Maternity allowance is a payment made by the government to those who are not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay from their employer.

It is currently set at £151.20 per week or 90% of your average gross weekly earnings (before tax), whichever is the smaller amount. If the individual is or has been furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic, their earnings should be assessed on what they would usually earn, and not on the 80% they have been receiving.

Update: The current weekly rate of statutory maternity pay is £151.20, or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate. This is expected to rise to £151.97 from April 2021. The increase normally occurs on the first Sunday in April, which is 4th April.

The amount received will depend on the individual’s eligibility and whether they have paid enough national insurance contributions. If not enough national insurance has been paid, a lower amount of Maternity Allowance may be paid of either £27 a week for 39 weeks or £27 a week for 14 weeks. In order to check eligibility and find out Maternity Allowance entitlements, access the Government maternity entitlement calculator.

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In order to claim the maternity allowance, the individual will need to complete a Maternity Allowance (MA1) claim form. It will be paid directly into the individual’s bank, building society or Post Office account or through the Payment Exception Service and is paid either every two or four weeks.

Individuals can claim Maternity Allowance as soon as they have been pregnant for 26 weeks. Payments can start 11 weeks before the baby is due.

If you are now having to face dealing with an employee who is pregnant and don’t know what to do or what our obligations are as the employer then take a look at our HR toolkit as it will give you all that you need including the forms / templated letters to successfully manage the situation and ensure that  you are compliant with UK employment legislation.

If you want to talk to one of our team or see a demonstration of the HR Toolkit then contact us.