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Benefits for maternity, paternity, adoption and other parental pay

When you take time off to have a baby, look after a child or because you have been bereaved, you might be eligible for a number of benefits:


Benefits and Allowances

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

Paid by the employer if you are pregnant or recently given birth for up to 39 weeks.  SMP is paid in the same way as your wages.

To qualify for SMP you must:

  • earn on average at least £120 a week
  • give the correct notice and proof you’re pregnant
  • have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks continuing into the ‘qualifying week’ – the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)

Paid for 39 weeks by the employer to employees who are adopting a child. SAP is paid in the same way as your wages. Tax and NI will be deducted. You may get more pay if your employer has a company adoption pay scheme. Your employer cannot offer you less than the statutory amount.


Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)

Employees may be eligible for Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay if they and their partner are:

  • having a baby
  • adopting a child
  • having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement

SPP is paid by the employer if you are taking time off work to care for a child or support your partner. You don’t have to be the father. It can be paid for two weeks.


Statutory Shared Parental Pay (SSPP)

SSPP is paid by the employer if your partner has chosen to give up her Statutory Maternity Pay or her Maternity Allowance, so you can get it for the remainder of the 39 weeks.


Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP)

SPBP is paid for up to two weeks to employees if your child dies before they turn 18, or if you have a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The death or stillbirth must have happened on or after 6 April 2020.


Maternity Allowance

If you are pregnant or have recently given birth and not entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay, you may be entitled to Maternity Allowance for up to 39 weeks.  You can claim MA as soon as you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks. Payments can start 11 weeks before your baby is due.


Sure Start Maternity Grant (SSMG)

The SSMG is a one-off payment of £500 to support costs associated with a new baby. The grant is paid to those in England and Wales on certain income-based benefits, where there are no other children under the age of 16 in the claimant’s family (exemptions apply). Claimants must also demonstrate they have received maternal and/or child health advice by asking a health professional (i.e. midwife or GP) to complete the Health Professional Statement (Part 13 of the claim form). This form is included within the General Medical Service Contracts Regulations (2015), available free of charge by GP surgeries


Other benefits for children

There are other benefits or additions to benefits for children, such as Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit and other means tested benefits – see Newcastle City Council Welfare Rights webpages


Useful information

Maternity Action and Working Families  have useful information about maternity and parent rights and benefits


Where can I get benefits advice?

You can get benefits advice from a local independent service. They can help guide you through the application process and explain how some benefits may impact upon another:

Last updated: September 6, 2021