What is maternity allowance?

Overview

You might be a teacher who might be thinking whether you will be able to qualify for statutory maternity pay or will only receive maternity allowance. In this article, we explain the difference between maternity pay and maternity allowance, the eligibility criteria and how much you will be paid. 

Statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance?

There are two maternity benefits available:

  • Statutory Maternity Pay from your employer (school, trust or local authority)
  • Maternity Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions

Both types of payment are intended to help you take time off work both before and after the date your baby is due. 

You cannot get both at the same time.

Statutory Maternity Pay is a weekly payment that you may be able get from your employer. You must meet qualifying conditions based on the length of your employment with your employer and how much you earn. We have published another article explaining statutory maternity pay and leave here.

If you cannot get statutory maternity allowance you may be able to get:

Maternity Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions. Maternity Allowance is a weekly payment that you may be able to get if you have been employed or self-employed for some of the time during and before you became pregnant and your earnings for part of that time were at least £30 a week.

What is maternity allowance?

The GOV.UK website explains that maternity allowance is usually paid to you if you do not qualify for statutory maternity pay. The amount you can get depends on your eligibility.

You can claim maternity allowance as soon as you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks. Payments can start 11 weeks before your baby is due.

How much will I be paid?

The amount you can receive depends on your eligibility. 

You could get either:

  • £148.68 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less) for 39 weeks
  • £27 a week for 39 weeks
  • £27 a week for 14 weeks

It is paid every 2 or 4 weeks.

You can claim it once you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks. Payments can start 11 weeks before your baby is due.

You can use the maternity entitlement calculator to work out how much you could get.

Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks

You might receive the allowance for 39 weeks if one of the following applies:

  • You’re employed, but you cannot get statutory maternity pay
  • You’re self-employed and pay Class 2 National Insurance (including voluntary National Insurance)
  • You’ve recently stopped working

In the 66 weeks before your baby’s due, you must also have been:

  • Employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks
  • Earning (or classed as earning) £30 a week or more in at least 13 weeks – the weeks do not have to be together

You may still qualify if you’ve recently stopped working. It does not matter if you had different jobs or periods of unemployment.

Maternity allowance for 14 weeks

You might get maternity allowance for 14 weeks if for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due:

  • You’re married or in a civil partnership
  • You’re not employed or self-employed
  • You take part in the business of your self-employed spouses or civil partner
  • The work you do is for the business and unpaid
  • Your spouse or civil partner is registered as self-employed with HMRC and should pay Class 2 National Insurance
  • Your spouse or civil partner is working as a self-employed person
  • You’re not eligible for statutory maternity pay or the higher amount of maternity allowance (for the same pregnancy)

Unsure if you qualify?

You can contact us if you have any questions about your eligibility to receive statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.