Maternity pay/ maternity allowance advice needed!

(14 Posts)
nisi297 Tue 19-Apr-16 16:15:06

My manager seems to think I'm not entitled to SMP as I am on a zero hour contract, is this right?

And if I'm not entitled to SMP how does Maternity Allowance work?

I'm so worried that when I leave work in a few weeks I'm going to have no money..

Has anyone else been through this?

flowery Tue 19-Apr-16 18:06:24

Are you an employee or a casual/ad hoc worker-type?

sleepisforthetired Tue 19-Apr-16 18:10:03

You have a contract? If so, you are an employee.

Have you the service to be entitled to SMP?

Depending on your pay during the qualifying period, this will dictate SMP ££

Have you looked at the .gov maternity pay calculator?

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 19-Apr-16 18:12:45

Your zero hour contract doesn't matter it's what you actually got paid in your qualifying weeks. If you don't qualify for SMP then you may qualify for Maternity Allowance which is very similar but doesn't have the six week enhancement and is technically classed as a benefit.

Your employer has to give you a specific form if you do not qualify for SMP outlining why. You then use this to claim MA.

In the event you don't qualify for MA I understand you can apply for Employment and support allowance.

I'll post a link for you to check your qualifying levels in a mo but as a rule of thumb if you were employed before you became pregnant and earn enough each week to pay NI contributions you're probably fine for SMP.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 19-Apr-16 18:14:04

Oh and you must be an employee or a worker but if you have a zero hours employment contract that's pretty much a given.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 19-Apr-16 18:16:03

Link to SMP eligibility here and MA is at the bottom: www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave/eligibility

flowery Tue 19-Apr-16 18:31:11

Workers don't get SMP which is why I asked the question.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 19-Apr-16 18:33:58

Workers don't get maternity leave but they may still qualify for SMP. See here: worksmart.org.uk/work-rights/family-friendly-work/maternity-leave/my-employer-says-i’m-not-eligible-maternity-pay-i’m

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 19-Apr-16 18:36:17

More detailed info here: www.gov.uk/guidance/statutory-maternity-pay-how-different-employment-types-affect-what-you-pay

flowery Tue 19-Apr-16 19:21:24

I'm quite comfortable relying on the government's technical guidance on maternity benefits, here, which is quite clear about the employment requirement.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 19-Apr-16 19:36:29

I had a quick look at your link and it appears to confirm what I said Flowery although I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong. We're only human after all smile

The link states it's only the self employed who are definitely not entitled to SMP. It doesn't appear to overtly cite the woman's employment status beyond the woman must have an employer and cannot be self-employed. So that would mean a worker can be eligible so long as they meet the service and earning requirements.

flowery Tue 19-Apr-16 22:19:22

This is interesting. The technical guidance definitely says SMP is for employees, and mentions continuous employment, and employer, several times. You are right it doesn't specifically say that casual workers are excluded.

Then in the link you previously posted, the one about how different employment types affect it, there is a section on "Casual and short contract employees" which the guidance defines as follows: "A casual employee is usually someone who works for an employer, as and when they are required on a series of short contracts of employment with that person"

True casual workers, with worker status rather than employment status, with no mutuality of obligation and a genuine casual agreement, aren't employees and don't work on short 'contracts of employment'.

But that doesn't exactly answer the question does it? So I don't know! I don't think it's correct to say it literally makes no difference, I think if a genuinely casual worker might be entitled to SMP it certainly won't be as clear cut as an employee who meets the 26 weeks continuous employment plus earnings requirement.

I would still be interested to know whether the OP is a genuinely casual worker or whether she is an employee who happens to have zero hours in her contract, and either way, her employer is not correct to say that zero hours= no SMP, clearly it's not that simple at all, whether it's zero hours employment or a casual ad hoc, work a few-hours-every-couple-of-months type arrangement.

MummyBex1985 Tue 19-Apr-16 22:31:52

My understanding is that the law requires you to be an "employee" to qualify for SMP. However, "employee" has a wider scope than the typical and I would imagine could cover zero hours workers (as it covers agency workers). If you are a typical taxpayer and NI payer through payroll then you're likely to be covered.

You don't qualify for maternity leave, though, just pay (arguably). But they may still need to provide you with 39 weeks pay, assuming that you qualify.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 19-Apr-16 23:06:01

There is a bit further down on the second link I posted about seasonal workers too but some of the statements aren't backed up with evidence of examples.

I used to use the technical info provided by the DWP for this sort of thing but I couldn't find it when I had a quick look earlier.

I might have a Google because I'm curious now!

Sorry for the tangent op blush

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