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8 December 2023

What happens if I get pregnant on a worker visa?

If you are in the UK on a worker visa, you might be worried about what will happen to you and your job. We shall try to ease your concerns and tell you all you need to know in our guide.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
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Due to the nature of a work on visas such as the Skilled Worker Visa or the Health and Care Worker Visa, you have no recourse to public funds. As you cannot access benefits, you might be worried about what financial support you will have available to you if you get pregnant on a worker visa

Additionally, you might be worried about what will happen to your job, as you will not be able to work. This is extra important due to the fact that if you are not being paid the amount outlined in your job sponsorship, you could lose your visa. 

The good news is that you have options. We will tell you what you need to know. 

Will I get statutory maternity pay whilst pregnant on a worker visa?

Yes, you will be able to get statutory maternity pay (SMP). This is a payment directly from your employer, so it is not a public fund or a benefit payment. 

If a woman was working for their employer before they got pregnant, earn an average of at least £126 a week during 18 to 26 weeks of your pregnancy, and have been employed by the same employer for the first 26 weeks of your pregnancy, then your employer must give you statutory maternity pay.

You will get 90% of your average pay for the first six weeks. Following this, for 33 weeks you will get the lowest of either 90% of your average earnings, or be £172.48. 

There are other situations where you can get SMP. These are:

  • If you work for an agency and meet the aforementioned requirements
  • Once you have reached the 15th week before your due date and meet the requirements; this applies even if you lose your job
  • You can also get SMP if you are employed 15 weeks before your due date but your visa expires or you leave the UK in the following week

You should still receive SMP for the full 39 weeks. 

To make sure you qualify, you must give your employer a copy of your maternity certificate (MAT B1) when you enter your 20th week of pregnancy. Then, your employer can check if you can receive SMP.

You can even go abroad and still receive SMP, as long as you meet the above conditions. 

If you get a new job at a different employer during your SMP period, then you will no longer be entitled to SMP. 

It is important to note that even if your baby is born early, you will still be eligible for SMP, as it is based on your original due date.

What if I do not qualify for statutory maternity pay?

Anyone who does not meet the requirements for SMP does not need to worry, as they can still get money from elsewhere.

Women who do not qualify can instead get maternity allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). The amount you will get is currently set at either £172.48 per week, or 90% of your average pay. You will receive the lowest of the two. 

To qualify for maternity allowance, you must either:

  • Be employ or self-employed for at least 26 of 66 weeks before your expected due date
  • Have 13 weeks (consecutive or nonconsecutive) where you earned an average of £30 a week 

For the latter, your earnings can be from more than one job. Any pay from any job will count towards your maternity allowance. Additionally, sick leave, maternity leave, and annual leave also count towards the 13 weeks. 

You will have to use an MA1 form to claim your maternity allowance.

If you plan on going abroad, you must inform the maternity allowance claims department of the DWP. You will still receive your full 39 weeks of pay. 

Paternity pay and leave for same-sex partners

It is possible that employed fathers of newborn children may be eligible for paternity leave. Same-sex partners may also be eligible for shared parental pay.

There are some conditions that must first be met:

  • You must have been employed for 26 weeks as of the 15th week before the baby’s due date by one employer
  • You are the partner of the mother or the father of the child
  • If you have responsibility for the child and are taking time off to support the mother or child

Fathers and partners who do not meet the requirement or are not employees of a company, but still work in other ways will not be eligible for paternity leave. However, they can still get statutory paternity pay.

If you work at an agency, on a zero-hour contract, work freelance, or work casually, you can get statutory paternity pay. 

To be eligible for statutory paternity pay you must:

  • Be the partner of the mother or the father of the child
  • Be responsible for the baby’s upbringing
  • Been employed for 26 weeks by the 15th week before the due date
  • Employed by the same employer for the whole 26 weeks prior

If you earn the current minimum of £123 per week on average in either eight weeks, or two months prior to the 15th week before the due date; this depends on whether you are paid weekly or monthly.

NHS services

It is important to remember that NHS services are not a part of ‘no recourse to public funds’, which means that anyone working in the UK on a visa can still access them.

As part of your Skilled Worker Visa or other worker visa, you will be paying the immigration health surcharge (IHS). As a result of this, you will be able to access NHS services.

The NHS will be a crucial part of any care you receive during your pregnancy if you remain in the UK, so it is useful to remember that you can access their services for any care you need.

How we can help

Here at Woodcock Law, we have a team of legal experts ready and waiting to help you. They can help you with any of your immigration related issues and questions. 

If you need help with your visa, or have questions about maternity pay on a worker visa, then they can help.

Our 15-minute consultation may be the best option in the event  that you are pregnant whilst on a worker visa, as it is quicker and cheaper than a full consultation. It is a good way of easing your concerns whilst getting answers from a legal professional about your complex situation. 

However, we also have a free 10-minute long consultation in which you can tell a member of our team what you need help with, which allows them to see if we can help you or not. Then, this can be followed up by a longer, 30-minute consultation, or a 1-hour long consultation. Find out about what you can expect when you use our services.

Get in touch with us today if you are interested in getting assistance from our legal experts.

Ready for assistance?

If you have any questions, or want to book an appointment with one of our legal experts, contact Woodcock Law today. Call us on +44 (0)20 7712 1705 or email

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