What Happens If I Can’t Get Statutory Maternity Pay ? All You Need To Know About Maternity Allowance

If you have less that 26 weeks of continuous employment, you will unfortunately not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay. Fear not, My Bump Pay has put together a guide to walk you through Maternity Allowance. 

What is Maternity Allowance?
Maternity Allowance (MA) is a government-backed benefit for women who are currently working or have recently worked, but who are not eligible to receive Statutory Maternity Pay. If you do qualify for the payments, Maternity Allowance is paid directly into your bank account by Jobcentre Plus. You cannot receive it in addition to Statutory Maternity Pay.
How much Maternity Allowance will I get?
This depends on all sorts of things and everybody’s different. If you are eligible, it will be based on your paid work: it is paid at either 90% of your average earnings or at the flat rate (whichever is less) for 39 weeks. If there were any weeks when you worked for yourself, your earnings from this self-employment are deemed to be either £30 a week or £161.31 a week. This is based on whether you’ve paid Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for those weeks. If you have not paid Class 2 NICs you will receive £27 each week, but if you have paid and you do not hold a Small Earnings Exception Certificate, you will receive £145.18 per week. You can add together all your earnings from different jobs and self-employment. If you are somebody who does unpaid work for your civil partner or spouse you will be entitled to £27 each week for 14 weeks only. To help you, there’s a handy calculator on the government website.
Who qualifies for Maternity Allowance?
There are a couple of ways you can be deemed eligible for Maternity Allowance. The majority of women will qualify through using the first route, because of paid work (with employed or self-employed). The other way is for women who work on a voluntary or unpaid basis for their self-employed partner or spouse.   If you are in paid work, to be able to claim Maternity Allowance you must:

  • Have been employed for a minimum of 26 weeks in the 66 weeks (15 months) before your expected due date.
  • The work doesn’t necessarily have to be continuous and you don’t always have had to work at the same place. You can also include periods of self-employment.

And:

  • Have earned at least £30 a week during 13 of those weeks.
  • The weeks do not have to be all with the same company, and you can combine earnings from multiple jobs.
  • You need to use the 13 weeks where you earned the most pay. This income can include overtime, bonuses, sick pay and holiday pay as well as any other times when you claimed Statutory Maternity Pay, but not Maternity Allowance itself.

If you are working on an unpaid basis for your civil partner or spouse:

  • You mustn’t be eligible for Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay because you have received money for paid work
  • You must have been working for a minimum of 26 weeks during the 66 weeks before your baby’s due date for your spouse or civil partner whilst they were self-employed
  • Your civil partner or spouse must be making Class 2 National Insurance contributions in during each one of the 26 weeks you have been working for them

Maternity Allowance in respect of unpaid work like this is paid at £27 a week for 14 weeks.

How do I apply for Maternity Allowance?
Ask for an MA1 form from Jobcentre Plus or download one from Gov.uk. You’ll also need to provide a certificate (called a MAT B1) from your midwife showing your expected due date. If you are – or were recently – in work but that your current or previous employer has deemed you ineligible for SMP, you should have been given a form SMP1 to explain why. Take this along to the Department of Work and Pensions in order to support your claim.
How long does Maternity Allowance last for?
Maternity Allowance can be paid for up to 39 weeks, and from 11 weeks before your due date.
I’m self-employed – can I get Maternity Allowance?
If you’re self-employed you don’t automatically become eligible to receive SMP unless you are also an employed on a PAYE salary. Instead you will have to claim Maternity Allowance.
What if I don’t qualify for Maternity Allowance?
You may qualify for 8 weeks’ Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead. You need to be on a low income but must also have paid some National Insurance in recent years. ESA replaced Incapacity Benefit. New and expectant mums are considered as having a reduced ability to work from 6 weeks before the baby is due until 2 weeks following the birth.
Additional Maternity benefits
Certain other pieces of financial help are available for expectant mums and new parents. Thing like:

  • Free prescriptions
  • Free NHS dental treatment
  • Paternity leave shared parental leave
  • Working families tax credit
  • SureStart maternity grant
  • Universal credit

For a full list of other benefits you may qualify for whilst pregnant and during your first year(s) as a new parent, take a look at the Pregnancy and Baby Guide on the Gov website   So now you are all clued up about Maternity Allowance. Did we miss anything ? Drop us a line at info@mybumppay.com