Statutory Maternity Leave & Pay (Rough Guide)

Statutory Maternity Leave & Statutory Maternity Pay (Rough Guide)

When women have a new baby, they will need to take time off work to give birth and to look after the newborn during their first weeks or more. It’s a precious time for both mother and baby and the good news is that employed mothers are legally entitled to maternity leave under UK employment law. We'll concentrate purely on the rules for mothers who are employees in this postToday, we’ll take a look at how much time and money mothers are entitled to under Statutory Maternity Leave and what the eligibility requirements are. We’ll concentrate purely on the rules for mothers who are employees in this post. However, we will follow up to cover paternity leave, shared leave and support for self-employed mothers separately, in future guides.

Statutory Maternity Leave Entitlement

Eligible mothers are entitled to take up to 52 weeks of Statutory Maternity Leave:

  • The first 26 weeks (i.e. first 6 months), known as Ordinary Maternity Leave;
  • The last 26 weeks (i.e. months 7 to 12), known as Additional Maternity Leave.

These are the statutory maximums, i.e. mothers do not need to take all 52 weeks off. However, they must take off the first 2 weeks from the date of birth as a minimum, or 4 weeks if they’re factory workers. (They can also arrange to share some of the remaining 50 weeks of their leave with their partner under Shared Parental Leave (‘SPL’) rules, which we’ll cover in the future).

Timing

Statutory Maternity Leave can begin up to 11 weeks prior to the baby’s anticipated due date. It must, however, begin no later than the day after birth if the baby is born early. For eligible mums, Statutory Maternity Leave (& Pay) must also start automatically in the event that the mum-to-be is off work for a medical illness, related to pregnancy, during the 4 weeks prior to the week the baby is due.

Eligibility

For Statutory Maternity Leave in the UK, just two main rules apply in regard to eligibilityThe good news is that, to be eligible for Statutory Maternity Leave in the UK, just two main rules apply. You need to:

a). officially be an employee of a company 1 and
b). give your employer the right amount of advanced notice.

How long you have been employed is not a factor and it also doesn’t matter what you are paid or how many hours you work.

1. Not a ‘worker’, ‘contractor’, ‘office holder’ nor ‘self-employed’ (like a sub-contractor) under UK employment tax law.

Notice should be given at least 15 weeks before the baby’s due date. The notice may need to be in writing, depending on your employer’s preference. It needs to confirm the baby’s likely due date and when you would like to begin the maternity leave. Once notified, your employer then has 28 days to officially confirm the beginning and end dates for that leave.

Statutory Maternity Pay (‘SMP’)

Check out the rules around Statutory Maternity Pay (‘SMP’)Statutory Maternity Pay (‘SMP’) is available to mothers who:

  1. earn £120 minimum per week on average;
  2. have given their employer proof of pregnancy (usually an MATB1 certificate or letter from their doctor/midwife);
  3. have given their employer the correct notice (min. 28 days) of going on Statutory Maternity Leave;
  4. have worked for their employer for a minimum of 26 weeks (6 months) including into the 15th week preceding the anticipated due date;
  5. have not been in police custody during the SMP period.

Those whose income has dropped below an average of £120 per week due to being on furlough during the pandemic may still be eligible for SMP.

How Much Do You Get?

You can receive SMP for up to 39 weeks. For the first 6 weeks, you receive 90% of your average gross weekly earnings. For the remaining 33 weeks if you take them, you receive the lower of £151.97 per week, or 90% of your average gross weekly earnings. They’re paid to you from your employer with tax and National Insurance deducted as if they’re part of your usual wages or salary. (Figures correct at August 2021).

Your Employment Rights

When you are away from work on Statutory Maternity Leave, a number of statutory employment rights are still protected. These include your right to a possible pay rise, your right to accrue holiday leave and your right to return to work when your maternity leave comes to an end.

