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Can an agency worker qualify for maternity pay?

Hetal Gir

16 July 2019

This is the question we put to one of our expert employment law solicitors.

Yes, but only if you qualify. As an agency worker, to qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you must:
• still be pregnant in the 11th week before the week your baby is due;
• have been engaged by the same agency for 26 continuous weeks by the start of the 14th week before the week in which your baby is due ('the qualifying week') and still be engaged by the agency in the qualifying week. (Even if you haven't worked for the agency in each of the 26 weeks ending with the qualifying week, you can still get SMP if the reason that you didn't work is that the agency didn't have any work to offer you, or because you were ill, or on paid annual leave.);
• have earned at least, or above, the level of the Lower Earnings Limit, currently £116 per week (before tax) in the eight weeks (if paid weekly) or two months (if paid monthly) before the end of the qualifying week; and
• have notified the agency of your pregnancy and the date on which you expect SMP to start.
If you do not qualify for SMP, you may be able to claim Maternity Allowance. Details of how to claim Maternity Allowance can be found on the GOV.UK website.


Maternity pay, can you qualify for maternity pay as an agency worker? expert employment law solicitor Hetal Gir will explain.

Okay, so if you're an employed agency worker and you meet the eligibility criteria, then yes you could be entitled to maternity pay and if you're a worker, however, you wouldn't and you may instead be entitled to maternity allowance, which is the Social Security benefit paid by the government.

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