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Maternity Allowance

(12 Posts)
melissacx9 Sun 08-Oct-17 08:42:21

Hi! Hoping someone can shed some light on this for me as I'm confused and there's unfortunately nobody that I can contact for professional advice until tomorrow.

I was signed off on the sick quite early into my first pregnancy last year because of severe bleeding and risk of miscarriage. I ended up taking maternity leave as early as I possibly could and my baby was born prematurely at 34+6 weeks in February. As I only work(ed) part-time I only qualified for maternity allowance, not SMP, and this has stopped now as my baby is 8 months old. However I'm on unpaid leave now until December.

I wasn't sure on whether to return to work or not as I am a student at university and the course is already full on enough with a child too without working part time on top. However, I have fallen pregnant again, which has left me feeling all sorts of confused about my situation. Having the sort of pregnancy I had with my first is making me worry, and if I don't return to work then I won't qualify to be able to send off 13 weeks of payslips within 66 weeks of my due date as I have been getting paid MA every other week.

Basically, my question is am I able to claim MA again basically straight after claiming it once, even if I don't return to work? So would the weeks when I've been getting paid MA count as one of the 13 weeks out of the 66? Or is this a case of I'll just have to grin and bare it and return to work for at least 13 weeks in order to receive MA?

Thanks and hope this is less confusing to someone else than it is to me!

mindutopia Sun 08-Oct-17 09:27:07

No, you need to actually be working or self-employed for 26 weeks out of the previous 66 in order to qualify for MA. Then you need to send them proof of your earnings for 13 weeks (you still need to work 26 weeks, but they only need to see 13 weeks of payslips). If you were self employed, it would be different, you'd just need to be paying NI for 26 of the previous 66 weeks, but you don't need to provide proof of income for that (obviously they see it when you file your taxes). But anyway, no, MA doesn't count as income, you need to actually be working and you need to do it for 26 weeks, not for 13, which may mean you are already past the point when you can qualify unfortunately.

melissacx9 Sun 08-Oct-17 09:46:12

I see - so even though I'm still employed, because I've been off on maternity and haven't physically been working then I don't qualify?

CoffeeAndCupcakes85 Sun 08-Oct-17 09:53:30

I thought if you were employed and if you received maternity pay, that counted as "employed" and "earnings" (assuming you were employed for at least 26 weeks and received maternity pay/actual income for at least 13 weeks). Is that not the case?

CoffeeAndCupcakes85 Sun 08-Oct-17 09:56:43

melissacx9 Sun 08-Oct-17 12:14:40

That's what I originally thought too, coffee. I've been employed there for 6 years but only ever part time whilst I've been at college and university and now I've started a new course. But not sure maternity Allowance counts as pay - I know SMP does though x

CoffeeAndCupcakes85 Sun 08-Oct-17 12:45:29

I don't know. It seems odd if it's not (assuming you're still "employed" for 26 weeks and received MA/salary for at least 13 weeks) as the payments are exactly the same (ignoring the first 6 weeks at 90%). Maybe call Maternity Action this week? They have a free pregnancy rights helpline x

clarebear1983 Sun 08-Oct-17 14:14:54

Maternity leave counts towards the 26 employed weeks, I spoke to the job centre last week about this. Sabaticals count, holidays count etc. Any period where you were in employment counts according to the lady I spoke to, regardless of whether you were paid or not.

You need to be able to provide 13 pay slips that average over £175 a week to qualify for the £140 per week maternity though, if the average is less then you'll only qualify for £40 per week.

melissacx9 Sun 08-Oct-17 14:54:21

Hi Clare, when I went on maternity allowance last December that wasn't the case - I earned on average between £100-120 per week and was told that it would be calculated by adding up the total of my thirteen weeks and then dividing it by thirteen also. So say I earned £1500 over the course of those thirteen payslips, then they would divide that by 13, which would mean I'd be paid about £115 each week in MA as that was my average pet week. I ended up getting paid about £127.50 or something from maternity allowance.

If the pay I received whilst getting maternity allowance counts then that would be OK but I'll definitely have to return to work if not as I really can't afford to have no income for ten months and I don't get any extra support or help as I'm a student, so don't qualify.

Thanks Coffee - I'll definitely ring them, they'll probably know better than anyone I could contact at the job centre and then at least I would have a definite answer before I discuss things with my employer.

Everything's so complicated! Who would've thought! Haha.

CoffeeAndCupcakes85 Sun 08-Oct-17 15:40:21

I agree it's all very confusing! I was still on maternity leave when I fell pregnant with my second. I was due to return to work, but then I lost my job just as I was returning. It was really confusing over whether I would have been entitled to maternity allowance (having been unemployed at the point of making the application, but still having been technically employed for 26 weeks in the 66 weeks and earning enough through maternity payments). Thankfully I've just secured another job and will hopefully be employed until I go on maternity leave (which would mean 14-15 weeks of income). I still worry that they will find a way to turn down my application.

With regard to your income, I thought you just had to be earning at least £30/week? I may be wrong though as that does seem really low!

Good luck!

clarebear1983 Sun 08-Oct-17 21:43:20

Ah Yh, sorry my bad. I think it's 90% of your average earnings if your average is less than £175. Then the max amount of £140 if it's more than £175. The lower amount might be if you don't have 26 weeks.

I'm not sure if maternity pay counts as payslips you can send them though tbh as I had enough weeks of salaried pay/holiday so didn't ask. I just needed to know what classed as employed as I needed to count my sabbatical, some mat leave and holiday to total 26 weeks if I didn't bother looking for another contract.

The job centre are pretty helpful at working it out in your specific circumstances if you give them a call, you might only need to top up with a few weeks etc.

melissacx9 Sun 08-Oct-17 23:15:18

Thanks for all of your help - I'm going to ring them tomorrow on my break at uni and will update so that anyone in the future who has the same query might have a better answer! smile

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