Myth of the month – working during maternity leave
Myth of the month – can I work while on maternity leave?
Yes and No! If you receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance (MA) then you can work up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KIT) days for your employer. (If you are on Shared Parental Leave you can work up to 20 SPLIT days). But apart from KIT days, there are differences between working while on SMP or on MA. Always check what your employment contract says about working elsewhere. You will find more information on this here.
Here are answers to our most frequently asked questions:
Question: Can I work for another employer (not liable to pay me SMP) while on maternity leave without it affecting my SMP?
Answer: Working for another employer will stop your SMP not only for the weeks you work for the new employer but also for the remainder of your maternity leave – but there are two exceptions. First, if the work is done while you are on maternity leave but BEFORE your baby is born, it won’t affect your SMP. Second, if you had another employer IN THE 15th WEEK before your expected week of childbirth, then you can return to work for them again after the birth, without it affecting your SMP from the first employer. You should let your first employer know about any work you do for another employer.
Question: I have two employers, both pay me SMP, can I return to work at different times for different employers?
Answer: Yes – if you qualify for SMP in both jobs, you can start and finish your maternity leave and SMP in both jobs at different times (as long as you start your maternity leave no earlier than 11 weeks before your expected week of childbirth, and no later than one day after the birth).
Question: Can I do self-employed work while on maternity leave without it affecting my SMP?
Answer: Yes – you can work on a self-employed basis without it affecting your SMP (though it would be very risky for you to work for your usual employer on a self-employed basis as it would probably not look like genuine self-employment; this is particularly so if the work you would be doing is just the same as the work you did as an employee). However, this doesn’t apply to those on MA (see below). You should always check your employment contract to see if it allows you to work elsewhere.
Question: Can I work while I’m on MA?
Answer: You can work up to 10 KIT days for your employer without it affecting your MA. Or you can work as self-employed for up to 10 days. If you are an employee, you could do a combination of KIT days and self-employed days. But any work you do above 10 days – whether employed or self-employed – will lead to you being disqualified from claiming MA, for at least the number of days you worked in excess of those 10 days. It may also affect your entitlement to remain on maternity leave.
Question: What happens if I do more than 10 KIT days?
Answer: If you are on SMP, you will lose a week’s SMP for every week in which you do any work for your employer above your 10 KIT days and it may affect your entitlement to remain on maternity leave. Seek advice if you want to do this.
If you are on MA, your MA will stop being paid if you work more than 10 days (whether for an employer or as self-employed) but your MA period continues to run. If you are an employee, it may also affect your right to continue on maternity leave. If you are not an employee, you may be able to restart your MA claim, depending on how long you have been disqualified for. You will be disqualified from receiving MA for at least the number of days that you worked in excess of 10 days.