NI17A - A guide to Maternity Benefits
Maternity Allowance (MA)
Rates of MA
If you satisfy the employment rule and the earnings rule, you will be entitled to MA for a maximum period of 39 weeks.
The amount you get depends on your gross average weekly earnings. You will get the standard rate of MA, which is £136.78 a week (from 8 April 2013) or 90 per cent of your gross average weekly earnings, if this calculation results in a figure which is less than the standard rate of MA.
If you have paid Class 2 NI contributions at the end of each week in your 13 week earnings period, you will be treated as having enough earnings to receive standard rate MA.
If you hold a small earnings exception for at least 13 weeks in your test period and you have no other earnings you will be treated as having earnings of £30 a week (equal to the MAT) and receive a weekly rate of MA of £27.00 (90 per cent of the MAT).
Self-employed contributions paid by direct debit
Where self-employed NI contributions are paid by direct debit, they are treated as having been paid on the due date, even though they are actually paid monthly in arrears.
Self-employed contributions paid by 6 monthly bill
These bills are sent out every 26 weeks in arrears. To satisfy the MA rules you may need to count some NI contributions which you are due to pay but for which you have not yet been sent a bill. When you claim MA Jobcentre Plus will tell you how many NI contributions you need to pay to qualify for MA.
NOTE: your MA may be delayed if you wait for your bill before you pay your contributions.
If you lose your entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay
If you have qualified for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) from your employer but are taken into legal custody at the start of your Maternity Pay Period (MPP), you lose your entitlement to SMP. If you are taken into legal custody at any time while you are receiving SMP, your SMP will stop immediately. You may be able to claim MA once you have been released.
If your SMP stops because you have started work for an employer who did not employ you in your qualifying week and you subsequently stop work, you may be able to claim MA.
Your employer must give you form SMP1, telling you why your SMP has stopped, together with your maternity certificate (form MATB1) or any other medical evidence that you have given him or her. You will need both forms to claim MA.