Young Unemployed Must Train Or Lose Benefits, Says Ed Miliband

jobseekers-allowanceYoung people who are looking for work could lose their benefits unless they agree to training courses under a Labour government according to its leader Ed Miliband.

The Labour leader who will be opposing David Cameron in the next general election announced his plans during a speech at the Institute For Public Policy Research. It is part of a series of measures aimed at making work pay; a fight back against criticisms that the Labour Party is too lenient on welfare.

His plans include disallowing 18 to 21 year olds entitlement to adult benefits if they have no qualifications. Instead, they will get a youth allowance if they accept vocational training equivalent to an AS level. Under the current Job Seekers Allowance system, you cannot be in training and claiming for benefits at the same time.

The youth allowance is currently planned to be £57, which is the same that is currently afforded to people who are under 25 on Job Seekers Allowance. It will, however, be means tested so that those with a family earning more than £42,000 per year will not be entitled.

In his speech, Ed Miliband also states his intentions to raise the Job Seekers Allowance from £72 to £100 a week for those who had been in work for five years before being made unemployed.

Ed Miliband said:

[quote]How many times have I heard people say: ‘for years and years, I paid in and then when the time came and I needed help I got nothing out?’ Rewarding contribution was a key principle of the Beveridge Report. And it is a key intuition of the British people. But it is a principle that has been forgotten by governments of both parties.[/quote]

Conservative MPs have hit back against the party’s plans claiming it will just lead to an even greater amount of spending and borrowing at the expense of taxpayers. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said that it’s an expensive commitment.

Britain’s largest trade union and Labour’s biggest financial backer, Unite, has praised the plans. They have, however, criticised the use of threats in Ed Miliband’s speech calling in “Tory rhetoric”.

Steve Turner, the assistant general secretary, said:

[quote]Our young people did not cause the economic crash and shouldn’t be made to pay for it. Any idea that they want a life on benefits is risible when all they want is a decent job and a future.[/quote]

Single Parents Penalised By New Child Maintenance Regulations

Single parents are expected to be penalised by the new child maintenance rules that came into play at the end of last month, child-maintenance-contactexperts claim.

The new rules mean that parents applying to use the Child Maintenance Service will be charged a £20 application fee,  as well potential extra fees for the collection of payments. The changes are predicted to have a negative effect on single-parent and perhaps low-income families who are most likely to need the Child Maintenance Service’s support.

Stephen Lawson, head of litigation at FDR Law, said:

[quote]”In the real world, we know ‘paying parents’ for a wide variety of reasons sometimes fail to pay their regulay payments to support their children. Many struggle financially after the breakup of a relationship and these new rules will make supporting their children that much harder.

Former partners will also suffer. They will receive less maintenance support and will now be penalised for a situation that is outside their control.”[/quote]

As well as the initial £20 application fee to use the Child Maintenance Service, paying parents will be charged a 20% admin fee for every payment they make via the Collect and Pay service. The receiving parent will also have a 4% deduction made on every Child Maintenance payment they receive.

This means that for every £100 assessed, the paying parent (who does not have the main day-to-day responsibility of the child) will actually have to pay £120. The receiving parent, meanwhile, that takes care of the child, will only receive £96 after the admin fee of £24 has been deducted.

Over the next few years, the Child Support Agency will be gradually replaced with the Child Maintenance Service, and all cases will be transferred accordingly. Parents will have a month to change to the new Direct Pay system, which deducts no extra fees for the paying and receiving of Child Maintenance, and pay any money they owe.

However, if they choose to stick with the Collect and Pay system, the new fees will be added to every maintenance payment handled.

Stephen Lawson advises that parents can avoid admin charges by making private agreements and by paying every instalment on time. Family charity Gingerbread also has an online tool to help families understand the new system and how this could affect them,

Lawson added:

[quote]These rules are designed to make people take responsibility for their own finances. But instead the very parents who need extra help will be let down by a system designed to support them.[/quote]

Labour Considers Offering Month Of Paternity Leave For New Fathers

Labour is considering offering new fathers a month of paternity paternity-leave-ukleave, instead of  two weeks, should it get into power at the next general election.

The government party says that fathers of newborns will get four weeks of paternity leave instead of just two, and be paid twice the current rate, in a bid to encourage fathers to spend more time with their young children.

Experts also say that the move could help fathers become better role models for their children in later life, thanks to creating stronger bonds with their newborns from the earliest stage.

The proposed plans come from the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank (IPPR), whose ‘Condition of Britain’ report includes 30 costed ideas that could help form the basis of Labour’s manifesto. It argues that the current rate of paternity leave is the main reason many dads choose to go back to work early.

Statutory Paternity Pay is currently £3.45 an hour, which some companies top up with income – known as ‘enhanced’ paternity pay. They can also receive ‘additional paternity leave‘, whereby the mother transfers some of her maternity leave over to her partner should she wish to return to work early.

However, it has been found that only 55 percent of men choose to take their full entitlement of paternity leave available to them by the government.

IPPR says the rate of pay should be increased to the national minimum wage of £6.31 an hour, to encourage more men to stay at home with their young ones. The move would also allow mothers more freedom of choice over returning to work after having the baby, and make this transition easier.