Company Maternity Schemes

Some employers have their own Maternity/Paternity schemes. These must be at least equal to the statutory leave and pay schemes, however, many offer even greater allowances and benefits. So, always check with your employer or HR department to see what may be available.

Try the Online Tool

Use the Government's online tool to check if you are eligible to claim maternity/paternity leave and pay (as well as Maternity Allowance for self-employed mums)There’s a great online tool that you can use to check whether you are eligible to claim maternity/paternity leave and pay (as well as Maternity Allowance, which may help self-employed mums). It’ll also calculate how much you could receive. Head over to the Government tool here, ensure you have everything ready in the ‘Before you start’ section and click the green ‘Start now’ button.

If You’re Not Eligible

If you’re not eligible for Statutory Maternity Leave or Pay, other Government help options may be available. For example, for the self-employed, those who have recently stopped working, or are receiving one or more benefits. Click the bold blue link for more details.

Unpaid Parental Leave

Did you know that it’s possible to take unpaid parental leave if your child is under 18? In fact, eligible employees are entitled to up to 18 weeks off work before their child reaches the age of 18. Rules apply, of course, including a maximum of 4 weeks of unpaid parental leave being allowed in any one year. We’ll cover eligibility and the finer detail in a separate post in the near future, so visit again soon for the full picture.

Outstanding Childcare in Streatham, for Your Baby, Toddler or Under-5

Little Cedars Nursery is in Streatham, near Tooting, Furzedown & BalhamAre you looking for a high quality nursery in Streatham for your baby, toddler or under-five child? Little Cedars Day Nursery offers outstanding childcare in Streatham, close to Streatham Common, Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting and Balham.  We’re one of the very best nurseries in SW16 and open on weekdays throughout the year. We’d love to show you and your little one around, so you can see the setting in action, and to answer any questions that you might have. Please select an option:

Screen Time for Children – How Much is Too Much?

Screen time for children - how much is too much?

Is screen time healthy for children?Recent studies show that use of connected screens and devices by children, including under-fives, is growing fast. The pandemic appears to have increased kids’ screen use too, as children have spent more time indoors and less time playing ‘in person’ with friends.

The big question for parents is: is all this screen time healthy for children? In this article, we’ll take a look …

First, Some Recent Statistics

According to Childwise, the leading research experts for children and young people, children are spending more and more time on connected devices. These are devices like mobiles, tablets, smart TVs, virtual assistants like Alexa and so on. Most feature a screen but all can connect to the Internet, to other devices and/or to people via Wi-Fi or data connection.

Here’s what the recent research has to say about children’s use of connected devices:

  • 50% of all children aged between 5 and 10 own a mobile.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of all children own a mobile, with the majority of them having one by the time they’re 7. Pretty much all of them are mobile phone owners by the age of 11.
  • Over 75% of under fives have access to a connected deviceOver 75% of children under five have access to a connected device, with up to 60% of preschoolers actually owning their own.
  • Under-fives were found to be using tablets on average for 9 hours a week.
  • Over a quarter of preschoolers were also found to have access to games consoles.
  • 83% of children have access to the Internet in their bedrooms.
  • Over half of children surveyed stated that they kept their phone next to their bed when sleeping.
  • 11 and 12-year-olds spend, on average, 4.2 hours per day online. This has grown significantly since the preceding year’s report, when it was 3.3 hours per day.
  • Over a quarter of all children surveyed are spending 4 to 6 hours per day online.
  • Children are watching, on average, 3.3 hours (under five: 3 hours) of video content every day, with TikTok and YouTube being their favourite video platforms.
  • The number of homes with a virtual assistant (e.g. Alexa etc.) has risen to 39%.
  • Due to the Pandemic, 45% of school children surveyed said they were worried that they might be falling behind at school, while 62% said that they were feeling lonely.

Most figures in the surveys had increased in the last 12 months, although there were occasional exceptions.

Are Parents Choosing the Content Their Children Access?

