Maternity allowance is a benefit given to pregnant or new moms in certain countries, such as the United Kingdom and Wales. This benefit allows expecting or new mothers to receive paid time off from their jobs while caring for their child or to take leave due to pregnancy complications.
In the United States, Maternity Allowance varies based on employers, and is not federally mandated to be a paid leave allowance. Instead, federal law requires that employers with more than 50 employees offer FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), which guarantees an employee their same job or level of pay when they return, as well as up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12 month period. Employers with less than 50 employees are not required to offer paid or unpaid maternity leave.
Determine your eligibility for Statutory Maternity Pay from your employer if living in the UK. You are eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay if you have worked for an employer continuously for 26 weeks. You are not eligible to claim your pay until your 15th week of pregnancy.
Statutory Maternity Pay in the UK is paid out at 90 per cent of your weekly pay for the first six weeks of leave, and then for the remaining 33 weeks will be the lower of either 90 per cent of your weekly pay or £124.88 (as of 2010).
File for Maternity Allowance if you do not qualify for statutory maternity leave from your employer. Maternity Allowance is issued by the UK government, similar to disability coverage in the United States. To qualify for coverage, you must not be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay, but paying into National Insurance Contributions and employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks.
In the United States, you can also check with your employer about eligibility for disability coverage and paid maternity leave. Keep in mind though that each employer differs in company policy, and each state has differing laws regarding eligibility for disability coverage in regards to pregnancy.
Speak to your manager and/or your Human Resources representative. Notify them that you will be utilising Statutory Maternity Pay if you qualify for it, or the Maternity Allowance. They will then provide you with the necessary forms to fill out with Jobcentre Plus, the UK government office that handles these claims.
Determine your current weekly earnings. Maternity Allowance is paid at a standard weekly rate of £124.88, or 90 per cent of your average gross weekly earnings, whichever is less.
In the U.S., each employer had different ways of paying maternity leave. Some employers provide full pay for six or eight weeks, or sometimes longer, while others provide a percentage of the employee's salary during maternity leave. Calculate the pay rate according to your company's standards.
Complete the forms and await confirmation from Jobcentre Plus on whether you qualify for Maternity Allowance benefits. Typically this takes about four to six weeks, so you want to be sure that you fill out the paperwork as soon as possible.