Unfortunately, the rules governing statutory maternity pay (SMP) are fairly complex, but to qualify for SMP you need to be employed for 26 weeks as at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. Secondly, between the 23rd week and 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, you need to have average weekly earnings equivalent to the lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions (currently £90). If you are receiving Statutory Sick Pay for these weeks, this will only be paid at a rate of £75.40, so will be below the lower limit. However, even if you do not qualify for SMP, you may still qualify for Maternity Allowance – this is paid at a similar rate.
In relation to your employment generally, it does sound like you may have been treated less favourably because you are pregnant. This could give rise to possible claims in the employment tribunal, including sex discrimination.
As your situation is complicated, I would strongly advise that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
This gives a general overview only, based on the information available at the time of writing. It cannot be relied upon in any particular case. Specific legal advice must always be considered to include consideration as to whether the legal position contained has changed since publication. For further information and advice, please contact Lemon&Co Solicitors on 01793 527141 or visit their website: www.lemon-co.co.uk.
Helen Climance is a solicitor and part of a team of four employment law specialists at Lemon&Co Solicitors,a leading full service law practice based in the centre of Swindon and has been practising employment law since 2002 and has extensive experience of advising employees and employers at all levels. She has successfully brought claims to the employment tribunal and she regularly runs seminars in her field. Away from work, Helen has two children aged seven and four.