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Maternity pay - how much you can get

This advice applies to Wales

How much maternity pay you get, and how long it lasts, depends on what type of maternity pay you’re entitled to:

  • for statutory maternity pay, read the rest of this page for details
  • for contractual maternity pay, look in your contract or ask your employer - it will never be less than statutory maternity pay
  • for Maternity Allowance, use the calculator on GOV.UK to find out what you’ll get

How much statutory maternity pay you’ll get

Your statutory maternity pay lasts up to 39 weeks, made up of:

  • 6 weeks getting 90% of your average weekly pay (before tax)
  • 33 weeks getting either £140.98 a week or 90% of your average weekly pay (before tax) - whichever is less

You may have to pay some tax and national insurance on this.

Your average pay includes any sick pay, holiday pay, back pay, bonuses, and statutory maternity pay from a previous pregnancy.

You'll get the same amount even if you're pregnant with more than one baby.  

Example

If you earn £200 a week, you’ll get £180 of statutory maternity pay for the first 6 weeks, then £140.98 for the next 33 weeks.

But if you earn £120 a week, you’ll get £108 of statutory maternity pay for the whole 39 weeks.

What you'll get if the rate of maternity pay changes

The £140.98 rate of statutory maternity pay usually increases in April each year. If it increases while you're getting statutory maternity pay, you'll get the new, higher amount from the date of the change.

When your maternity pay starts and finishes

Your maternity pay starts on the same day as your maternity leave. You can’t get it while you’re still at work or more than 11 weeks before your due date. If you don't get maternity leave your maternity pay starts the day after you have your baby.  

Your maternity pay could start sooner if you get sick in the 4 weeks before your baby's due.

Statutory maternity pay can last 39 weeks, but it will end sooner if you go back to work before then.

Don't lose out on your maternity pay if your wages vary

Part of your statutory maternity pay is based on your average pay. So it’s good to keep your pay as high as possible while your employer works out your average. This is most likely to matter if your pay varies, for example if you work for an agency or do shifts.  

Your employer bases your average pay on roughly 8 weeks leading up to the 15th week before your due date. In this time you could think about:  

  • cancelling unpaid time off
  • accepting any shifts or hours you’re offered, or even trying to do extra
  • taking paid holiday for any days when you’re ill, if the sick pay would be less than you’d earn normally

To check the exact dates when your average pay is worked out, or to get other help with maternity pay, contact your nearest Citizens Advice

If your employer tries to cut your hours to reduce your maternity pay, this is discriminationContact your nearest Citizens Advice and we can help you get the maternity pay you’re entitled to.

If you want to work while you're getting maternity pay

Going back to work or starting a new job will normally end your maternity pay. But there are some ways to earn a bit extra if you’re worried about making ends meet.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you want to do some extra work but you’re not sure how it will affect your maternity pay.

If you want to work for your existing employer

You can be paid for up to 10 ‘keeping in touch days’ while taking time off to have a baby. Some employers call these ‘KIT days’. These are days when you work for your employer while you’re getting maternity pay or Maternity Allowance. How much you’re paid for these days depends on your contract.

Unfortunately if you work more than 10 keeping in touch days your maternity pay will be cut. You’ll lose the whole week’s maternity pay for any week when you work an extra keeping in touch day.

You can arrange keeping in touch days for any time outside the first 2 weeks after your baby is born (4 weeks if you work in a factory). You’ll need to agree the days with your employer - they can’t make you do them, but you can’t demand them either.

If you want to work for another employer

Check your contract with your existing employer before you work for someone else. Some employers will ask you to get their permission first.

Apart from that it's fine to work for someone else if you’ve started your maternity leave but haven’t had your baby yet. You’ll keep getting your statutory maternity pay from your first employer.

Once you’ve had your baby it gets more complicated. Usually working for a second employer will end your maternity pay. But it will continue if:

  • you already did some paid work for your second employer in the 15th week before your due date, and
  • you aren’t entitled to statutory maternity pay from your second employer - so you’ll need to have earned less than £113 a week from them or worked for them for less than 26 weeks

If you want to do self-employed work

You can do self-employed work and it won’t affect your statutory maternity pay. But it could affect any contractual maternity pay you get - check your contract with your existing employer to see what difference it makes.

It’s a good idea to check your contract even if you don’t get contractual maternity pay. Some employers might ask you to get their permission before doing self-employed work.

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