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Womens health

Pregnancy and maternity: leave and pay timeline

You can use this timeline to see important dates in your pregnancy, and in your maternity leave, which relate to your pay and leave entitlements.  Although pay entitlements will be different from one person to another, all mothers are eligible for 52 weeks' maternity leave with weeks 40 - 52 being unpaid. 

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Pregnancy weeks 18 - 26

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Pregnancy week 25

Pregnancy week 29

This is your earliest planned start to your maternity leave.

For NHS maternity pay, you must have 12 months of continuous service with the NHS at the beginning of this week. A break in service of three months or less will be disregarded. 


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Pregnancy week 36

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Pregnancy week 40

Contractual maternity pay

Check your contract of employment for details of your maternity pay entitlements. You may only be entitled to the statutory minimum payment described below, or your employer may provide benefits that are more generous, such as NHS terms and conditions.

NHS maternity pay weeks 1 - 8

If you are on NHS terms and conditions, you may have 8 weeks full pay (which will include any SMP or Maternity Allowance). This is calculated on the basis of the pay you received in weeks 18 - 25 of your pregnancy (inclusive). 

NHS maternity pay weeks 9 - 26

If you are on NHS terms and conditions, you may have 18 weeks half pay and SMP at flat rate (or Maternity Allowance at flat rate) - provided this doesn't exceed full pay. 

NHS maternity pay weeks 27 - 39

If you are on NHS terms and conditions, you may be entitled to 13 weeks SMP at flat rate (or Maternity Allowance at flat rate), or 90% of average earnings - whichever is lowest.

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Statutory Maternity Pay weeks 1 - 6

Statutory Maternity Pay weeks 7-39

From week 7 to 39 inclusive, SMP is paid at a standard rate or 90 per cent of average weekly earnings (whichever is lowest).

Maternity leave weeks 40 - 52

Weeks 40 to 52 are your 13 weeks of unpaid leave. 

Maternity Allowance weeks 1 - 39

If you are not entitled to SMP you may be eligible to claim up to 39 weeks of Maternity Allowance (MA). You must have been employed or self employed for at least 26 weeks of the 66 week period up to the beginning of your expected week of childbirth.

Use the government's calculator below to find out if you are eligible for MA. 

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