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Maternity Allowance Question

(10 Posts)
knittakid Sun 28-Nov-10 11:30:46

I trainned last year as a teacher (with a bursary which does not count towards MA), finished in July this year, being already a few weeks pregnant. I started working not for a school but as a peripatetic music teacher with the council from September. The date I began work to my due date is exactly 26 weeks, Obviously I cannot work right to the week am due (lots of buses and walking in between schools) but plan to do up to three/two weeks before. This would disqualify me from MA, unless I could register as self-employed for those last weeks, pay the NI contributions, tax etc and then de-register. That way I could be entitled to it, and it needn't be a lie, I can teach from home some private pupils up to the last week, since it'd not involve me going anywhere.
Would this work?
How much would I need to earn being self-employed?

Sorry long post, but you guys were recommended in another thread.

flowerybeanbag Sun 28-Nov-10 13:06:43

If you would need to register as self employed to do your private work presumably you are employed at the moment by the council.

You need to be employed or self-employed for 26 weeks up to and including the week before your baby is due. Is it a fixed term contract you are on or anything? I mean is there any reason to think you won't be still employed when you go on maternity leave?

knittakid Sun 28-Nov-10 13:31:35

flowery, I might not quite understand. My contract is as a casual worker, not fixed term but it can be terminated at any moment without notice by either party. I get paid by the hour, so I assumed if I was not actually doing the hours that would count as not being employed. I am not sure if they'd actually 'end' my contract as soon as I leave. It's all a bit informal, you work if there is work for you to do...

flowerybeanbag Sun 28-Nov-10 16:19:23

No it's not that if you're not doing the hours you are not employed. If it was about SMP you would still 'count' as being employed continuously if there wasn't work available for you one week, for example. It wouldn't mean your continuous service starting again.

I would have thought that if the reason for you not working for the last fortnight was because you were on maternity leave, that would be fine. However I am not in the slightest a benefits expert. I've looked into it a bit, and although I can find plenty of information about continuous service for casual workers in terms of whether they are entitled to SMP, I can't find anything specific about MA. My instinct says you should get it, but as I say, I'm not a benefits expert. Have you had a look at the form you need to fill in to apply for MA, does that give any guidance at all?

knittakid Sun 28-Nov-10 16:32:26

flowery thank you so much for even thinking about this. I've looked at the form, but I will have to go and talk to somebody at HR, I was just impatient this weekend. I does seem that you are right about the casual employment. We'll see, the dates are so tight that that's my main worry.
Thank so much again.

flowerybeanbag Sun 28-Nov-10 19:37:04

The thing is I'm not sure someone in HR could help you that much. MA is a government benefit paid directly to you, unlike SMP which is something between you and your employer. Most HR departments will know enough to work out whether you are entitled to SMP and if not, perhaps to point you in the direction of some information about MA.

Alieight Tue 30-Nov-10 00:15:12

I don't know about whether your last 2/3 weeks would count as employment for MA, although Flowery's points seem to make sense.

In terms of MA though - you asked how much you would have to earn to qualify being self-employed. As long as you are paying Class 2 NI contributions, you will be deemed to be earning enough to result in the standard rate of MA £138.75 (90% of which you would get as MA).

See here for more info.

From the above site:

If you are self-employed and do not have a small earnings exception certificate, for any week covered by a Class 2 NI contribution you will be treated as having enough earnings to result in the standard rate of MA, payable at the end of the week covered by a Class 2 NI contribution. This means that:

* From 7 April 2008 treated as earning £130.20
* From 6 April 2009 treated as earning £136.73
* From 12 April 2010 treated as earning £138.75

Jobcentre Plus will ask HM Revenue & Customs to confirm the information you give about your Class 2 NI contributions on your MA claim form.

If you are employed and self-employed, earnings from your employment and earnings you are treated as having from self-employment can be added together to help you get as much MA as you can (upto a maximum of the standard rate).

In addition, for MA you can select any 13 weeks in your test period (test period = the 66 weeks before your EDD). The 13 weeks do not have to be consecutive, and you can choose which weeks in order to maximise your MA.


knittakid Tue 30-Nov-10 10:26:47

Thank you both, I've spoken to HR and although I am not entitled to SMP I am entitled to maternity leave, so my contract does not finish when I stop working, and I think in the website it says that weeks of employment for MA do not necessarily have to be weeks 'working'. I'll apply and see what happens...

flowerybeanbag Tue 30-Nov-10 10:36:14

That's right it's all about being employed, not physically doing work so if they intend to continue your employment you will be fine.

knittakid Tue 30-Nov-10 17:38:56

Hopefully it'll all work out! thanks!

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