According to findings of the research, half of preschoolers found online content without parental input and 60% of children aged 3 to 4 are more than capable of deciding which apps they wanted to use.

Toddlers now confidently navigate digital platforms and use touchscreen devices unaided“Parents have always played a huge role in curating what [under-fives] consume and how their time is spent, but toddlers are now confidently navigating digital platforms for themselves, and using touchscreen devices with purpose and determination.” (Childwise)

Is Screen Time All Bad?

It’s generally accepted that too much screen time for children is not healthy for them. There are many reasons for this and we explore a few of the issues below …

  • Children need to keep fit and active rather than spending too much time inactive, in front of electronic screens. Exercise is incredibly important for children, whether they’re under five or older.
  • Also, it’s not healthy for them to disengage from the real world too much. Few ‘real world’ skills like physical, social interactions and honing of gross motor skills are possible when reliance is placed only on the virtual world through handheld and connected devices.
  • Screen time undertaken close to bedtime is also known to be a brain stimulant and that can adversely affect sleep patterns and the quality of sleep. This, in turn, can adversely affect concentration and energy levels and ultimately their ability to function and to learn optimally.
  • Some medical professionals and scientists say Some medical professionals and scientists say that the ‘RF wireless radiation’ emitted by Wi-Fi connected screens and devices may carry potential health risksthat the ‘RF wireless radiation’ emitted by Wi-Fi connected screens and devices may carry potential health risks particularly, they argue, for pregnant women, their unborn foetuses and the young. The very young, of course, have brains that are still at a critical development stage. For this reason, the experts concerned advocate that access to devices like mobile phones should be limited, removed from children’s bedrooms at night or, at the very least, placed in Flight Mode when possible. Using devices wired instead of using Wi-Fi apparently reduces risks. Use of them in hands-free mode is another useful approach, so that the devices are not so close to youngsters’ heads. We’re not experts ourselves, but these measures seem like sensible precautions.
  • Given the statistics about children, even toddlers, being able to access what they want on connected devices, some automatic Parental Controls would also seem sensible. For example, software from security companies like Norton allow great control over which websites can or can’t be accessed by children, and for how long.

“The battle to forge a healthy digital lifestyle is now a very real consideration for parents” (Childwise).

Parents need to control online content to safeguard childrenWhile time spent by children on connected screens and devices is rising, it’s not all bad news. The pandemic has also seen an increase in the time that parents have been spending with children, including on shared screen viewing as well as on other pastimes like baking, crafts and family activities. At the end of the day, it’s all about a healthy balance and, of course, adult supervision to ensure children’s wellbeing at all times.

Indeed, despite the sometimes alarming statistics, parents are in a prime position to influence what their children are exposed to on screens and connected devices. As such, that’s a golden opportunity to encourage content that’s not only stimulating and fun, but also educational. Programmes about nature or science are obvious examples, but there are many others.

Technology & Screen Time at Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

When it comes to screen time for under-fives at Little Cedars Nursery, we understand both the benefits and the pitfalls. Technology has a great many benefits when used correctly and indeed is part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum at the nursery. However, for obvious reasons, any time spent online or with electronic screens is stringently monitored and controlled by our childcare professionals. We aim to maximise the positive benefits of technology, while at the same time keeping children as safe as possible. We also, of course, know the importance of physical activities and active play at the setting so, at the end of the day, it’s about getting the balance right.

Nursery Places in Streatham, Near Furzedown, Balham & Tooting

If yLittle Cedars Nursery is in Streatham, near Streatham Common, Streatham Hill, Streatham Park. Tooting, Furzedown & Balhamou are looking for a high quality nursery or pre-school place for your baby or child in and around Streatham, please do consider Little Cedars Nursery. We’re in Aldrington Road, SW16, so we’re also suitable for those looking for nurseries and pre-schools near to Furzedown, Balham, Tooting, Streatham Common, Streatham Hill and Streatham Park. Please choose a contact option below to get in touch: