Thursday, 23 May 2019

How much maternity pay will I get?

When we found out we were pregnant with our first babies, all the shock, excitement and queasiness, quickly gave way to ‘hold on, how are we going to afford to eat if I’m not working?’

There’s nothing like money worries to bring you back down to earth with a bump (pun intended).

Luckily, we have something called statutory maternity pay (SMP) in the UK. It’s not amazing but it’s enough to live on if you’re sensible with your spending.

You’re entitled to SMP if you’ve worked for the same employer for a minimum of 26 weeks, you earn at least £118 a week, and you’ve given your employer at least 28 days’ notice of the date you want it to start.


Statutory Maternity Leave is 52 weeks, but you’re only entitled to SMP for the first 39 weeks. If you choose to take more time off work, it’s unlikely you’ll get anything.

What will you get? For the first six weeks of your leave, you’ll get 90% of your average weekly earnings before tax.

For the next 33 weeks, you’ll get £148.68 (for 2019/20) or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

SMP is paid in the same way you receive your wages – so either weekly or monthly.

If you’re self-employed or don’t qualify for SMP, you can claim Maternity Allowance, which is a payment from the government every two or four weeks.

What will you get? That depends on how much you earn.

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 or £27 a week for 14 weeks.

You can claim Maternity Allowance from week 26 of your pregnancy.

Use this calculator to find out how much maternity pay you could get.

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