IPPR’s senior research fellow Kayte Lawton said:

[quote]Fathers who take more than a few days off around the birth of their child are more likely to be actively involved in raising their child than those who do not.

“Their greater involvement in family life will also make it easier for mothers to return to work after taking maternity leave, which would help raise the family’s income and lessen the impact of motherhood on women’s careers.”[/quote]

Labour is currently studying the proposals, which would require £150 million in funding, to ensure the necessary costs can be met. If the proposal is passed it will become part of Labour’s manifesto for the next general election.

However, Conservative skills minister said the benefit would be too expensive to implement, and would “mean even more spending, more borrowing and more taxes”.

“Exactly what got us into a mess in the first place,” he remarked.


Study Reveals That 4 In 10 Women Are ‘Afraid’ Of Taking Full Maternity Leave

A new study has revealed that one in four women do not take the full maternity-allowance-ukperiod of maternity leave they are entitled to, due to concerns about job security.

The study, carried out by the National Childbirth Trust, raises a red flag regarding the rights of new mothers when it comes to the UK workplace. Although many workplaces offer generous terms for mothers-to-be (such as six months’ full pay plus three months’ half-pay in some cases) many are not so generous, and cause thousands of mothers to cut time with their newborn short in order to go back to work.

Four in ten women said they either hadn’t or would not be taking their full maternity leave. Of these women, 47 percent said this was down to worries about their job security. For others, affordability was the main concern.

Mums-to-be are usually entitled to take a full year off work, but Statutory Maternity Pay can vary from employer to employer.

Women are generally paid Statutory Maternity Pay for the first 39 weeks of their leave, which comes from the government and is paid directly into the mother’s bank account. After this period, their employer may offer them ‘enhanced’ maternity pay which can be paid for up to six months in some cases.

Mothers that don’t qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay may still be eligible to receive Maternity Allowance from the government for 39 or 14 weeks, depending on their circumstances. This applies to women who are self-employed, work on a casual basis or have recently changed jobs.

By law, new fathers are entitled to two weeks off during the 56 days after the birth, but must have worked for their employer for 26 weeks and give the correct notice in order to take advantage.

The mother can also choose to transfer some of her maternity leave to her partner 20 weeks after the baby’s birth if she wishes to go back to work early. This too is paid by the government and is known as additional paternity leave. Fathers may be further entitled to additional paternity pay from their employer, for as long as between 2 and 26 weeks.

The survey by the National Childbirth Trust found that 37 percent of women wouldn’t consider sharing their maternity leave with a partner. Although reliance on a partner’s income and the feeling of maternal responsibility were large factors, the main concern of mothers was that their job role would change during their time away.

While it is illegal for a woman to be made redundant during her maternity leave, many have returned to work only to find that their job role had changed, often to a lower responsibility, lower status and sometimes at risk of redundancy.

In addition, it costs women £1200 on average to take their employers to tribunal for any discrimination they believe they are victim of. This might include harassment, unfair selection for redundancy, or performance management for issues related to her pregnancy.

Roslind Bragg, director of Maternity Action, says she wants the unfair fees to be abolished, as it is “essential for women to be able to exercise their rights”.

Shadow minister for Women and Equalities, Gloria De Piero, also wants more to be done for mothers and mothers-to-be in the workplace.

[quote]”There are many great employers leading the way in supporting mums and dads staying and getting on in work. But there’s a role for government, too, to spread that best practice and end discrimination.”[/quote]


Maternity Allowance Contact Number

0843 178 4192

If you need to contact a member of the maternity allowance customer service team please call 0843 178 4192 to discuss payments or entitlement.

Maternity Allowance Contact Numbers

Department Phone Number Opening Hours
Head Office 0843 178 4192 Weekdays,08:00am – 18:00pm
Eligibility 0843 178 4193 Weekdays,08:00am – 18:00pm
Payments 0843 178 4194 Weekdays,08:00am – 18:00pm
Claiming 0843 178 4195 Weekdays,08:00am – 18:00pm
Complaints 0843 178 4196 Weekdays,08:00am – 18:00pm
Appealing 0843 178 4197 Weekdays,08:00am – 18:00pm
Impact on Other Benefits  0843 178 3554 Weekdays,08:00am – 18:00pm
Change of Circumstances/
0843 178 3554 Weekdays,08:00am – 18:00pm

Maternity Allowance – 0843 178 4192

You can contact the Maternity Allowance head office regarding a number of things such as checking your eligibility, following up your claim, reporting a missing payment, investigated unexpected changes to your other benefits once you started receiving maternity allowance, reporting a change in circumstances for example changes in partner’s income or deciding to go back to work, or to inquire about general information about maternity allowance to speak to someone about any of these enquiries please call 0843 178 4192.

