Maternity Leave and Using an Umbrella Company

(4 minutes to read)

When it comes to flexible working, you need to know your rights and what you’re entitled to – this couldn’t be more important when it comes to maternity leave.

Can I receive maternity pay whilst using an umbrella company?

As an umbrella contractor, you are essentially employed by your umbrella company – this means that you will have many self-employed benefits, as well as some of the security that comes with permanent employment.

For more information on why so many people choose the umbrella route, read our Benefits of using an Umbrella Company page.

One of those employee benefits includes maternity pay, which will either be in the form of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) should you meet the criteria, or if not, Maternity Allowance (MA).

In order to qualify for SMP, you will need to:

  • Earn on average at least £120 a week.
  • Ensure you give the correct notice and proof you’re pregnant – this means that you need to inform your employer at least 15 weeks before your due date. The proof you’ll need to provide is a letter from your doctor or midwife, as well as your MATB1 certificate (you will receive this from your doctor or midwife no more than 20 weeks before your due date).
  • Have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks continuing into the ‘qualifying week’, which is the 15th week before the expected week of giving birth.

If you’re not eligible for SMP, then to qualify for MA, you will need to have been:

  • Either employed or registered as self-employed for at least 26 weeks.
  • Earning £30 a week or more in at least 13 weeks – it’s worth noting that the weeks do not have to be together.

You’ll need to fill out and send off a Maternity Allowance (MA1) claim form along with the following information:

  • Your SMP1 form (if you were refused SMP by your employer).
  • Proof of your income – such as original payslips or a Certificate of Small Earnings Exemption.
  • Proof of your baby’s due date – by either a letter from your doctor or midwife, or your MATB1 certificate.

How much statutory maternity pay am I entitled to?

SMP is paid for up to 39 weeks and usually starts as soon as you take maternity leave.

For the first six weeks you will receive 90% of your average weekly earnings and then for the remaining 33 weeks, this will be either £151.97 or 90% of your weekly average earnings, depending on what figure is lower.

Your maternity will be paid through your umbrella company’s PAYE system with tax and National Insurance deducted as normal.

Do umbrella companies allow for paternity leave?

Paternity leave is treated the same as maternity leave; you’ll just need to meet the same criteria as discussed above.

The main differences are that you’ll only be able to take off one or two weeks (that must be taken in one go), leave cannot start before the birth and it must end within 56 days of the birth.

We hope that you have found this page helpful and it has answered some of your questions about maternity leave. If you have any more queries, our team of experts are available to answer any questions, so give us a call on 01206 591 000 or email

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