Redundancy while pregnant: SMP paid in a lump sum, carers' allowance, tax & funded childcare hours
I have a complex set of overlapping questions about redundancy during pregnancy, SMP and benefits, which I have not been able to find an answer to myself.
Here are the details:
- I’m being made redundant at the end of this month, my final working day is 31st Jan.
- I’m entitled to SMP but it will be paid in a lump sum on 1st March along with enhanced mat pay and PILON of 12 weeks notice.
- My due date is late April (third child).
- I won’t be returning to the workforce full time but instead will be caring for my son who receives the higher care element of DLA so want to claim Carer’s Allowance.
- Both my children attend nursery part-time – the eldest (who receives DLA) is currently entitled to 30 funded hours and my current youngest will be entitled to 15 funded hours from September. They are also both currently entitled to a tax-free childcare account – all because my husband and I both work.
I have 2 main concerns:
- Due to being paid SMP in one lump sum I worry I will be seen as being employed for the following 39 weeks and unable to claim carers allowance for this period, but at the same time will lose my children’s funded childcare hours and tax-free account because I am seen as unemployed – surely I cannot be counted as employed by one department and unemployed by another at the same time? Also, if I’m seen as ‘employed’ still, would I have to pay back my SMP should I start a new part-time job prior to the end of the 39 weeks?
- Had I not been made redundant, my mat leave would have been starting in the 2024/25 tax year and so I would’ve only paid tax on £300 of my SMP/enhanced company mat pay, but because the company is paying me the same amount but in a lump sum in the 23/24 tax year I will be taxed on all of it and end up taking home approx. £3,000 less than I would’ve done. Can I claim any tax back or legally request my company changes the payment date of my final payment so that it falls after April 5th?
If I am unable to neither work part-time, claim Carer’s Allowance nor receive funded childcare for 39 weeks I will end up bankrupt. I am losing sleep over it, and taking my two older children out of nursery would be detrimental to their wellbeing – especially my eldest who is disabled and due to start school in September.
If anyone could provide clarity to my situation (am I employed or unemployed for that SMP period?) and suggest next steps (i.e. should I refuse the SMP payment so that I can claim Carer’s Allowance/seek part-time employment sooner?) it would be much appreciated.Thanks all.
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