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I'm a Pregnant Director - Can I Get Maternity Pay?

Going through pregnancy can be a little daunting to any woman, but when you're the director of a company it can seem a little worse. Don't panic though. This post should help you better understand what your rights are.

All women in the UK are entitled to maternity leave. But did you know that there are two types available (only one can be claimed a time though)?

Type 1 - Statutory Maternity Pay (SPM)

If you are the shareholder and sole director of your limited company then you may not be eligible for SMP unless: you have other workers in the company who can take over your duties while you are off, and the company can make enough money to cover your pay in your absence.

SMP is usually paid to those who are in employment so most of the guidance on it pertains to that. But for more advice, check out this link to the Citizens Advice Bureau, which contains all you'll need to know about SMP.

Type 2 - Maternity Allowance

If you fail to qualify for SMP then you should look at Maternity Allowance. There are 2 variations on this. There is a 39 week and a 14 week version. In order to have the 39 week allowance you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are employed, but not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay
  • You are self-employed and pay Class 2 NIC (including Voluntary National Insurance) for at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby's due - the amount of Maternity Allowance you get depends on how much Class 2 NIC you've paid (more on NIC in this post)
  • You have recently stopped working

Also in the 66 weeks prior to the due date you must 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 non-consecutive weeks

You may still qualify if you have recently stopped working. It doesn't matter about switching jobs or periods of unemployment.

To claim the 14 week allowance the following must be true for 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your due date:

  • You're married or in a civil partnership
  • You are not employed nor self-employed
  • You take part in the business of your self-employed spouse 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 NIC
  • 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)

You can claim Maternity Allowance as soon as you have been pregnant for 26 weeks. Payments will start 11 weeks before your due date.

The amount you receive will depend on the eligibility of your claim. You will either have:

  • £139.58 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less) for up to 39 weeks; or
  • £27 a week for up to 14 weeks

You will receive payments either every 2 or 4 weeks. This Maternity Allowance Calculator from the website will help you understand how much you are entitled to.

What if I've not paid enough Class 2 NIC?

The Department for Work and Pensions will check your claim and then write to you if you haven't paid enough. HMRC will then give you the opportunity to make an early payment.

What if the pregnancy doesn't go as planned?

You may still be eligible for the Maternity Allowance if:

  • If the baby was stillborn from the start of the 24th week of pregnancy
  • If the baby if born alive at any point during the pregnancy

Enough doom and gloom - How can you claim?

You'll need to fill in website, ACAS, or contact your local Job Centre.

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