For more detailed information, do check our Frequently Asked Questions on this issue.
Check your contract
You are still bound by your contract while on maternity/adoption/shared parental leave so you need to check if it allows you to do employed or self employed work. Not all contracts allow employees them to work elsewhere.
If your contract normally lets you work elsewhere, your employer cannot have a special clause preventing you from doing so during maternity leave; to do so would be maternity discrimination.
Keeping in Touch (KIT) and SPLIT Days
Employees on maternity/adoption leave are allowed to work up to 10 KIT days without their maternity/adoption leave or pay stopping. Employees on Shared Parental Leave (SPL) are allowed to work up to 20 SPL Keeping in Touch (SPLIT) days without their shared parental leave or pay stopping. A KIT or a SPLIT day is a normal calendar day, whether you work a full day or just an hour you will have used up a KIT/SPLIT day.
Where you can work on a KIT/SPLIT day depends on the kind of maternity pay you are getting. If you are getting Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) or Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) then you can only work for the employer paying you SMP, SAP or ShPP (but see below).
If you are getting Maternity Allowance (MA) then any work, whether self employed or for any employer, counts as a KIT day.
Working other than KIT/SPLIT days
Again, what work you can do depends on your maternity/adoption or parental pay.
If you are in receipt of MA and work any days beyond the 10 KIT days then there is a real risk that your MA will stop, for at least the number of days that you work in excess of the 10 KIT days. It doesn’t matter who the work is for or if it is on a self employed basis. It is at the discretion of JobCentre Plus, who administer MA, to determine whether you should be disqualified from receiving MA for a reasonable period as a result of working beyond the 10 KIT days. Working more than 10 KIT days may also affect your entitlement to remain on maternity leave.
If you are getting SMP/SAP/ShPP then you can work on a self employed basis for another organisation without it affecting your SMP/SAP/ShPP. It would be very risky for you to work for your usual employer on a self-employed basis as it would probably not look like genuine self-employment; this is particularly so if the work you would be doing is just the same as the work you did as an employee
If you work for an employer for whom you worked in the 15th week before the week the baby was due (or in the case of adoption, the 15th week before the week you were notified of being matched with your child) then it will not affect your SMP/SAP/ShPP from any other employer. You must inform any employer who is paying you SMP/SAP/ShPP. See also Maternity Rights if you have more than one job.
If you work for an employer for whom you did not work in the 15th week before the week the baby was due (or in the case of adoption, the 15th week before the week you were notified of being matched with your child) then it will stop SMP/SAP/ShPP from any employer who is paying it. You must tell the employer paying you SMP/SAP/ShPP.
This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details
If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.