When a woman becomes pregnant she has various rights, and one of those rights are maternity leave and maternity allowance. Dental treatments and all prescriptions during pregnancy are also free, and you may even get free prenatal vitamins and coupons for some food and baby formula milk. It is very important to notice that maternity benefits can be claimed only if a woman who is on a maternity leave is also covered by social insurance. These benefits are paid by the department of social protection only to women who have a number of paid social insurance contributions on their social insurance record. It is easier to have one or more accountants to regularly check your social insurance contributions etc. Also to claim maternity benefits, future mothers need to have an insurable job up to the first day of their maternity leave. Social insurances contributions can be received also from self-employment.
If you have fulfilled the previous requirements, when you are pregnant, you have the right to maternity leave up to 52 weeks, even if you don’t meet all the requirements for maternity allowance or maternity pay (insurance is the important one). You have the right to start with your maternity leave about 11 weeks before the expected date of childbirth. If you have some other issues, like pregnancy related illness or medical conditions, your maternity leave will start earlier, about four to five weeks before the expected date of childbirth. If you’re interested in statutory maternity pay, you need to know that you have this right if you have been working for the same company (employer) for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby enters its week of expected birth. This is paid for 39 weeks and it includes a six day payment from Monday to Saturday. If you have two or more jobs, you could probably get maternity pay from each company. This is paid approximately about 90% of your average weekly pay. When you want to claim your maternity pay you need your doctor to give you a certificate at least 20 weeks before the baby is due. You then, need to show this to your boss, at least four weeks before you want to claim this benefit and stop working.
If you do not meet the requirements for maternity payment (SMP), as one of your maternity benefits your boss can give you something called SMP1 – maternity allowance which you can claim from department for work and pensions. You can claim this also if you have low income, are recently unemployed, or if you’re self-employed. This option is best for women who have worked recently. Maternity allowance is also about 90% of your average recent pays. If you want to claim this allowance, you need to inform yourself at your local employment service. If your income is low, you could claim sure start maternity grant (SSMG) which will help you buy some stuff for your baby. You don’t get much, about 500 dollars but it is great that you can spend it on anything you want. People who are adopting a baby can also claim this benefit.
Don’t forget you can also claim free dental care and free prescriptions. To claim this, you need a form from your doctor or midwife and apply for exemption certificate. Always claim everything that belongs to you, if you need more help, you can ask everything your doctor, your insurance company, your boss, and of course your friend. Everybody will be glad to help you claim what you deserve.