This fact sheet discusses the maternity and paternity rights of agency workers or agency “temps.”
employment situation of agency workers
Your rights at work depend on your employment status. most agency workers are “workers” in that you are not an employee of the agency or the employer you work for.
Under the Agency Worker Regulations 2010, agency workers are entitled to the same basic terms of employment as permanent employees after 12 continuous weeks with the same employer. this means that if you are an agency worker and have been placed with the same employer for at least 12 weeks, you have the right to paid time off for your prenatal care and the right to be offered suitable alternative work or to be furloughed Full payment if there are health and safety risks. workers may also be eligible for maternity and other types of parental pay.
Do I have agency worker rights?
If you work for a “temporary agency”, you have the rights set forth here. A temporary work agency can be a public or private sector organization (the agency) that provides people to work under the supervision or direction of another person (the employer or the tenant). this covers such arrangements as ‘bank’ nursing, supply teaching and ‘temporary’. You may have a contract with the agency, if so, it will set out your terms and conditions of employment, and you will be paid through the agency’s payroll. An agency cannot provide less than your legal rights, but it can provide better terms and conditions than the legal minimum.
I don’t have an employment contract. Does that affect my rights?
no, it doesn’t matter if you have a written contract or not. You still have the same legal rights, but there may be more uncertainty about your employment status and your terms and conditions at work if it is not written. a contract can be verbal and if there is a dispute about your employment rights, an employment tribunal will look at what was agreed between you and your agency or employer and what actually happens in practice.
What is my employment status?
In most cases, agency workers are considered ‘workers’ and are entitled to the following rights, including maternity pay, sick and vacation pay, paid time off for prenatal care, and health protection and security (as long as you meet the qualifying conditions).
Some agency workers are employees of the agency, so check your contract or ask. Or, in some cases, he can argue that he is an employee of the employer he works for and should have the same rights as other employees.
If you have a written contract or have been given terms and conditions of employment, you may be described as a “flexible worker”, “casual worker”, “independent worker” or “permanent temp”. If these terms are used to deny you the rights of an agency worker or if you feel you should be treated as an employee, you should seek advice on your employment situation as this is a complex area, see where to go for further assistance.
What is the difference between employee, worker or self-employed?
Unfortunately, there is no precise legal definition of who is an employee, worker, or self-employed person. it is the nature of the employment relationship between you and your agency or employer that counts.
You may be an employee of the agency or employer if:
- have been continuously employed by the same employer/agency for some time and would expect to continue there unless
- the days you work, your hours and conditions are completely governed by the agency/employer.
- your agency/employer controls what you do and dictates how and when you do it
- your agency/employer provides all the equipment for your
- your agency/employer deducts taxes and class 1 national insurance contributions from your salary
- you can choose whether to accept an assignment or
- you can organize your own work
- Your employer or agency deducts taxes and class 1 national insurance contributions from your salary (if so, you may qualify for statutory maternity pay from your agency/employer).
- you pay class 2 national insurance contributions and are responsible for your own tax (if so, you can claim maternity allowance).
- you work for yourself.
- may subcontract services to third parties.
- earn more than £123 per week in the eight weeks or two months before the 15th week before the baby is due, and
- has been employed by the same agency for at least 26 weeks prior to the 15th week before the baby’s due date and is still working for the agency at the time of the birth
- have been employed by the agency for at least 26 weeks prior to the 15th week prior to the week your baby is due, and
- still employed in all or part of the 15th week before your baby is due (the qualifying week), and
- earn at least £123 per week (April 2022 – April 2023) on average over the eight weeks (if paid weekly) or two months (if paid monthly) to the last payday before the end of the 15th week before your baby is due.
- the agency was unable to offer you work in any particular week (for example, if the workplace was closed due to covid-19), or
- was unavailable for work due to illness or injury of less than 26 weeks, or
- was unavailable for work due to pregnancy, childbirth, adoption leave, shared parental leave, parental leave, or paternity leave, or
- I was taking accrued vacation.
- if you are not at work due to a temporary interruption
- if you work seasonally and rest periods are quite short compared to work periods.
- If you work in education and are employed on an academic year or part-time contract, vacation periods will generally count towards your continued employment.
- You are not at work, but due to ‘arrangements or customs’ you are considered to be still in employment.
- is absent from work for pregnancy-related reasons in the 4 weeks prior to the expected week of delivery, this includes pregnancy-related illness or a health and safety leave of absence from maternity, or
- your baby is born before your maternity leave has started
You can be a worker or agency worker if:
You may be ‘self-employed‘ if:
Does my employment status change after being with the same employer for more than 12 weeks?
no, your employment status is the same, but after 12 continuous weeks with the same employer, you have many of the same rights as permanent employees. Your rights during pregnancy and childbirth are described below.
