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The lowdown: Statutory Maternity Pay and multiple employers

What happens when workers on maternity leave decide they would like to work for a different employer? Are they still entitled to receive their Statutory Maternity Pay from their old employer?

It depends on whether the baby has been born or not. If the employee works for someone else before the baby is born, then the old employer should carry on paying Statutory Maternity Pay.

If it's after the baby was born, the situation then depends on whether the employee was employed during the Qualifying Week (the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth). If so, then the old employer continues paying; but if not, they should stop paying Statutory Maternity Pay.

And if the employee has been receiving additional contractual maternity pay, she should check her contract as she may need to pay it back if she doesn't go back to her old employer. She would also have to give correct notice to that employer.

Statutory Maternity Pay unaffected

An employee can take on voluntary work or self-employed work during her maternity leave without it affecting her Statutory Maternity Pay.

Women can also work for their current employers for up to 10 'keeping in touch' days during maternity leave without it affecting their maternity rights and pay.

It's also possible to get Statutory Maternity Pay from more than one employer, as long as eligibility conditions are satisfied; employees can start maternity leave at different times for each, and work for 10 keeping in touch days for each as well.

Acas publications and services

Acas can help you understand the principles behind Maternity rights.

Acas experts can also visit your workplace and help you implement the best and most effective policies and procedures for a range of issues associated with Parents and carers: how Acas can help.

Practical training is also available on Maternity, paternity and adoption, Flexible working and Contracts and terms and conditions.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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We recommend that you explore further information and advice available on this website, particularly within our Advice A-Z guidance pages. If you have questions about workplace rights and rules visit Helpline Online.

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