Today the High Court will begin hearing a claim that the fact that Maternity Allowance can be deducted from Universal Credit awards is unfair.
The High Court begins hearing a legal challenge to the treatment of Maternity Allowance in Universal Credit awards today.
Unlike Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance is treated as ‘unearned income’ and is deducted in full from any Universal Credit award. This disadvantages women by up to £5,000 over nine months of maternity leave, compared to those who receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), according to Maternity Action.
It and the Child Poverty Action Group are taking the case to the High Court on the grounds that the treatment of those on Maternity Allowance is unfair. Maternity Action says the case is even more pertinent now due to the big increase in the numbers of women now claiming Universal Credit due to the Covid-19 crisis. This includes pregnant women who have missed out on SMP due to dismissal or redundancy early in pregnancy or being wrongly sent home on Statutory Sick Pay instead of being suspended on full pay.
Maternity Action is also backing Maria Miller’s Pregnancy & Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill which strengthens redundancy protections for pregnant women and new mothers, making it possible to make them redundant only in very limited circumstances. The Bill will be introduced on 8th July. To support it, click here.