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Seriously stressing about Maternity Allowance

(27 Posts)
SourSweets Tue 26-Feb-13 18:34:29

Hi,

I'm so stressed out today and I really need some practical advice from someone more clued up than me.

I'm only contracted to 14 hours a week which is too low to qualify for SMP so I have to claim Maternity allowance from the government. I have a few questions/concerns about this.

Most weeks I work well above my contracted hours and end up earning enough to pay NI etc, so does this count towards my allowance, am I entitled to more/should I be entitled to SMP as I work pretty much full time, I am just not contracted to it?

Does anyone know of a hotline I can call? I can't find a number anywhere.

There are more hours available at my work which I have applied for. My manager told me she's more than happy to give me the hours but she won't contract me to them because I'll be going on maternity leave. I'm well aware that this is discriminatory and therefore illegal, so I sent her a letter of grievance. They're now saying it's not because I'm pregnant, but because they need to hire someone else anyway so they may aswell just hire someone who can do all the hours and keep my contract as it is. I know this isn't the reason but aside from taking them to an (expensive) employment tribunal there isn't a huge amount I can do about it. Is there?

I am worried that I won't be able to live on my £90 a week maternity allowance, I'd love to hear from people in the same position, to find out how you're coping, what other options there might be etc.

Sorry for the long post, I don't want to talk to my parents as they'll only worry and I don't want to stress my husband out about it because I was the one that convinced him we'd cope financially and now I'm not sure we will.

Thank you for reading.

FoofFighter Tue 26-Feb-13 22:25:37

I did a few hours extra last week but they are like gold dust sad fingers crossed we both get it sorted!

SignoraStronza Tue 26-Feb-13 22:13:42

You can choose which pay slips you want to send in that fall within the qualifying period. I was only supposed to do 10 hours a week but worked almost full time over the Christmas and New Year period. So obviously I sent those ones in. grin

Result was that my MA gave me much more of an income than the actual job did once it kicked in. I was v. pleasantly surprised.

rootypig Tue 26-Feb-13 22:06:33

Ah sorry foof, didn't mean to worry you.

SourSweets Tue 26-Feb-13 21:51:27

So I have researched all your links and THANK GOD it is based on how much you work during a 2 month period from 8 weeks before your qualifying week. Bloody complicated, but it does look like I'll get enough to see me through my maternity leave and make sure baby is not wanting. Thanks so much for all your advice, can't tell you how much it's helped me. Foof, good luck with your MA, you sound like you're in the same boat as me - you should work out your qualifying period from the DWP website and try to boost your hours just for those two months as that's what they will work it out from. THANK YOU MUMSNETTERS.

FoofFighter Tue 26-Feb-13 21:42:49

ahh thank you. i only work 14 hours a week and get gross pay of just under £90 a week (still being bloody taxed though as employer hasn't passed on my p45!!)

RugBugs Tue 26-Feb-13 21:36:22

foof if you earn more than £30 a week averaged over your chosen 13 weeks in the test period then you'll get £30 a week MA.
Anything over that you get 90% of your earnings up to the level of SMP.
This is my understanding of it (I used to do a bit of work for the dwp in a previous life).

minicreamegg Tue 26-Feb-13 21:30:08

no foof it's not based on NI, my mat allowance has just finished and I got £135 weekly, which is better than I would have got from my employers.

FoofFighter Tue 26-Feb-13 21:25:06

Is maternity allowance dependent on having paid NI contributions? I don't earn enough to pay them, will I not get it then? I can't actually find much said about that on the gov links [worry]

lexib Tue 26-Feb-13 20:07:58

Have you tried acas? It's an employee helpline of sorts, and I've known people call them in the past and they've said good things. Acas. Org. Uk
If i remember right it's confidential and they can advise on any employment issues (and in your, rather than your company's favour)
Good luck x

fairimum Tue 26-Feb-13 19:39:17

call the maternity allowance people and ask, they are really helpful - they base it on how much you have been paid and you send them your pay slips - something like the highest paid 12 weeks out of 66 or something, so when you send it off you just choose the pay slips where you have been paid the most. so nothing to do with your contracted hours but based on the weeks you have worked the most! so if youare working almost full time hours it sounds like you should receive the full £135 a week maternity allowance.

