PARENTS who have been furloughed will receive their full leave entitlement when taking time off to look after a new baby.
The amount of money will be based on their usual salary, not the amount they are currently earning, the government has confirmed.
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Many parents are currently earning less money because they have been put on the government’s furlough scheme.
But the government has confirmed that for any type of parental leave starting on or after April 25, workers will receive their full entitlement.
This applies to the following benefits: maternity, paternity, shared parental, parental bereavement, and adoption pay.
The change has been made to make sure parents aren't missing out if they go on leave while they are furloughed.
The government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can pay employees up to £2,500 a month.
Around 11 million workers are currently in the scheme and applications for companies opened yesterday.
The amount of pay someone receives when they are off work with a new baby depends on their average earnings over an eight-week assessment period.
While for maternity allowance, which is for pregnant women who don’t qualify for maternity pay or are self employed, the assessment period is 13 weeks.
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This comes as the charity Maternity Action have called for urgent clarification on how pregnant women are treated if they are furloughed.
It says many have been wrongly put on sick leave and are now receiving statutory sick pay instead of 80 per cent of their wages.
Business Minister, Paul Scully, said: “Maternity and other forms of parental leave are pivotal times in people’s lives, and they should absolutely be protected from the impacts of Covid-19.
“We are supporting workers and businesses in a way never seen before, in response to the unprecedented effects of Covid-19.
"These measures will ensure those on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme continue to receive the parental leave and pay they are entitled to.”
How parental leave works in the UK
Pregnant women and new mothers are able to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave in the UK and up to 39 of these are paid.
How much pay is given depends on different factors including where the woman works, how long she’s been employed, and her average salary.
Most employers offer an enhanced maternity pay package but this depends on the company.
- Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid at 90 per cent of usual earnings for the first six weeks, and then £151.20 a week for 33 weeks. For those adopting a child the rules are the same. To qualify to receive this money, average earnings must be at least £120 per week (this is called the Lower Earnings Limit) over a set eight-week period.
- For maternity allowance, up to £151.20 a week is available for up to 39 weeks.
- Statutory Paternity Pay is paid at either 90 per cent of earnings or £151.20 (whichever is lower).
- Shared Parental Pay is available for up to 50 weeks and paid at either 90 per cent of earnings or £151.20 (whichever is lower).
- Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay lasts for two weeks and is paid at the lower of £151.20 per week, or 90 per cent of average earnings.
Lords Minister for the Department for Work and Pensions, Baroness Stedman-Scott, said: “At an already challenging time for families, peace of mind that they can rightly take time off and receive their full entitlement will provide much needed reassurance.
“Throughout this health emergency we’ve taken unprecedented steps to help those affected make ends meet, and today’s new measures further extend vital financial support.”
Thousands of nurseries may not be able to reopen when the lockdown is lifted because they can't furlough staff.
If you have been furloughed, here's how to check you're being paid the right amount.
Here's what to do if your employer refuses to put you on furlough.
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