1. 8. Will this affect my Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)? Your SMP should be paid through the payroll in the normal way and your employer is reimbursed for your SMP (including the first 6 weeks at 90%) by HM Revenue and Customs, see below on help for employers. This may protect you against dismissal or unfair treatment if you are unable to work for childcare reasons: you have been employed by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth. As you have already passed the 15th week before your baby is due and your employer has confirmed that you qualify for SMP, going onto furlough will not affect your maternity leave and pay. There is guidance for employers on the Health and Safety Executive’s website here. The NEU will vigorously defend members in such circumstances. In England and Wales you can also apply to your local authority for a discretionary reduction in your council tax bill. For more on the Sure Start Maternity Grant or Best Start Grant in Scotland and Healthy Start vouchers, see: https://www.gov.uk/sure-start-maternity-grant/how-to-claim, https://www.mygov.scot/best-start-grant-best-start-foods/. You will also need to give them your MATB1 maternity certificate which you can get once you’re 20 weeks pregnant. See the questions in this section on health and safety protection and a model letter that you can use to write to your employer. 16, require employers to take the following action to remove any risks identified: I am asking for the following reasonable adjustments at work [give details of what adjustments you have discussed with your employer or what is needed to keep you safe at work]. Is that right? If you are not able to take annual leave because of coronavirus, an amendment to the Working Time Regulations states that you can now carry forward up to 20 days’ untaken annual leave up to April 2022. My maternity leave has just ended and I’m on annual leave that was arranged some time ago. You should tell your employer you are contacting HMRC in advance as this may prompt them to pay your SMP correctly. From the 1st August employers were expected to contribute to more of your wage costs, including paying your National Insurance Contributions and pension contributions. 12. You should contact HMRC to arrange to voluntarily pay your NICs in advance. If I take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or as an accommodation because of COVID-19, can I still take maternity leave after I give birth? It’s important to talk to your employer to try to resolve it as this is a very new scheme and many employers are concerned about claiming the wrong amount. You can only take shared parental leave/pay up to a year from your baby’s birth. 3. covered by social insurance (PRSI) You must start your maternity leave before your baby is due. A second SEISS grant is available for August to October 2020. Guidance states: For employees on fixed pay, claims for full or part time employees furloughed on return from family-related statutory leave should be calculated against their salary, before tax, not the pay they received whilst on family-related statutory leave. You should seek further legal advice as these may be difficult claims to bring in the current circumstances. Pregnant women continue to be entitled to 52 weeks on maternity leave and 39 weeks of maternity pay but do not have to take the full period. You will need to fill in Child Benefit Claim form CH2 found online and send it to the Child Benefit Office. Yes, if you are currently receiving Maternity Allowance or you are going to be claiming Maternity Allowance it will not affect your eligibility for help under the scheme providing you meet the eligibility conditions in the next question. There are rules on when and how to claim your paid leave and if you want to change your dates. If you are not eligible for Universal Credit because of your household income but you are not well enough to work or you are isolating because you or a family member has coronavirus symptoms, you may be able to claim Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance. Your employer must take reasonable action to remove any health and safety risks by: Note: a maternity suspension will last until you are 36 weeks pregnant as your employer can trigger your maternity leave/pay from that point if you are absent from work wholly or partly because of pregnancy. If you are requesting a maternity suspension on full pay because your employer is unable to provide safe work during your pregnancy. If your colleagues have been furloughed because of the pandemic, your employer must not treat you unfairly because of your pregnancy and must provide you with furlough and/or health and safety protection. For more information see this. If you are dismissed or treated unfairly you may have a claim for unfair dismissal (if you have two years’ service), automatic unfair dismissal or detrimental treatment (from day one of employment) and/or sex/pregnancy discrimination. If some staff are on furlough because there is not enough work to do, your employer must consider whether you can return to your normal job after maternity leave or whether to offer furlough. If your employer is unable to pay, is insolvent or refuses to pay you should contact the Statutory Payment Disputes Team on 0300 0560 630 or 0300 322 9422. The CJRS was due to end on 31st October but is now being extended until March 2021. It may be pregnancy discrimination if your employer has failed to assess the risks in pregnancy and make reasonable adjustments. Your employer may be able to claim help with the cost