Pregnancy and employment


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Pregnancy and employment

If you are pregnant, you are entitled to maternity pay. There are a few things you need to do to get it.

This is the standard kind of maternity pay. It comes from your employer, and there are 3 steps to getting it:

  • tell your employer you’re pregnant
  • confirm your pregnancy with a form or letter from your doctor or midwife – you’ll need to do this at least 15 weeks before your due date
  • give your employer at least 28 days’ notice of when you’d like your maternity pay to start

You can do most of this at the same time you arrange your maternity leave.

Your employer will pay you in the same way you get your usual pay. You can check how much you’ll get in advance.

Telling your employer you are pregnant

Once you’re happy to tell your employer you’re pregnant (for example, after your 12-week scan) it’s best to let them know in writing, and to keep a copy.

You have rights while you’re pregnant at work. These rights include protection from discrimination and paid time off for antenatal appointments. You shouldn’t have to worry about telling your employer you’re pregnant. It’s discrimination to sack you, cut your hours or treat you unfairly in any other way because of your pregnancy.

If you you’ve been treated unfairly because of your pregnancy you should look at your options for challenging discrimination. Sacking you because you’re pregnant will be unfair dismissal as well as discrimination.

You’ll still get your maternity pay if your employer sacks you to avoid paying your statutory maternity pay and you’ve been working for them for at least 8 weeks.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re worried about telling your employer you’re pregnant.

Confirming your pregnancy and due date

You don’t need a test by your doctor. A pregnancy test from your pharmacy will suffice. Here is some more information about your pregnancy.

To get your maternity pay, you’ll need to give your employer proof that you’re pregnant. Your proof should also show your due date. You should do this at least 15 weeks before your due date. You can show them a maternity certificate (form MATB1) that you’ll get from your midwife or doctor after your 20-week scan.

Contractual maternity pay is an extra benefit some employers offer. It’s paid in the same way as your normal pay.

Check your contract or ask your employer what you need to do, as it could be different from getting statutory maternity pay. For example, you might need to repay some contractual maternity pay if you don’t go back to work after your maternity leave. You might also be able to get details from a staff handbook or your union or staff association.  

If you’d like help understanding your contractual maternity pay or have problems getting it from your employer, contact your nearest Citizens Advice

Pregnancy and employment – Get maternity allowance

You might be able to claim Maternity Allowance from the government if you can’t get statutory or contractual maternity pay. You can apply using the Maternity Allowance claim form – the form tells you where to send it.

If you’re pregnant and claiming Maternity Allowance and your employer won’t give you statutory maternity pay, there’s some extra paperwork. Your employer should have given you a form called ‘SMP1’, saying why they won’t pay statutory maternity pay. You’ll need to send this with your claim form.

If your employer refuses to pay statutory maternity pay

Contact Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if in you are pregnant and your employer won’t pay you statutory maternity pay and you think they should. Explain why you think you have a right to statutory maternity pay. HMRC will confirm whether you should get statutory maternity pay.

You’ll need to contact HMRC within 6 months of when your employer tells you they won’t pay your statutory maternity pay.

Your employer has to give you their reasons on a form called ‘SMP1’. Have this form ready when you call HMRC – or tell them if you weren’t given it.

HMRC Statutory Payments Disputes Team
PT Operations
North East England
Tel: 0300 322 9422

If HMRC thinks you should get statutory maternity pay, they’ll tell your employer to pay you. And if your employer still doesn’t pay, HMRC will fine them and pay you directly.

If you can’t contact HMRC, the National Insurance: general enquiries helpline can give advice about statutory payments. Telephone: 0300 200 3500

Appeal an HMRC decision

You can appeal to the tax tribunal if HMRC support your employer. You can also ask HMRC to look at their decision again if something’s changed, or if you have new information.

Before you appeal, it’s a good idea to contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help.

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