Am I entitled to maternity pay: ask the expert


I am currently not working and 11 weeks pregnant. I hope to start a part-time 16 hours a week job in two weeks’ time and work there for five months on a fixed-term temporary contract. Am I entitled to any maternity pay? I think I’m not entitled to SMP, but am I entitled to Maternity Allowance? My partner works 17 hours per week and we receive child and working tax credits and some housing and council tax benefit.

Answer by Tracey Guest

You will not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (to qualify for SMP you must have been employed by the same employer continuously for at least 26 weeks into the 15th week before the week your baby is due).

You might get Maternity Allowance if you’ve been employed and/or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in your ‘test period’ (66 weeks up to and including the week before the week your baby is due) – part weeks count as full weeks – and you earned £30 a week averaged over any 13 weeks in your “test period”.

Carly Forrest helped in the preparation of this answer.

Tracey GuestTracey Guest is head of employment and a partner at Slater Heelis in Manchester. She specialises in employment law and is also a working mum Meet our Panel of Experts

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One comment

  1. Anonymous says:
    26/06/2012 at 12:00 am  

    I currently earn about £55/week which means I do not pay Tax or NI.
    I am due to have my next child in October and I think I will qualify for MA because my employer cannot pay me SMP due to low earnings. I have worked the ‘test period’ and I earn £30+ a week.
    As I think the self-employed can (regardless of earnings) could I also pay my NI contributions for the ‘test period’ to qualify for the full MA or do I unfairly assume I will only recieve 90% of my earnings because it is less?

    Editor’s notes: Questions to our experts should be sent via the Advice & Support page so that they can get back to you directly if they need more information. For more information on Maternity Allowance see

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