Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance

What is the difference between Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance?

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid to employees who qualify by their employer. It is still subject to tax and National Insurance. Employers are able to recover some of the costs associated with SMP.

Maternity Allowance (MA)  is paid to people who are not eligible for SMP. You could get either.

  • £139.58 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less) for up to 39 weeks
  • £27 a week for up to 14 week

You will not be able to get SMP if:

  • you started working for your employer after you became pregnant
  • you are self-employed
  • you leave work before the 25th week of pregnancy (15 weeks before your baby is due)

You will be able to get Maternity Allowance instead of SMP if:

  • you have been self-employed and paid Class 2 National Insurance (including Voluntary National Insurance) for at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby is due
  • OR, you were employed for at least 26 weeks in the last 66 weeks (you can have had different jobs and periods of unemployment)
  • AND, you have earned or been classed as earning £30 a week or more in at least 13 weeks - the weeks don't have to be together


I am employed as a nanny, am I entitled to Maternity Pay?

As long as you were employed before falling pregnant AND you earn at least £112 per week AND you are still employed in week 25 of pregnancy, 15 weeks before your baby's expected due date, you will be entitled to receive SMP. Your employer may have additional contractual provision for maternity pay. During your maternity leave you also continue to accrue paid holiday, which is paid at your full rate of pay. To get maternity pay you need to give your employer either the MATB1 certificate that your doctor or midwife will provide you with after the 20th week of pregnancy, or a letter from your doctor or midwife confirming your pregnancy, or that your baby has been born in the case of premature birth or stillbirth.

My employer has refused maternity pay with an SMP1 form, can I get Maternity Allowance?

If your employer has refused to pay SMP on the grounds that you have not worked for them for long enough, you do not earn enough or you are no longer working for them in week 25 of pregnancy you may be eligible to claim Maternity Allowance. You can verify your entitlement here.

I am self-employed, can I get maternity pay?

No. As a self-employed nanny you will need to claim Maternity Allowance.

How do I claim Maternity Allowance?

You will need to print off form MA1 and send it to the address on the form.