Agency workers who have worked for the same employer for at least 12 weeks are entitled to the same basic working conditions, such as salary, working time and vacation entitlement.
To qualify for many maternity and paternity rights, you must work for the same employer for a certain period of time, for example, you must have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks to receive legal maternity pay, paternity or legal shared parental pay. sometimes, even if there have been breaks, you may be able to count the entire period as continuous employment.
I have worked for the same employer on monthly placements for more than 3 months. Does that count as 12 weeks of continuous employment?
Yes, you will have completed 12 weeks of employment if you have worked continuously for the same employer, even if it was one or more locations. you can add each week you worked. you can count the weeks in which you were on annual leave.
Do I have to work a full week for it to count?
no, you can work part time. working one day or part of a day in each week counts toward 12 weeks of continuous employment.
Will the weeks that I am unable to work interrupt continuous employment for 12 weeks?
breaks of less than 7 weeks and breaks due to illness, pregnancy and childbirth do not break the 12 weeks of continuous employment.
What if I am unable to continue in a placement due to a pregnancy-related illness?
There is a protected period from the beginning of your pregnancy until 26 weeks after the birth of your baby. If you are unable to complete a placement for a reason related to pregnancy, childbirth, or maternity or shared parental leave, you are considered to continue in that placement until the date it was expected to end.
I had worked for 10 weeks in a 14-week placement before I stopped working because my baby was born. I have now returned to work for the same employer. What are my rights?
First, you are considered to have completed the 14-week placement because you stopped working for a reason related to pregnancy, childbirth, or maternity leave. Second, the qualifying period between the two placements with the same employer was stopped because the break between his placements was related to pregnancy, childbirth, or maternity leave.
This means that when you began your second placement with the same employer, you had already completed at least 12 weeks of continuous employment with that employer and should be provided the same basic working conditions as permanent employees.
maternity and parental rights for agency workers
Can the agency refuse to hire me because I’m pregnant?
No, it is pregnancy discrimination for an agency to refuse to offer you a job or to renew a contract because of your pregnancy. If you are denied work or treated unfairly because of your pregnancy, you should seek legal advice.
You can also sue in employment court if you are treated unfairly. You must file a complaint with the court within 3 months (less one day) from the date of the act of discrimination or the date you are complaining about. you must contact acas advance conciliation within the time limit on 0300 123 11 00 before filing a claim in court. for more information, see how to deal with problems at work.
Can the company I’m placed with get rid of me because I’m pregnant?
No, it’s also pregnancy discrimination for the company you’ve been assigned to treat you less favorably because of your pregnancy, such as refusing to keep you because of your pregnancy or withdrawing an offer of a permanent position.
Am I entitled to paid time off for prenatal care?
Agency workers are not entitled to paid time off for prenatal care until they have completed at least 12 weeks of continuous employment with the same employer. Once you have completed 12 weeks of continuous employment, your agency and the employer you work for must allow you to take reasonable paid time off to attend prenatal appointments. this may include a reasonable amount of travel and waiting time if you are within your business hours.
You have the right to take time off during your normal work hours and should not be required to make up the time or use sick or annual leave. you should be paid your normal hourly rate.
Your agency has the right to request proof of your pregnancy and of each appointment, in addition to the first appointment. You can ask your GP or midwife to provide a note confirming your pregnancy. your agency cannot insist on having the matb1 maternity certificate as you are not entitled to it until you are 20 weeks pregnant. Your agency must accept an appointment card or letter as proof of the appointment and cannot request additional evidence.
If you work part-time or irregular shifts, you should try to schedule your appointments outside of your business hours whenever possible. however, you are entitled to paid time off during your normal shifts or normal work hours if appointments are not possible at other times.
If you are denied time off or not paid your normal salary, you should talk to your agency and show them some information about your rights. You can find government information here: www.gov.uk/agency-workers-your-rights/maternity-rights-for-agency-workers.
If you cannot solve it, you can call acas at 0300 123 11 00 to start a claim in a labor court. You must call acas within three months (less one day) of the appointment date. acas will contact your agency to try to reach an agreement through early settlement. if that is not possible, you can sue in labor court for lost wages. For more information, see how to deal with problems at work.
The right of agency workers to take a reasonable amount of time off to attend prenatal appointments stems from the Employment Rights Act of 1996, section 57za.
For more information, see time off for prenatal care.
Do I have any health and safety protection at work during my pregnancy?
All agency workers have basic health and safety rights from the first day of their employment. To obtain health and safety protection, she must notify her employer (where she works) in writing that she is pregnant or that she has given birth in the last 26 weeks or that she is breastfeeding. Your employer must review your risk assessment and must specifically consider any pregnancy-related risks. if there are risks, the employer you work for must take reasonable steps to eliminate the risks by changing your working conditions or hours of work.
