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Maternity pay- who pays it?


I have a question about maternity pay, and as I don't really have a clue about how it all works!

When I started my job, I was told that if I got pregnant I wouldn't get any pay for it but was entitled to maternity leave and my job would be waiting for me afterwards.

I used to think that maternity pay was paid from the government like job seekers allowance, and that some employers topped it up and paid more...but I'm not sure whether this was completely ignorant of me! So I thought my employer was saying to me that I would just get the basic maternity pay from the government but no extra. I didn't worry because this would be fine as my husband is earning enough and although we won't be rich, we will be able to manage.

However I've been looking into it now and am not sure if my understanding was correct or not. Does it come from the government, or is it supposed to come from your employer? I also know there are 2 types of maternity pay as well depending on your circumstances.

I work 40 hours a week, and have been with my employer 1 year next week. It is a charity and money is always tight, always trying to do fundraising etc... so I can understand that if someone is coming in to cover my job, there would be no money to pay me anything as well.

Sorry for my complete ignorance on this! I just don't understand! I'm worried that I won't get any money at all when I'm on maternity leave! That would be very tricky!

Help anyone?



  • I'm not sure of the specific ins and outs. I'm not sure why your employer told you no maternity pay. As far as I know this is a legal right. It is certainly funded by national insurance which charity or otherwise they will be paying for everyone they employ. There are some reasons you may not be entitled to maternity pay, but I think that is when for example you work less than sixteen hours a week, but even then, there is maternity allowance which you claim directly through the government.

    Check your contract over as if you are working full time I'm not sure how they could legally deny you statutory maternity pay. They aren't paying this to you as such, it is simply deducted from the ni contributions that have been deducted from all employee's pay. Ie, they have four employees and the ni for one week for everyone is ??225. Your smp is say ??125. Therefore rather than paying the ??225 to the government, they pay you the smp, and pay ??100 to the government.
  • Ok...thank you that makes a bit more sense. At the time I wasn't thinking of having a baby so I didn't take it in too much. But she may have been saying that I wouldn't continue to get paid. I know that in my previous job working for the council, they have a very good maternity package which is more than just the statutory, so in my mind, I thought this was what she was talking about!
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