Thank you for contacting me about maternity leave and maternity pay.
We should be proud that the UK’s Maternity Leave offer is amongst the most generous in the world – up to 52 weeks of leave are available, 39 weeks of which are paid.
That said, I understand concerns for babies during this time who have missed out on interaction with other babies due to Covid-19 restrictions. To protect family and others, government guidelines recommend that social distancing in gardens and outdoor spaces should still be followed when meeting others.
As you may know, under Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay, eligible parents receive 90 per cent of normal earnings for the first 6 weeks, followed by up to 33 weeks at the statutory flat rate (£151.20 per week). I am not aware of any forthcoming plans to introduce legislation to change maternity pay or leave for an employee.
However, the Government’s business support schemes have been introduced taking maternity pay and maternity leave into account. If a parent has been furloughed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the new regulations ensure that the amount of statutory maternity or adoption pay that new mothers and adopters receive over the first 6 weeks is calculated based on their normal wages, not their furloughed pay.
I understand that individuals who have been furloughed and whose period of family-related pay or Maternity Allowance begins on or after 25th April 2020 will be in scope of the change, which my Ministerial colleagues assure me is most people.
For those that are self-employed, taking maternity leave does not mean that the trade has ceased and therefore should not affect a person’s eligibility for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, as long as the individual intends to return to the trade after the period of leave.
I will continue to monitor the situation and raise any further concerns on behalf of my constituents.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP