Maternity and Paternity Pay for Umbrella Company Employees

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Expecting a baby? Not sure if you’re entitled to maternity or paternity leave as an umbrella worker? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. At Parasol, we’re often asked by the thousands of umbrella employees we support if they are entitled to paid leave.

The good news is that as employees of the umbrella company you work through, you are granted the same statutory rights as any other employee - whether employer pension contributions, paid sick and holiday pay and maternity or paternity pay.

In this simple guide, we answer the key questions around maternity and paternity pay.

What is maternity pay?

Maternity pay is paid leave from your employer for the time taken off when having a baby. Statutory maternity pay is granted to the mother of the child.

How much is maternity pay?

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) - also known as statutory maternity leave - means mothers receive 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks. For the next 33 weeks, they are paid £156.66 or 90% of their average weekly salary (whichever is lower).

Just like wages, maternity pay is taxable. It’s also worth noting that SMP is the minimum employers can pay - some businesses grant their employees more money and leave.

How long is statutory maternity leave?

By law, employers must pay SMP for at least 39 weeks. However, this is subject to change if you and your partner request Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP), which means you can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you.

When does maternity pay start?

In most cases, the earliest you can take maternity leave is 11 weeks before the expected week of the baby arriving. If the baby is early, maternity leave begins the day after its birth. It also starts automatically if you’re off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week of the expected birth.

Maternity pay eligibility criteria

If you earn, on average, at least £120 a week or have worked for the business for 26 weeks by the time you reach the 15th week before your due date, you will qualify.

What is paternity pay?

With maternity pay boxed off, we’ll now move on to paternity pay - which is quite different.

Paternity pay is for the partner of the mother or the person adopting a child or who has had the baby by surrogate.

How much is paternity pay?

Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), which is the minimum amount your employer can pay, equates to £156.66 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings - whichever is lower. This amount is also subject to tax and National Insurance deductions, like normal wages.

How long is paternity leave?

Legally speaking, you’ll receive either one or two weeks of paid leave. If you’re eligible for two weeks, you must take it in one go. But again, lots of employers choose to grant longer paternity leave.

When does paternity leave start?

It starts upon the birth of the child and no later than within 56 days of the child being born.

Paternity pay eligibility criteria

As is also the case for maternity pay, to qualify for paternity pay you need to have worked for your employer for 26 consecutive weeks before the 15th week before the baby is due.

If you’re adopting a child, it’s 26 successive weeks before the end of the week you’re matched with a child by the adoption agency.

You also must either be the child’s biological father, adopter or parent (e.g. surrogacy) or the child’s mother’s husband or partner (including same-sex relationships).

With you all the way

Whether you’re expecting, or hoping to be, knowing what you’re entitled to as a new mum or dad is important. It can also have an impact on which assignments or work you decide to take on.

To learn more about Parasol and how our umbrella company services can support you and your growing family, request a callback today.