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My employer says Iím not eligible for maternity pay as Iím a worker rather than an employee. Is this right?

You do not always need to be an employee with a contract of employment to get SMP. Agency workers and some casual workers will qualify for SMP, as long as they meet the minimum earnings threshold. However, genuinely self-employed workers do not qualify. 

Some employers do try and circumvent their obligations by falsely treating their staff as self-employed. If this happens to you, you should seek legal advice and clarification as soon as possible. It may be that you are in fact an employee, despite the label your employer gives you. It is vital that you seek advice to be sure you get the leave and pay that is yours by rights. See our page 'Am I a worker or an employee?' for more information.

All employees and workers are entitled to a health and safety risk assessment once you have notified your employer of your pregnancy, provided your work could involve a risk of harm to you or your baby.

All employees and workers – including any self-employed worker who is engaged under a contract to provide work personally – are entitled to protection from pregnancy discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

You may also qualify for Maternity Allowance, which is paid by the Government through your local JobCentrePlus office rather than through your employer. Maternity Allowance, like Statutory Maternity Pay, is paid for the first 39 weeks of the maternity leave period.