If you are concerned about risks at work, you should speak to your midwife or GP. if they think you are well enough to work but need accommodations to avoid health and safety risks during your pregnancy, they can provide you with a letter or notice of adjustment that says you can work as long as accommodations are made to protect you and your baby .
if you have not completed 12 weeks of continuous employment with the same employer, you are not entitled to be offered suitable alternative work or to have your full pay withheld and your placement may be terminated if your employer is unable to do your job insurance by making reasonable adjustments to your working conditions or hours of work. your agency can offer a suitable alternate location if one is available.
once you have completed 12 weeks of continuous employment with the same employer, if your placement ends because it may not be safe for you to work during pregnancy, your agency must provide you with suitable alternative work if it is available for so long as his placement was meant to last or would have been likely to last. any offer of alternative employment must be suitable and appropriate for you in terms of your skills and experience and must be on the same days/hours that you normally work. any suitable alternative work must be on the same terms and conditions as your current posting.
If no suitable alternative work is available, you have the right to have the agency withhold payment in full for as long as your placement was intended or likely to last. Note: If your full payment is stopped, your agency can start paying your statutory maternity payment as early as 4 weeks before your expected week of delivery, since you are considered absent due to pregnancy. You are not entitled to maternity leave if you have refused an offer of suitable alternative work.
The protection of the safety and health of the workers assigned in this section comes from the regulation of management of safety and health at work, reg. 16a and the Employment Rights Act of 1996, sections 68a to 68d.
Your employer and your agency have the right to request medical evidence in the form of a certificate to confirm your pregnancy from your midwife or GP, but they should not wait to take steps to protect your health and safety. they cannot request their matb1 maternity certificate as it cannot be issued before 20 weeks and is only required for maternity payment purposes.
For more information on health and safety, including information on risks at work during the coronavirus pandemic, see Health and Safety During Pregnancy and Returning to Work.
Do I have the right to return to the same location after I have had my baby?
You need to be classified as employed to be eligible to take maternity leave and return to the same job. agency workers can agree on a period of time off with their agency and/or the employer with which they have been assigned or can re-register with the agency when they want to return to work.
If you have been in a long-term placement and are denied work because you took time off to have a baby, it may be maternity discrimination or sex discrimination and you should seek legal advice.
My agency was not entitled to statutory maternity pay and now they have sent me a p45. Can the agency fire me?
if you are not receiving smp from your agency, your agency can issue a p45 once you have been absent from work for more than three months without any pay. this can happen if you are not entitled to statutory maternity pay and are receiving maternity allowance instead. you can still log back into the agency once you are available to work again.
Does my partner or I have the right to shared parental leave and payment?
Shared parental leave does not provide any additional leave or pay for parents, but allows parents to share leave if the mother returns to work early or does not use her full maternity pay. you and/or your partner can take shared parental leave/pay if both parents qualify and the mother returns to work early or reduces her maternity leave or maternity pay period.
if the mother is an agency worker, she must qualify for the smp or maternity allowance. if she does not want to take her full 39 weeks maternity pay, she must give notice to end her smp/ma period ahead of time to transfer the untaken leave/pay to her partner to take as leave/pay shared parent. her partner must verify her right to shared parental leave and pay and notify her employer at least 8 weeks in advance to take it.
If you’ve returned to work early and haven’t used your full 39-week smp period, you can give 8 weeks’ notice to take the statutory parental share payment if you want to take more time off in the first year.
shared parental leave and payment are complicated. For more information, see Shared Parental Leave and Pay.
Does my partner have the right to some time off after our baby is born?
If your partner is an employee, you will be entitled to two weeks of paternity leave and legal paternity pay (if you meet the normal qualifying conditions). Some employers give more paid leave to parents and partners, so check your contract.
You and/or your partner can take shared and/or paid parental leave if both parents qualify and the mother returns to work early or reduces her maternity leave or maternity pay period. For more information, see Shared Parental Leave and Pay.
Both parents are also entitled to take up to 18 weeks of parental leave until the child turns 18 (this is different from the new right to shared parental leave). parental leave is usually unpaid. For more information on parental leave, see Time Off for Working Parents.
If your partner is an agency worker, you will not qualify for paternity leave, but you may qualify for statutory paternity pay if your partner meets the normal qualifying conditions.
The mother’s father or partner (including same-sex couples) may qualify for legal paternity pay if he/she:
If your partner doesn’t earn enough to qualify for legal paternity pay, he/she may be entitled to proven benefits like Universal Credit.
For more information on the rights of parents and partners, see Rights at Work of Parents and Partners.
legal payment for maternity
what is the legal maternity payment (smp)?
smp is paid for 39 weeks. smp is paid at two rates: for the first six weeks, you get 90% of your average salary during the calculation period. after that you’ll get a flat rate of £156.66 per week (April 2022 – April 2023) for 33 weeks or 90% of your average earnings if less.