rootypig Tue 26-Feb-13 19:34:44

mat allowance you must work (ie pay National Insurance) 26 weeks out of a 66 week period before your baby is due, and earn at least £30 a week average. Any part week counts as one for the 26. Then they calculate how much you get by looking at your actual earnings during 12 weeks of those 66 - you can choose which 12, and they don't have to be consecutive.

am 99% that is right but this tool might be helpful?

https://www.gov.uk/maternity-benefits

GrottyPotPlant Tue 26-Feb-13 19:29:28

Citizens Advice Bureau is good for this kind of advice too, there should be one near you where you can make an appointment to go through what you can claim and how.
I'm self employed, so MA was fairly straight forward. Figuring it out if you are employed looks a bit of a mind bender...

RugBugs Tue 26-Feb-13 19:22:52

The form is on the dwp website, I can't link from phone but if you google maternity allowance form it comes up and the guidance is all with it (along with pages and pages of test period tables!).

SourSweets Tue 26-Feb-13 19:19:11

Thank you Sunshine, I replied on there too! Bit confusing, but I wanted as many opinions as poss as I was super stressed. Feeling better now!

SourSweets Tue 26-Feb-13 19:16:08

Wow, RugBugs, that sounds like a good deal. Some weeks I work 42 hours, others only 16. Where do you go to put your claim in, is that a government guideline or a policy of your place of work? Thanks FoofFighter, it good to keep that time period in mind in terms of upping my hours.

sunshine401 Tue 26-Feb-13 19:14:49

I answered on your other thread confused

RugBugs Tue 26-Feb-13 19:11:14

I'm about to try and sort out my claim and the claim is based on any 13 weeks in the qualifying period so you can pick the weeks you worked the most hours.

The form is a bit of a pita and last time (late 2010) it took them two months to start paying me.

FoofFighter Tue 26-Feb-13 19:06:27

its worked out out your earnings between weeks 17-25 I believe? I think I read that on the gov.uk thing.

SourSweets Tue 26-Feb-13 19:04:31

Thanks Ladymuck, yes I did but I only calculated my contracted hours which came out at frighteningly low. I'll do it again based on average actual earnings.

Ladymuck Tue 26-Feb-13 18:57:00

When I took MA it was certainly based on actual earnings and NI paid on those earnings, rather than contracted earnings. Good luck with finding a helpline - I think that they've all been cut in the age of austerity. Be careful that you're not paying for the call if you do get through. Have you gone through the calculator here?

SourSweets Tue 26-Feb-13 18:55:26

Thank you, thank you, thank you. If it's based on your actual hours then that gives me a bit more room to breathe. So I should just keep all my payslips in a safe place, in order to prove how much I've actually earned when it comes to doing the paperwork, and not worry about work screwing me over for the contracted hours, right? You've really eased my fears (and my tears), thank you!

moodymary Tue 26-Feb-13 18:53:35

No luck finding contact number, but as other posters have said, as long as your overtime is consistent, it will be used to base the calculation on. It doesn't matter that it isn't contracted.

moodymary Tue 26-Feb-13 18:45:37

AFAIK, the mat allowance calculation is based on your average earnings over a specified period - from memory I think it is three months - therefore based on actual earnings rather than contracted hours, however, as lightrain says, it is capped.
There must be a hotline on hmrc website... I will try to find it!

My work go by average of the last 2 months pay (not contract, what you actually earned) before your 25th week of pregnancy, so I know people that up their hours in those months! However as prev poster says smp and mat allowance are the same, my dsis just missed out getting it from work and claimed it all easily, bit of paperwork initially but was paid it in to her bank with no problems!

SourSweets Tue 26-Feb-13 18:44:57

Thanks for responding so quickly! I'm contracted to earn £101 a week, but I actually earn at least twice that much due to overtime. Does overtime count? If not it will only be £90 rather than £135.. I'm so scared that isn't going to be enough and I can't get a definitive answer on any gov website.

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