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Benefits and support for working parents

If you have a job and have children or are pregnant, you could get:

  • pay and leave while you have a baby
  • paid and unpaid time
  • Universal Credit, Child Tax Credits or childcare schemes to help cover childcare costs

These are on top of the benefits available to most parents and parents to be.

Use Benefits calculators to check exactly what benefits you might be entitled to.

Pay and leave while you have a baby


Most parents are entitled to money while they have a baby. This is through Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance.

You’ll get Maternity Pay if you’re an employee who:

  • has been in their job for a least 26 weeks
  • earns at least £120 a week

You could get Maternity Allowance if you’re

  • a worker or self-employed
  • not eligible for Maternity Pay


If you’re an employee, you’re entitled Maternity Leave. Maternity Leave is time off before and after your baby is born and it includes the right to return to your job, holiday pay and any other employee benefits.

You’ll get Maternity Leave no matter how long you’ve been in your job or how much you earn.

If you’re a worker or self-employed, you’re not entitled to Maternity Leave.

Fathers, partners and same-sex partners might also be entitled to Paternity Leave and Paternity Pay.

If you an employee, you could be entitled both paid and unpaid time off.

You’ll get paid time off for antenatal care which can include for medical appointments and antenatal or parenting classes if they’ve been recommended by a doctor or midwife.

If you’re an employee and have worked at a company for more than a year, you could be entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave for each child and adopted child, up to their 18th birthday.

Unpaid leave can help you do things like:

  • look at new schools
  • settle children into new childcare arrangements
  • spend more time your children

The father or pregnant woman’s partner also has the right to unpaid time off work to go to 2 antenatal appointments.

Universal Credit, Child Tax Credits or childcare schemes

If you’re working but on a low income, you could get the child element of Universal Credit. This replaces Child Tax Credit which is now only available if you or your partner are getting the Severe Disability Premium.

The child element of Universal Credit helps with the costs of raising a child and can help you to claim back up to 85 per cent of eligible childcare costs.

If you’re working but not eligible for the child element of Universal Credit, you can still get help with childcare costs. This could be by using childcare schemes like 30 hours and Tax-Free Childcare.