Your agency pays your SMP the same way your salary is paid. they deduct any taxes and national insurance contributions. your agency can claim your smp from hm revenue and customs (hmrc).
you can get smp even if you don’t plan to go back to work. you don’t have to return the smp if you decide not to go back to work.
Can I receive the legal maternity payment (smp)?
yes, agency workers can get smp if they meet the normal qualifying conditions. You don’t need to be classified as an employee to get SMP. you can get smp if your agency deducts taxes and national insurance from your income through payment (or would if you earned enough) and you meet the qualifying conditions below to get smp.
to qualify for smp you must:
In order to claim smp, you must give your agency your maternity certificate (matb1 form) which your GP or midwife will give you when you are around 20 weeks pregnant.
If your agency isn’t sure how to resolve your smp or how to claim it, they can call the hmrc employer helpline, see where to go for more help.
if you don’t qualify for smp, your agency must give you form smp1 and your form matb1. you will need both forms to claim maternity allowance; see below.
smp does not classify as public funds and states that it will not affect future immigration applications. For more information, see the maternity action fact sheets on maternity rights and benefits based on your immigration status.
What happens if I don’t work in each of the 26 weeks?
If you are employed by an agency, in each of the 26 weeks of the qualifying week, you will meet the continuous employment rule. As long as you worked (even for one day) during any week, it counts as a full week. For smp purposes, a week runs from Sunday to Saturday, so it’s important to count each week carefully.
There may be entire weeks when you have not worked for the agency. this does not necessarily mean that your continued employment has been broken.
For purposes of the SMP, continuity of employment during the 26-week period is not interrupted if:
Make sure your agency and your employer know why you are not available for work in a particular week.
What if the agency cannot offer me any work in the qualifying week?
If you weren’t working in the qualifying week (the 15th week before your baby is due), you can still be treated as an employee in that week if:
· the agency had no work for you that week, and
were available for work after that week, and
· did you do any work with the agency before you stopped working to have your baby.
If you intended to continue working but stopped before the qualifying week due to illness, you may be considered to have worked until the qualifying week. you must start working with the agency within 26 weeks of termination before this can apply.
if you have stopped looking for work through a particular agency before the start of the qualifying week, you are not entitled to smp from that agency.
What happens if there have been gaps between my contracts or work periods?
In principle, a gap between two contracts will break your continued employment, but sometimes it won’t, such as:
My agency refuses to pay me SMP because they say I don’t have a continuous job?
Check with your agency to see if they have counted all relevant weeks (see previous questions). it may be helpful to provide a copy of this information sheet. your agency can get advice from the hmrc employer helpline on 0300 200 3200.
if your agency still says you don’t qualify for smp, ask for form smp1 which will state why you don’t qualify for smp. If you believe you have been denied SMP in error, you can contact HMRC’s Legal Payment Disputes team on 0300 322 9422 for a formal decision on your SMP entitlement. if you qualify, hmrc will order your agency to pay your smp and will pay directly if your agency doesn’t pay your smp in full.
You can claim maternity benefit from your local work center plus while a decision is being made or if hmrc decides you are not entitled to smp. the maternity allowance can only be retroactive for a maximum of three months, so you should not delay in claiming it.
Will I lose SMP if I change agencies during my pregnancy?
Yes, you will be considered to have changed your “employer” if you start working for a new agency, as this will interrupt your continued employment. If you change agencies before the 15th week before your baby is due, you will not qualify for statutory maternity pay, but you may qualify for maternity allowance, see next section. If you change agencies after the 15th week before your baby is due, you can still get SMP from your old agency if you met the qualifying conditions.
Will I lose SMP if I leave an agency and the employer hires me directly?
yes, this will likely break your continuity of employment as well. If you start getting paid from a new employer, not the agency, you will be considered starting a new job. If the change in employer occurs before the 15th week before your baby’s due date, you will not be entitled to statutory maternity pay from either the agency or your new employer. however, you may qualify for maternity allowance, see the next section.
if you start working directly with the employer after the 15th week before the expected week of delivery and you met the qualifying conditions for your agency’s smp, your smp must be paid by your agency even though you are now directly employed by your new employer.
note: once you become an employee of the employer, you will have the right to take maternity leave and return to the same job with your employer, for more information on maternity rights for female employees see pregnant at work 2022
Can I still get smp if I didn’t have my normal earnings in the calculation period?
Unfortunately, the calculation period for SMP is fixed and this may mean that you do not qualify for SMP if your earnings were not high enough in the relevant period. your agency cannot ignore lower income, such as a statutory sick pay period, and must use the income you actually received in the calculation period.
if you are paid regularly but your earnings are below £123 per week (April 2022 – April 2023) on average in the eight weeks or two months before week 15 before your baby is born, you will not have earned enough to get smp, but you should apply to jobcentre plus for maternity allowance instead, see below.
