There are so many things to consider when you are expecting a new baby. You'll be busy buying clothes, toys and equipment to look after your little one. As wonderful as it can be to have a child, it can be an equally stressful and expensive time.

New mothers are supported through the first few stages of their parenting journey by maternity pay. Whilst you're off work before and after the birth, you can relax knowing that you still have a regular income supporting your family.

In this article, we'll take a look at how much maternity pay you can receive whilst you are on leave from your job. We'll also explain how you can claim maternity pay and the other generous maternity benefits that you may be eligible for.

You can receive Statutory Maternity Leave for up to 39 weeks. This includes 90% of your average weekly earnings before tax. You will be paid this for the first six weeks of your maternity leave. For the following 33 weeks, you will be paid either £151.97 or 90% of your wages (depending on which is lower).

You can use the government's maternity pay calculator to find out the exact amount of weeks that you can take as maternity leave and the number of weeks that you will receive maternity pay for.

Tax and National Insurance will be deducted from your maternity pay in the same way as they would be from your usual pay. You will also receive the maternity pay as you would your normal wages - either monthly or weekly.

Parents are also allowed to take Statutory Shared Parental Pay if they are on Shared Parental Leave. However, as the name suggests, both parents will have to share the pay and leave with each other by taking it in turns to be on leave from their job. Pay for this type of leave is also £151.97 or 90% of your wages, whichever is lower. Alternatively, the mother can stay on maternity leave and pay instead.

You should make sure that you are being paid the correct amount of money whilst on your maternity leave. Talk to your employer if you think there has been a mistake with the calculations. You can then contact the Statutory Payment Disputes Team if you cannot agree on the amount you are owed or if your employer cannot pay you the correct amount.

Statutory Maternity Pay, sometimes referred to as Occupational Maternity Pay, is the allowance that you are legally entitled to when you are having a baby. Your employer is required to give you maternity leave, although there are some factors that determine how many weeks you'll receive Statutory Maternity Pay for.

You will still be required to make tax and National Insurance contributions on the maternity pay that you receive.

Some employers offer contractual maternity pay in addition to Statutory Maternity Pay. The enhanced maternity pay that you can be paid will be listed in your contract.

You are eligible for maternity pay if you earn an average of £120 or more each week. Your employer must also be given the correct notice of your pregnancy.

You must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the time you reach the 15th week before the date that the baby is due. There is also a legal requirement that you must have at least £120 average weekly earnings.

Mothers that are self-employed or don't meet the criteria for Statutory Maternity Pay may be eligible for Maternity Allowance.

Maternity Allowance

Mothers who cannot claim Statutory Maternity Pay are instead able to apply for Maternity Allowance. You can claim it if you are self-employed or if you have recently left your job and stopped working. Maternity Allowance can also be given to mothers who are working for their partner in an unpaid position.

You can be paid Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks. The maternity pay calculator can be used to see how much you could get paid. Visit the government website to find out more information about your allocated employment and support allowance.

Maternity leave

You are able to take maternity leave if you are an employee and give your employer the required notice. This means telling your employer about your baby at least 15 weeks before it is due and stating when you want to begin your maternity leave. Employers are required to give you written notice of your maternity leave start and end dates within 28 days of this.

You will also need to give your employer proof of your pregnancy if you want to claim Statutory Maternity Pay. To do this, you will need to give your employer a letter from your midwife or doctor. You can also use your MATB1 certificate as evidence, which will be given to you by your medical professional around 20 weeks before your due date.

Maternity pay will begin as soon as you begin your maternity leave. This date will have been pre-arranged between yourself and your employer.

Your maternity pay can also start up to four weeks before your baby is due if you leave work early because of a pregnancy-related illness.

Over the course of your 39 weeks maternity leave, you are legally entitled to get paid maternity pay (as long as you are eligible). During the first six weeks of your leave, you will be paid 90% of your average earnings a week before tax. You will then be paid £151.97 or 90% of your wages, depending on which sum is lower. This amount will be paid to you for the subsequent 33 weeks, or until you return to work.

You are only eligible for ordinary maternity leave if you have been with your current employer for more than 26 weeks and earn at least £120 on average. Mothers that don't qualify for the standard pregnancy and maternity leave benefits of Statutory Maternity Pay can claim Maternity Allowance instead.