mths on maternity leave where I will be in the SMP and no pay period as the link you posted says when you are on SMP your company has to give you the full amount of SMP and is not allowed to use it to do a salary sacrifice. This is different to what my HR says as they said they will only pay the last 3 mths when in the no pay period. If the NHS pay for the last 6 mths and I pay the first 6 months of vouchers I may as well stay in the scheme. Anyone know the answer to this?
In case anyone else comes across this post and was wanting a bit of extra info I have checked when the qualifying period is. This is the 15th week before baby is due. The week the baby is due starts on a Sunday so in my case the week baby is due starts 7th July and so the 15th week before this is sun 24th to sat 30th march. If you get paid monthly then your maternity pay is calculated on the last pay day up to and including the qualifying week. So as I get paid on 26th I think my march pay will be included. The other month included will be the month before this so I guess it will be based on the average of feb and march salary. Now all I need to sort is whether the vouchers will be cancelled by my feb salary if I cancel them now.
I was able to stop my vouchers temporarily for two months and then restart them again, but I was not NHS. Watch out for the amount of notice you need to give for the change, in my case the last day for making changes to my vouchers was much, much earlier than the monthly deadline for payroll changes.
Oh, and I didn't get the vouchers 'back' in any shape or form, but you have to bear in mind your pay is £243 (or whatever) mins tax and NI, so you take the hit on that for two months to get the extra mat pay IYSWIM?
And re the overtime, it is only down to what pay is in the two qualifying salaries not when you did the OT, so yes you would have to time it quite carefully!
While being paid more than SMP you will have the vouchers taken out of your occupational maternity pay; once you are on SMP your employer pays for them. This is one of the reasons smaller employers struggle to offer them, as they are out of pocket. Overtime paid during the qualifying weeks will count towards your mat pay; and it's the pay AFTER the vouchers are issued which mat pay calculations are based upon
Okay the easiest way for me to explain this is to tell you how it worked for me - working shifts as a midwife.
My qualifying weeks were 17-25, as I imagine yours will be - this seems to be the ones used most in the NHS. For me this fell across 3 pay periods. It was last May/June/July. Payroll explained after I nagged the hell out of them that they took the month that I was 17 weeks in, and the month after. So it ended up being May and Junes pay (I was 17 weeks 26/5) HOWEVER it was not what overtime or unsocial hours I did in this time, it was what I earned. So the unsocial hours that I did in April and May were the ones that counted - the same if I had done overtime. I was rather peed off, as it took me a long time to find this out - and was far too late for me to change anything in terms of maximising my maternity pay. What makes it even more annoying is the fact that I was just 8 weeks pregnant at the point my unsocial hours etc were the ones to be used to affect my maternity pay!!
And our requests have to be done 8 weeks in advance! So before I was even pregnant. Unimpressed... yes! Un Luckily for me I was actually off sick end of March/April until the start of May with hyperemesis so received occupational sick pay, which was calculated from Dec/Jan/Feb pay. So thus my maternity pay was actually calculated on my sick pay (due to the unsocial enhancements), which was from the above pay period! Crazy stuff!!!
I don't know about the vouchers - but the above is how the pay is likely to be calculated. Just take the month you are 17 weeks in, and the month after.
Hi all, thanks again for your advice. Today I managed to speak to head of payroll who was very good and said if I come out the voucher scheme for 2 mths and restart after the nhs will pay for my vouchers during my SMP and no pay periods so essentially weeks 26-52 of mat leave. I have managed to cancel the vouchers from my feb pay but not jan. I was told they will base my mat pay on jan and feb although not 100% as the 'books' for julys due date is not ready yet so could be feb and march pay. so I will get half my may pay based on full pay on half a reduced rate with the vouchers taken out. I'm going to do a load of overtime in a hope that march will be used to base my pay. Anyway, payroll admitted tr nhs don't provide answers easily as they are well out of pocket if u join the scheme and cancel for the qualifying period so don't like u to know otherwise everyone would do it!