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Maternity leave

Okay! I need some advice please!

The past year I've worked for a small family run business doing all there administration. I'm now 29 weeks pregnant about to submit my claim form for maternity leave and they've just told me they can't afford to pay me maternity leave if I'm not there as business hasn't exactly been booming.

They have said I'm welcome to keep my job if I take a part time contract which will allow the government to pay me maternity however I'm in the process of getting a house from the government (Me and my long term partner split during the 13th week of pregnancy and he left me with no home - I'm now going to become a single mum). When I go into a council house they will of course check if an afford to pay the rent and not get in debt etc. But I don't know what to do because it looks like I'm going to be either losing my job or losing the opportunity to get a house and be able to provide for my little one.

Absolutely torn at the fact they have done this to me knowing I'm expecting a baby in less than 11 weeks! If anyone knows of anything that I can do please let me know 😢

9 Replies

there is no such thing they cannot afford. If you have been an employee since before you got pregnant, with a contract and earn at least 113£ per week, you are entitled to receive maternity pay. you can always use this site to get advice-

if you are entitled, and your employer refuses to pay, contact ACAS for advice


and don't worry if you are not entitled to maternity pay, you can always apply for maternity allowance in jobcentre.


also, don't sign any contracts without getting legal advice.


They are lying! You are entitled to maternity pay, approx £140/ week or 90% of your salary (whichever is lower). Your company pay you this and then claim it back off government so technically is costs them nothing.

If you have not been there long enough then they will not give you maternity pay but you should get maternity allowance by contacting the job centre (same rates as maternity pay) as long as you have been paying tax and NI for so many months.

You do not have to agree to a part time contract. They are not allowed to sack you for having a baby so this "we will keep you on" is not a favour. If you are forced to leave, the take your company to an employment tribunal within 6 weeks for discrimination.

Good luck x


Also if you have a low income, you may be entitled to Housing Benefit. Ask the the Council for information about this! Xx


The company doesn't get to claim back the pay from the government, that's a common misconception- the company pays you, but as long as you tick all the boxes they have to pay it. If you look on website it'll tell you all the criteria and what to next if they're not following the law.


Sorry, but what jaxiclemaxicle is saying is just wrong, althoughthingandgeorge isn't quite right either. ALL employers can reclaim at least 92% of STATUTORY maternity pay, and small businesses can apply for more help (up to 103% and payment in advance so they have the money back before they've even paid it out). SMP is paid at the higher of 90% of your wage and £140.98 for the first 6 weeks then the lower of the two for up to a further 33 weeks and it's entirely the mothers decision when to end her may leave and pay. SMP is a statutory entitlement and the employer has no choice whether to pay it or not if you meet the criteria. Even then, because of the reclaim, after the first 6 weeks, it's costing the employer at most £11.28/week.

Your employer only has discretion over whether or not to pay occupational maternity pay in addition to statutory maternity pay. The cost of this would fall entirely on your employer and they're unlikely to pay that by the sounds of things, but check your employment contract - if it's part of your contract then they still have to pay it as that's the contract you've entered into with them.

With regards to part time and keeping your job on, you have a legal entitlement to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave. If you take up to 26 weeks of leave, you are entitled to return to THE SAME job and if you take more than 26 you are entitled to return to the same or similar job which has the same or better terms and conditions. As long as you return within the 52 weeks, your employer cannot reduce your terms and conditions, hours etc. These are statutory rights and if your employer is not holding to them you can challenge them at an employment tribunal.

Please don't allow your employer to bully you in this way. Show them the information and remind them of your statutory rights. It is their responsibility as an employer to ensure they can deal with issues such as maternity, not yours as the employee.

1 like

In addition to Fionalcarney's excellent reply, can I add that if you need more information or advice you might take a look at They also have an advice line if you want to talk it through with someone.


Just wanted to add to the advice that citizens advice can be a good source of support too. Don't worry re the council house. One way or another you will be able to afford it through either maternity pay or benefits - citizens advice can advise on what you can claim. Be careful not to take any 'offers' from work without advice, as the only thing that might get you into trouble with claiming is if they think you've made decisions to put yourself in a worse sitiation. The system and maternity laws are in place to protect you.


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