28/04/20 – COVED-19 FactSheet from the Maternity Alliance on Rights and Benefits During Pregnancy and Maternity Leave – Helen Clark Writes

The Maternity Alliance has compiled a series of fact sheets consisting of frequently asked questions and answers on rights at works and benefits during pregnancy and maternity leave in the COVID-19 pandemic 

https://maternityaction.org.uk/covidmaternityfaqs/ .

Topics covered include:

  • Maternity pay
  • Benefits for pregnant women and parents to be
  • Redundancy during pregnancy and maternity leave
  • Health and safety during pregnancy and on return to work
  • Sickness during pregnancy, maternity leave and on return to work.

The Alliance has joined trade unions and other women’s support groups in demanding urgent reforms to universal credit, due to an anomaly in the way that it is calculated, resulting in the lowest earners (on Maternity Allowance and some who are self-employed) finding themselves some £4,100 worse off over 39 weeks in comparison with those on statutory Maternity Pay.

Maternity Alliance Director, Rosalind Bragg said:

We do appreciate that the support schemes have been developed in difficult circumstances…. however, it would take little effort to resolve the unfair treatment of maternity allowance in universal credit calculations …..The financial cost to government would be extremely low but it would make a massive difference to women and their families.’

APPG Lead Author Helen Clark said:

The Maternity Alliance has provided an invaluable resource bank for women expecting a baby at this difficult time; showing also that the COVID-19 crisis has revealed yet more causes for concern about a benefit that has already accrued an unprecedented level of criticism.

I hope that the necessary changes to universal credit will be made immediately by the Government so that pregnant women do not have a needless financial insecurity added to the considerable anxiety that they must be experiencing as they prepare to give birth at such a difficult and stressful time.

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