of your wages while you are suspended under the furlough scheme. They must allow you do so if you are claiming Maternity Allowance. To qualify for Maternity Allowance you need to show that you have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due. All workers and employees who are paid through PAYE, with tax and National Insurance deducted at source, are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay if you meet the normal qualifying conditions. In all other circumstances it is up to you to decide when you want to start your leave. The Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations 2020 state that Covid-19 is a serious and imminent danger to public health and that pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions are classed as vulnerable. ACAS will help you try to resolve it initially through ‘early conciliation’ with your employer. The 15th week before your baby is due is the week beginning 3rd May 2020. If you and your employer did not specifically agree that your new part-time hours would begin at the end of your maternity leave, it would normally be assumed that this is the case, for example, you would normally accrue annual leave based on your full-time hours up to the end of your maternity leave, but it is important to talk to your employer to reach an agreement about this. What should I do if I can’t manage to pay bills? This protection comes from the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, reg. However, if this is not successful, you should make a formal request for flexible work. As pregnant women are classed as vulnerable and are advised to be particularly careful to follow social distancing, your employer has a legal obligation to provide you with safe work in accordance with Government guidance or suitable alternative work from home. Maternity Action has written to the Government to ask them to address some of the gaps in protection for pregnant women and new parents under the Self-employed Income Support Scheme. 3. Your employer cannot force you to start your maternity leave early. His senses of hearing, smell, and touch are developed and functional. For more information on maternity pay see: https://maternityaction.org.uk/advice/maternity-pay-questions/. However, you only have to give 8 weeks’ notice to return to work early if your employer informed you in writing of the date that your 52 week maternity leave period would end. For more information on Parental Leave, see: https://www.gov.uk/parental-leave. In order to qualify for Maternity Allowance you must be employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due. No, you are only entitled to SSP if you are signed off sick by your midwife/GP or you are self-isolating because you or a family member has coronavirus symptoms. If you are on a low income you may be eligible for legal aid for advice on discrimination claims: https://www.gov.uk/civil-legal-advice. stay on maternity leave for up to 52 weeks, take some shared parental leave if you returned to work within a year of the birth and have not used all your. Your employer must also take into account Government guidance from 2nd December 2020 which says that all employees who can work from home should do so. You can also apply for discretionary housing payments from your local authority if you get help with your rent through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. If your average weekly earnings are less than the statutory rate you will get 90% of your average weekly earnings throughout your SMP period. When maternity leave can start early If you’re absent from work. Government guidance on furlough is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. For more information on Keeping-in-touch days for self-employed women see our information sheet here: https://maternityaction.org.uk/advice/maternity-and-parental-rights-for-self-employed-parents/. If you did not use up all your maternity leave and pay you may be able to take any untaken leave/pay as shared parental leave but you need to check eligibility carefully as it is very complex. You should ask your employer to confirm in writing why you have not been allowed to return to work or why you have not been paid for furlough and you must contact ACAS within three months (less one day) on 0300 123 11 00 from the date of dismissal or act of discrimination if you want to start a tribunal claim. 2. If you are unable to work during the pandemic for health and safety reasons, your employer should suspend you on full pay if there is no suitable alternative work available. You will need to ensure you claim Universal Credit during the monthly assessment period in which your income is reduced during a Parental Leave period. Claims for those on variable hours/pay, returning from statutory leave should be calculated using the higher of either: Government guidance says when working out your average pay if you have variable hours, employers should not count any calendar days where the employee was on a period of: This also applies to claims before 30th October 2020. If these records are not available, employers may use the pay rate to work back from gross pay. You can ask for help completing this letter from your union, your local Citizens Advice Bureau, local charities and from Maternity Action’s advice services. You need a ‘CN’ (case reference) number to use when you apply for money you are owed; you can get this from the appointed insolvency practitioner. Legal ) rate of SMP is based on your average earnings if they are unable to work you give! 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