If you are not paid regularly, for example, you are paid on commission or you are not paid during school holidays, the calculation period of your earnings is calculated as follows:
if you are paid weekly at irregular intervals look for the last payday before the end of the 15th week before your baby is due. this is the last day of the calculation period. Count back eight weeks from that date and find the last normal pay day before that date. this is the first day of the calculation period. Add up all of your gross earnings within those two dates. Divide by the number of days in that period and multiply by 7. This will give you your average weekly earnings, which must be over £123 to qualify for SMP.
if you are paid monthly at irregular intervals look for the last payday before the end of the 15 weeks before your baby is due. this is the last day of the calculation period. Count back eight weeks from that date and find the last normal pay day before that date. this is the last day of the calculation period. Add your gross earnings within those two dates. Divide by the number of full months between those dates and multiply by 12. Then divide by 52 to find your average weekly earnings, which must be greater than £123 per week to qualify for SMP.
Your agency will determine if you qualify for smp when you give them your matb1. if you are unsure, you can contact the hm customs and revenue employee helpline on 0300 200 3500.
when can i get smp?
The earliest you can start your SMP is 11 weeks before your expected week of delivery. You can work until the baby’s due date, unless:
In these situations, your SMP will start the day after delivery or your first day off work. therefore, if you call in sick on a wednesday, your smp period will start on thursday. If you give birth before the start of your maternity leave, your SMP period will start the day after your actual date of birth.
How long in advance do I have to give to get smp?
To get smp, you must send the correct notice to your agency. You must provide your agency with the following information at least 28 days before you want to start your SMP, or as soon as possible. If your agency requests it, you must put it in writing or confirm it by email, indicating that:
- is pregnant
- the expected week of delivery
- the date you want to start your maternity pay, and
- you must provide your matb1 certificate
If you want to change the date your maternity pay begins, you must notify your agency of the new date at least 28 days before the new date or the old date, whichever is earlier. if there’s a good reason why that’s not possible, let your agency know as soon as reasonably possible.
please note that if you are an employee and are entitled to maternity leave, you must notify your employer no later than 15 weeks before your baby is due, see pregnant at work 2021
What can I do if my agency does not pay the smp correctly?
if you think your agency has made a mistake or you are having difficulty with your agency’s smp payment, you should contact your agency and ask them to look into it. If they are unsure, they can get advice on how to pay and claim SMP from the HMRC Employer Helpline on 0300 200 3200.
if you can’t resolve it, you can get further advice from the hm customs and revenue clerks helpline on 0300 200 3500. if your agency is not paying smp correctly, you can contact the payment disputes team hmrc legal on 0300 322 9422.
my agency has told me that they don’t have enough money to pay my smp. what can i do?
Your agency can request advance funds from your hmrc account office if you don’t have enough money to pay statutory payments, such as smp. If your agency doesn’t pay your SMP, you can claim it from HMRC’s legal payment disputes team on 0300 322 9422.
My agency has gone into liquidation. can i still get my smp?
if your agency has gone into liquidation, you can claim your smp directly from hmrc’s legal payment disputes team on 0300 322 9422.
Can I do any agency work during my smp period?
Your agency will pay your SMP for up to 39 weeks unless you return to work for your agency sooner. you can work up to 10 days to stay in touch during your smp period without your smp ending. Neither you nor your agency can insist on working during your SMP period, but you can work up to 10 days if work is available. once you work for more than 10 days, you will lose smp for any week you work (even if it’s just for one day).
There are no regulations on how much you should be paid for a day to keep in touch, so it is very important to check with your agency how much you will be paid and whether it will be offset against your smp or paid in addition to your smp.
for more information, see keep in touch during leave.
I don’t qualify for smp for my agency job, but I will receive smp from another employer. can i do any agency work during my smp period?
Before the birth: You can get SMP from another employer and do agency work before the birth without affecting your SMP. this applies regardless of when you started working for the agency.
after the birth: if you registered with the agency in the 15th week before your baby was born, you can do some work through the agency after the birth without losing your smp.
if you didn’t register with the agency in the 15th week before your baby’s birth, you will lose smp for any week you work for the agency after the birth. You must tell the employer that pays your SMP to stop payments for any weeks you work for the agency after the birth, or you will be overpaid.
For more information, see the rights of parents with more than one job.
Can I get maternity allowance (ma)?
You may be able to claim MA if you can’t get SMP, for example, if you changed jobs while pregnant, don’t earn enough to get SMP, started a new job when you were already pregnant, or are unemployed or self-employed. you do not need to be currently employed or registered with your agency to get ma.
to get ma:
- must have been employed under a labor or agency contract for at least 26 weeks (not necessarily consecutive) in the 66 weeks prior to the expected week of delivery, and
- You have 13 weeks (not necessarily in a row) where you worked and earned more than £30 per week on average.
