As a pregnant lady, you have the right to be granted a maternity leave. There are also other benefits that accompany the maternity leave including maternity allowances which you receive from the Department - we are not affiliated with any organisation mentioned. for Work and Pension. If you are employed, your employer should give you Statutory Maternity Pay. Also, during your pregnancy, you receive free prescriptions and dental care. Some people can join a government scheme known as the Healthy Start.
Here is a summary of maternity benefits in the UK:
The right to a maternity leave
The right to a maternity leave is your basic right as a pregnant woman. Your employer is supposed to allow you a maternity leave of up to 52 weeks regardless of whether you are eligible for a Statutory Maternity Pay. You should note that the period you have worked for the company or organization does not determine if you are entitled or the number of weeks you have. You can start the leave 11 weeks before the birth of the child.
Statutory Maternity Pay
This is a 39-week pay that the employer should give you if you have work for him or her for a period of 26 weeks before the fifteenth week when the baby is due. For the first 6 weeks, you get 90% of your weekly normal earnings. For the rest of the remaining weeks, you get either £140.98 per week or 90% of the average weekly salary you earn. You can get the SMP as early as 11 weeks before childbirth.
If you are not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay, your employer provides you with an SMP1 form which enables you to claim maternity allowance. To get this allowance, you must have been self-employed or worked for an organization for at least 26 weeks during the 66 weeks of your pregnancy up to a week before childbirth and earned an average of £30 in 13 weeks. You claim the allowance from the gov.uk website or Jobcentre Plus office.
This is a sum of £500 that helps low-income people to be able to buy things for their newborn. You can claim the money as from the eleventh week when the baby is due up to the third month of the baby. You may get the grant if your partner is disabled, not employed, or gets any other kind of income support. There are other Maternity Grants too.
Prescriptions and dental care
You are eligible for free prescription and dental care if you are pregnant. You apply for a certificate which is signed by the doctor which is usually valid for the period you are pregnant and a year later.
Healthy Start Scheme
This is a governmental program the gives vouchers to pregnant ladies worth £3.10. They can be used to buy milk, infant milk formula, fruits and vegetables and vitamin supplements. Pregnant ladies who are under 18 years of age and children between the age of 1 to 4 can apply.