Maternity Allowance Eligibility – 0843 178 4193

To claim Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks, your baby must be due on or after this year’s cut-off date. To check dates regarding 14-week Maternity Allowance, you can call the contact line on 0843 178 4193 or check the Government website.  To claim for 39 weeks you must either be employed and not eligible for statutory maternity pay, you’re self-employed and pay class 2 national insurance or you have stopped working. for 39-week maternity allowance, you must have also been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks and earing (or classed as earning) £30 a week or more for at least 13 weeks (the weeks do not have to be together). You may still be eligible for if you have recently stopped working, it does not matter if you have had different jobs or periods of being unemployed. To find out if you are eligible for Maternity Pay please call 0843 178 4193 to speak to somebody from the team, when applying for Maternity Allowance, you will need to provide a few things. A proof of income, for example, any original payslips. A certificate of small earnings exemption (if applicable for the 14/15 tax year). Proof of the baby’s due date e.g a letter from a doctor or a midwife, or a MATB1 certificate. An SMP1 form (this is only needed if you have been refused statutory maternity pay by your employer). You may also need to provide details of your partner’s income, depending on your claim.

Statutory Maternity Pay

You are eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay from your employer if you have been employed by the same employer for 26 weeks and you receive at least £112 (before tax) per week from your earnings. You can begin to receive your statutory maternity pay 11 weeks before your baby is due, and will be paid for a total of 39 weeks. If you are not eligible for statutory maternity pay, you may still be eligible for Maternity Allowance. For more information on Statutory Maternity Pay (including whether you are entitled to it) or Maternity Allowance, call the Maternity Allowance team on  and ask to be put through to an advisor or a member of staff who can discuss the different maternity benefits and eligibilities with you. Alternately, you can go to a benefits centre, one-stop shop or jobcentre and ask to speak to an advisor there for more information.

Maternity Allowance Payments – 0843 178 4194

If you are entitled to receive Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks, you will receive either £139.58 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less). If you are receiving Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks, you will be paid £27 a week. Maternity Allowance is paid every 2 or 4 weeks directly into your bank account. Payments can start 11 weeks before your baby is due. You can begin to receive your statutory maternity pay 11 weeks before your baby is due, and will be paid for a total of 39 weeks. For the first 6 weeks, you will receive 90% of your average weekly earnings, whatever they may be. After this time, you will receive a flat rate of £139.58 per week for the next 33 weeks. Payment of your statutory maternity pay is transferred to you the same way as your salary is, which usually means using bank transfers and direct debit. If you are not eligible for statutory maternity pay, you may still be eligible for Maternity Allowance. Call the payments on 0843 178 4194 to team to discuss this or if there have been some problems with your payments.

Claiming Maternity Allowance – 0843 178 4195

Claiming for Maternity Allowance is as simple as filling out an MA1 form. To get your maternity allowance forms, simply find your nearest benefits office and ask for one there, apply online at the official DWP website, or call the Maternity Allowance team on 0843 178 4195 to ask to have one of the MA1 forms posted to you. You will be able to claim for 39 weeks, and this will remain the case if you are self-employed and paying Class 2 National Insurance; self-employed with a Certificate of Small Earnings Exception, or you’ve recently stopped working. If for 26 weeks of the 66 weeks before your baby is due, you happen to be married; in a civil partnership; self-employed or unemployed; do unpaid voluntary work; have a spouse or partner who is registered as self-employed, or you are not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay, you may still be entitled to claim Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks.

Impact on other Benefits – 0843 178 4196

The Maternity Allowance you receive can affect your other benefits, such as Council Tax Reduction; Housing Benefit; Employment and Support Allowance; Income Support; bereavement benefits and Carer’s Allowance. You will not be entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance while receiving Maternity Allowance. To discuss with a member of the team whether your benefits will be affected by your Maternity Allowance please call 0843 178 4196.

Appealing – 0843 178 4197

You should have a decision on your claim within 14 working days of applying. If you’re not happy with the decision, you must ask for mandatory reconsideration before appealing. You can make an appeal after doing so to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. Their contact number is 0843 178 4197 and you will need to fill out some forms that you can request them to send you or you can find the forms on the website.

Change of Circumstances/Miscarriages – 0843 178 3554

You may still be entitled to claim Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks if you’ve recently stopped working; have had different jobs or have had periods of unemployment. Any change in your circumstances or your partner’s circumstances must be reported immediately to your local Jobcentre Plus or by calling 0843 178 3554. If you have unfortunately suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth you may still be entitled to Maternity Allowance. If your baby is stillborn from the 24th week of your pregnancy or born alive at any point during the pregnancy (premature) you will still be entitled to Maternity Allowance.

Other ways to contact the Maternity Allowance team

For a hassle-free way to check your own entitlements to Maternity Allowance, you can use the free calculator tool which allows you to input your details and estimate your likely levels of income using maternity benefits. This will help you estimate your total Statutory Maternity Pay, or your Maternity Allowance if you don’t qualify for SMP. With this information, you can budget more effectively to make sure you aren’t caught out at this critical time, and work ahead of time to supplement your income if necessary. Concerned employers can also use the Maternity and Paternity calculators to check how much maternity/paternity allowance or adoption pay their employee is entitled to, and budget accordingly to ensure their employees can take the best possible care of themselves and their new arrival.

Maternity Allowance Head Office Address

Department Address
WV98 1SU.