- if you are unemployed anytime from the 11th week before your baby is due, your ma will start from the 11th week before the expected week of delivery or the date your job ends, if later.
- if you are absent from work for reasons related to pregnancy in the 4 weeks prior to the expected week of delivery. this may include a pregnancy-related illness or termination of maternity for health and safety reasons.
- gives birth early.
- You have paid or been credited with sufficient national insurance contributions during the past two or three tax years that do not overlap with the current calendar year.
You can use weeks from more than one job in your 66-week trial period, and you don’t need to work full-time each week to qualify. It doesn’t matter if no work was provided each week as long as you had an employment contract or contract to provide services through an agency, see below.
You must submit payslips for the 13 weeks in which you earned the most during your 66-week trial period, as the Department of Work and Pensions will use your proof of earnings to calculate your average earnings. you can add earnings from more than one job. may include employment and self-employment. If you do not have pay stubs, you must provide bank statements or other evidence of your income. You will need to submit proof of income of at least £168 per week for 13 weeks to qualify for the full maternity allowance rate of £156.66 per week.
how much does mom cost?
ma is paid by the jobcentre plus for 39 weeks. ma is £156.66 per week (April 2022 – April 2023) for 39 weeks or 90% of your average earnings if less.
ma is not classified as public funds and states that it will not affect future immigration applications. For more information, see the fact sheets on maternity rights and benefits according to your maternity action immigration status.
when can i get ma?
The earliest you can be paid is 11 weeks before your expected week of delivery. In most cases, it’s up to you to decide when you want to stop working. You must tell your employer/agency when you intend to stop working by the 15th week before your baby is due. you must put this date on your maternity benefit application form.
Your maternity allowance will start from the following dates in these circumstances:
In these circumstances, you should notify Ma Claims on 0800 169 0283 and they will start paying your Ma.
how do i claim ma?
The earliest you can claim ma is 15 weeks before your baby is due. You must submit your claim form as soon as possible and notify the Job Plus Center of the date you plan to stop working. The latest you can apply for ma is three months after the date you stop working, as ma can only be retroactive for a maximum of three months, so you may lose some ma if you apply late.
if you are not sure if you will qualify for ma, you should apply for the ma1 form at your local jobcentre plus and make a claim or call the jobcentre plus claim line on 0800 055 6688. you can also print the form online ma1 claim here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/maternity-allowance-claim-form.
If you’re not entitled to MA, they should automatically use the same application form to check if you can get Employment and Support Allowance (maternity) instead (see next section).
If you think your ma has been turned down in error, you should seek further advice from maternity action or local citizens’ councils. You can request a mandatory reconsideration of the decision and an appeal. You usually must request a mandatory reconsideration within 28 days of the denial, but you can request it late.
What counts as 26 weeks of employment for agency work?
You can count any week in which you had an ’employment contract’ or ‘service contract’. this may include any week you are registered with an agency and have an agency contract, regardless of whether work is provided to you.
You must show that you had a contract to provide services through an agency for at least 26 weeks in your 66-week trial period to meet the condition of employment to claim maternity allowance, regardless of whether it was provided to you I work every week. he does not have to be 26 weeks in a row and can use weeks in which he was employed by different employers or agencies. for ma purposes, a week runs from sunday to saturday, so it is important to count each week carefully.
You can count the weeks when there was no work available and this can include weeks when the employer you worked for was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, or you were not working due to illness or annual leave or not no available work was done by your agency.
If your primary claim is denied due to continued employment, you may request a mandatory reconsideration; see question below. You should send the MA Claims Department a copy of your agency contract or ask your agency for proof of employment and/or income.
you should ask the decision maker to consider the following guidance from the dwp decision maker guide, chapter 62, maternity benefits:
62516 The condition of employment is that the applicant has been employed as an employee or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks immediately preceding the expected week of delivery.
Note 2: If a claimant is an agency worker or has a zero-hour contract and is engaged in a contractual relationship through an employment contract or a contract to provide services, the condition of employment is met, regardless whether or not they are provided. with work during the corresponding period.
Can I do any agency work during my ma period?
You are entitled to ma for up to 39 weeks, unless you return to work for your agency sooner. You can work up to 10 days to stay in touch during your MA period without your MA ending. neither you nor your agency can insist on working during your ma period, but you can work up to 10 days if work is available.
once you have worked for more than 10 days during your ma period, you must inform the ma claims department by calling 0800 169 0283. they will consider whether you should be disqualified from the rest of your ma. he should only be disqualified from ma when reasonable in the circumstances. For example, if you only return to work one day a week during your MA period, you only have to lose 1/7 of your MA weekly pay. if you believe your disqualification is unreasonable, you may request a mandatory reconsideration; see next question.
