Can an employee who has not been employed by her employer for 26 weeks by the qualifying week claim any financial assistance throughout her maternity leave?

An employee who has insufficient service to qualify for statutory maternity pay (SMP) may qualify for maternity allowance, paid by the Government. To qualify for maternity allowance the employee must have worked for any 26 weeks in the 66-week period before her baby was due. The 26 weeks do not have to be consecutive and she can count any jobs in which she earned at least £30 per week and any weeks of self-employment. Maternity allowance is paid for 39 weeks at the flat rate of SMP.

The employee may qualify for other benefits, depending on her family total income. Once her baby is born the employee will be entitled to child benefit. She may also qualify for the sure start maternity grant.