About Maternity Allowance
Maternity Allowance is paid weekly to help you take time off work to have a baby. It’s paid for a maximum of 18 weeks.
The current rate for Maternity Allowance is £204.19 a week, paid directly into your bank account. From 1 October 2017, this rate will change to £209.51 a week.
One allowance is paid per pregnancy. The amount is not increased if you have twins or triplets.
The Maternity Allowance is one of two maternity benefits that we offer. The other is the Maternity Grant.
Maternity Grant: single payment
How to claim Maternity Allowance
Your doctor or midwife will give you an application form no earlier than 13 weeks before your baby is due.
If you don’t have all the contributions or credits you need to get a full rate Maternity Allowance, you may still be able to receive a reduced rate. Contact us to find out more.
Eligibility for Maternity Allowance
Your entitlement for Maternity Allowance is based on your Social Security contributions in a relevant quarter.
- have paid full contributions for at least 13 weeks before the end of your relevant quarter
- for full rate Maternity Allowance, have full credits or contributions for all three months in your relevant quarter
- for reduced rate Maternity Allowance, have full contributions or credits for at least one month in your relevant quarter
If you are staying in another country when your baby is born, the contribution requirements are different. You must have full contributions or credits in all three months of your relevant quarter.
About relevant quarters
The year is split into four quarters:
- January, February, March (first quarter)
- April, May, June (second quarter)
- July, August, September (third quarter)
- October, November, December (fourth quarter)
You can work out when your relevant quarter was for Maternity Allowance using the table below.
|When you're planning to finish work||You must have paid three months contributions before the end of||Relevant quarter|
|January to March||March of the previous year||First quarter|
|April to June||June of the previous year||Second quarter|
|July to September||September of the same year||Third quarter|
|October to December||December of the same year||Fourth quarter|
If you’re also claiming the Maternity Grant, this has a different relevant quarter.
Maternity Grant: single payment
How we calculate your entitlement to Maternity Allowance
We look at the date you've chosen to start your Maternity Allowance claim.
Example: the start date you've chosen is 26 March 2017.
We go back exactly one year from your chosen start date and look at which relevant quarter that date falls in.
Example: we go back a year to 26 March 2016 which is part of the first quarter. You must have paid enough contributions above the minimum threshold for at least three months before the end of March 2016.
We'll then look at your contribution record during January, February and March 2016 to determine how much you'll receive.
However, if you wanted to continue to work until 2 April 2017, your claim wouldn't actually start until 3 April 2017. The relevant quarter would then be April, May and June 2016.
Paying contributions late
If you paid your contributions late in your relevant quarter, you might not be entitled to Maternity Allowance.
Paying contributions in another country
If you’ve paid Social Security contributions in another country during your relevant quarter, you may be eligible based on these contributions. Contact us to find out more.
When Maternity Allowance won’t be paid
Maternity Allowance won't be paid:
- if you don’t have enough contributions or credits
- until you have given up work to have your baby (after this you can attend work occasionally for up to 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days, but not in the two weeks immediately after your baby’s birth)
- if you've left Jersey permanently to live in another country, unless we have an agreement with that country (contact us to find out)
- if you're in prison
Working and claiming Maternity Allowance: ‘keeping in touch’ days
'Keeping in touch' days allow you to stay in touch with your work place while you’re off work to have a baby.
During your Maternity Allowance claim, you:
- can have a maximum of 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days
- can be paid for ‘keeping in touch’ days without it affecting your Maternity Allowance
- can’t have any 'keeping in touch' days in the first two weeks after your child’s birth
If you work for more than 10 days you need to let us know, as this means you won't be entitled to maternity benefit.
What counts as a 'keeping in touch' day
A ‘keeping in touch’ day is counted each time you attend work, even if you’re in work for less than one day or less than your normal shift. For example, a half day training course or a one hour meeting would count as a keeping in touch day.
Protecting your contribution record while claiming Maternity Allowance
If you qualify for Maternity Allowance, we’ll credit your Social Security contribution record for the period of your claim, unless:
you’ve chosen not to pay contributions
you’re getting credits through another benefit or claim
you’re already paying full Class 1 contributions
Contribution credits protect your record as though contributions had been paid. They help your entitlement to benefits in the future.
Payment of contributions
Claiming a higher allowance for your husband or partner
You can claim an increase in your Maternity Allowance if your husband or partner is claiming Home Responsibility Protection credits and is living with you.
If you get Maternity Allowance at a lower rate because you don’t have enough contributions or credits, any increase for a husband or partner will also be lower.
Babies born early
If your baby is born early and you've already given up work and started your maternity leave, your Maternity Allowance won't be affected.
However, let us know as soon as possible if your pregnancy ends more than 11 weeks before your due date.
You won’t be able to claim Maternity Allowance if your pregnancy lasts less than 24 weeks, unless a living child is born.
Babies born after their due dates
If your baby is born eight or more days after your due date, you may be able to get your Maternity Allowance extended.
If your claim for Maternity Allowance has been approved, we’ll send you a letter with a declaration on the back. If your baby is eight or more days late, you should complete this form and send it back to us.
Giving birth in another country
If you give birth in another country and Jersey has a health agreement with that country which includes maternity benefits, we may be able to pay Maternity Allowance.
Speak to one of our advisors in the Health Zone if you’re planning on having a baby outside of Jersey.
Call the Health Zone on +44 (0) 1534 445505.
Having twins or more and claiming Maternity Allowance
There is no increase in the Maternity Allowance if you have more than one baby. There is only one Maternity Allowance per pregnancy.
After your Maternity Allowance ends
After your baby is born, you may be able to protect your entitlement to a pension and Survivor’s Benefit with Home Responsibility Protection credits.
You can get these credits if you’re planning to:
- not return to work
- take unpaid leave
- work less than 20 hours per week
Home Responsibility Protection credits don’t cover you for sickness or future maternity benefits.
Contribution credits for parents working 20 hours or less: Home Responsibility Protection
Claiming benefits from another country
Tell us if you’re receiving Social Security benefits from any other country when you fill out your claim form.
Claiming Maternity Allowance and Income Support
If you claim Income Support and start claiming Maternity Allowance, your Income Support will be reduced by the amount of your Maternity Allowance award. This is because Maternity Allowance is considered as income.
Claiming Maternity Allowance and other contributory benefits
You can’t receive Maternity Allowance and another contributory benefit at the same time.
Contributory benefits include:
- Short Term Incapacity Allowance
- Home Carer's Allowance
- Long Term Incapacity Allowance
- Incapacity pension
- Survivors benefit
If this affects you, we’ll write to you to explain what benefits we’ll pay.
Changes in your circumstances
You must let us know if you:
- change address
- change your bank account
- plan to leave Jersey for a short period or permanently (tell us which country you’re going to visit)
- go to prison (your benefit can’t be paid for any part of a prison sentence)
- have any changes in your circumstances that would affect the payment of benefit to your husband or partner