There are no regulations on how much you should be paid for a day to keep in touch, so it is very important to check with your agency how much you will be paid.
For more information on maternity allowance and days to keep in touch, see Keep in touch during leave.
what can i do if my ma is rejected?
If your ma claim is denied, you will receive a decision letter from the ma claims department stating the reason for the denial. You can request a mandatory reconsideration (review) of the decision within 28 days. You can apply late if you have good reasons, like illness, giving birth, or caring for a small baby.
You can request a mandatory reconsideration by phone on 0800 169 0283 or you can send further evidence to the address on your decision letter.
If mandatory reconsideration is refused, you may appeal to a social security court and should seek further advice. see where to go for more help below.
employmentand support allowance (maternity)
you can get that (maternity) for a short period at the time of birth if you don’t qualify for smp or ma but have done some work in the last two or three years, but not recently. you can get that if:
You do not need to complete a work ability assessment. your maternity certificate (form matb1) must be accepted as proof of inability to work for the period beginning 6 weeks before the week the baby is due, up to 14 days after the baby’s due date.
if you are not sure if you will qualify, you should apply for maternity allowance as above and the department for work and pensions will check your national insurance record to see if you can get maternity allowance during the maternity period.
How much does that (maternity) cost?
That’s £77.00 per week for a person over 25 or a single parent over 18 (April 2022 – April 2023). it is paid from six weeks before your baby is born to two weeks after your baby is born. it’s also possible to get that if you can’t work due to illness or disability.
that (maternity) is a contributory benefit and does not qualify as public funds. For more information, see the maternity action fact sheets on maternity rights and benefits based on your immigration status.
How do I claim that?
to claim that (maternity), use the ma1 claim form for maternity allowance. If you are not entitled to MA, you should ask the Department for Work and Pensions to check your National Insurance record to see if you can get that (maternity). Your matb1 maternity certificate should be accepted as proof of inability to work from 6 weeks before your baby is born to 14 days after your baby is born.
If that (maternity) is refused or you are asked to provide medical evidence or attend an assessment, you should seek further advice from the maternity action or local citizens’ councils. You can request a mandatory reconsideration of the decision and an appeal. You usually must request a mandatory reconsideration within 28 days of the denial, but you can request it late.
benefits for families
Are there any benefits I can claim?
once your baby is born, you can claim child benefit. families receiving child benefit will be subject to a high income child benefit charge if one or more parents earn more than £50,000.
If you’re already claiming a child tax credit or a work tax credit, you may be able to claim an additional amount for a new baby or if your income drops or you have sick pay or maternity pay. The first £100 a week of SMP and the entire maternity allowance are ignored as income for tax credit purposes, so you may be entitled to more help during your maternity pay period. You can stay on the child tax credit if you stop working. You should get advice before you file a new Universal Credit application, as this will end your tax credits and may make your Universal Credit situation worse. For more information or to report any change in circumstances, contact the Child Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900 or see: www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit/already-claiming.
You may be able to claim the universal credit (if you are not receiving a work/child tax credit) if you lose your job, have low income or statutory sick pay (SSP), or while on maternity leave. statutory sick pay and statutory maternity pay are largely ignored if you apply for universal credit, but maternity allowance is treated as “unearned income” and is deducted from universal credit. You are not required to look for work if you are the primary caregiver for a child under the age of three or if you have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work.
For more information on Universal Credit, see: www.gov.uk/universal-credit.
For an online calculator, visit www.betteroffcalculator.co.uk.
You can get help with Universal Credit claims through the free Citizen Claims Help Desk: England: 0800 144 8444, Wales: 0800 024 1220, Scotland: 0800 023 2581.
food vouchers and maternity allowance sure start/best start
If you or your partner receive the Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support or Income-Based Job Search Allowance, you may be entitled to Healthy Start Vouchers and a Safe Start Maternity Allowance of £ 500 for your first child (or if there are no other children under 16 in your family) or first multiple birth. claim on form sf100 (sure start), available at your local job plus center or online here, from 11 weeks before your baby is born to 6 months after birth.
If you live in Scotland, you may be eligible for best start grants and best start foods, see: www.mygov.scot/best-start-grant-best-start-foods/.
housing and municipal taxes
You can also get help from your local council with discretionary housing payments, council tax relief or local welfare schemes.
For more information on benefits for families, see: Money for Parents and Babies.
This fact sheet was written in April 2022. It is very important to get up-to-date advice as laws and guidelines change.
This guide is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as legal advice. You are strongly encouraged to obtain personal legal advice on the individual circumstances of your case.
where to go for more help
for information on maternity and fathers’ rights at work and benefits see: www.maternityaction.org.uk
maternity rights advice line:
countrywide (except london) – 0808 802 0029
london (if you live or work in a borough of london) – 0808 802 0057
See also: Aetna Subsidiaries
for advice on labor rights or for an early conciliation if you are thinking of filing a lawsuit
Helpline: 0300 123 11 00 (offers telephone interpretation service)
For information on your rights, see: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
You can call the national citizen service line 03444 111 444
You can get help with Universal Credit claims through the National Free Claims Help Desk: England: 0800 144 8444, Wales: 0800 024 1220, Scotland: 0800 023 2581
For more information on how to find your local Citizens Advice Office, see:
civil legal advice
If you qualify for free legal aid, you can get free legal advice by calling 0345 345 4 345 (translation service available). To check your eligibility, visit www.gov.uk/civil-legal-advice
support service for advice on equality
help and advice on discrimination and human rights www.equalityadvisoryservice.com
Helpline: 0808 800 0082 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. m. to 7 p.m. m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. m. to 2 p.m. m.
text telephone: 0808 800 0084
equality and human rights commission (ehrc)
for information and advice on discrimination law www.equalityhumanrights.com
the online government information service www.gov.uk
work center plus
To make new claims by phone for benefits or request claim forms, including Maternity Allowance and Sure Start Maternity Allowance: 0800 055 6688 Monday to Friday 8am-5pm. to 6 p.m.
for esa/jsa/income support claims: 0800 169 0310 Mon-Fri 8am-5pm. m. to 6 p.m. m.
for maternity allowance claims: 0800 169 0283 Mon – Fri 8am – 6pm
for secure start maternity allowance claims: 0800 169 0140 Monday to Friday 8am-5pm. m. to 6 p.m.
Universal Credit Helpline: For new claims and existing online claims: 0800 328 5644. Mon – Fri 8am – 6pm
hm income & customs (hmrc)
Tax Credit Helpline: 0345 300 3900 Mon-Fri 8am-5pm. m. to 8 p.m. m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. m. to 4 p.m. m., Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. m. to 5 p.m. m.
child benefit: 0300 200 3100 Mon – Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm
for questions about statutory maternity pay, adoption pay, paternity pay, and shared parental pay:
employee helpline 0300 200 3500
employer helpline 0300 200 3200
hmrc legal payment disputes team
if you can’t resolve a dispute about your smp, you can ask hmrc for a formal decision about your entitlement. You can also ask HMRC to pay your SMP if your employer has refused to pay, fired you to avoid paying SMP, or has gone into liquidation. this includes disputes over statutory maternity pay/adoption pay/parental pay/shared parental pay/parent bereavement pay or statutory sick pay
phone: 0300 322 9422
You can also write to the legal payment disputes team at hm revenue and customs, pt operations, legal payment disputes team, bx9 1an.
Bankruptcy service helpline
currently you can only contact the bankruptcy service online.
To find out what you can claim if your employer goes out of business, see: https://www.gov.uk/your-rights-if-your-employer-is-insolvent
network of law centers
To find out if there is a law center in your area, call 020 3637 1330 or visit: www.lawcentres.org.uk/
online benefit calculator and grant search www.turn2us.org.uk
more fact sheets on maternity actions
rights during pregnancy
pregnant at work 2021
time off for prenatal care
health and safety during pregnancy and return to work
quit your job during pregnancy and maternity leave
change jobs or more than one job
pregnant during maternity leave (when pregnant again)
premature births – rights to maternity leave and salary
Spontaneous stillbirths and neonatal death: rights to time off and pay
maternity pay and benefits
questions about maternity pay
money for parents and babies
maternity and paternity leave
rights during maternity leave and return to work
stay in touch while on leave
shared parental leave and payment
time off for working parents
request to change your work schedule or work part time
working hours adapted to children
dismissal, dismissal and discrimination
rights during maternity leave and return to work
dismissal during pregnancy, maternity and parental leave
dealing with problems at work
health and safety, breastfeeding and illness
illness during pregnancy maternity leave and return to work
health and safety during pregnancy and return to work
postpartum depression and depression during pregnancy
Birth Injuries: Rights at Work and Benefits for New Mothers
breastfeeding upon return to work
breastfeed away from home
self-employed, agency and work zero hours
maternity and parental rights for agency workers
maternity and paternity rights for self-employed parents
change jobs or more than one job
zero hour contracts – maternity and paternity
trainees – maternity and paternity rights at work
parents and partners, including same-sex couples
rights at work of parents and partners
shared parental leave and payment
working hours adapted to children
time off for working parents
dealing with problems at work
adoption or surrogacy
adoption permit and salary
time off and payment of parents-surrogacy
shared parental leave and payment – adoption
money for parents and babies
available at www.maternityaction.org.uk