Maternity Pay, Paternity, Adoption & Sick Pay [2024 UK Visa Guidance]

This article will discuss how receiving maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay or sick pay can affect your UK partner visa or UK parent visa application.

This article applies to the following visas, for which we have written free & detailed guides:

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If maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay or sick pay is received, this can impact the UK spouse visa financial requirements in 2024.

Receiving one of the above can add a degree of flexibility to the application, as this can change:

(a) the relevant date for considering the length of employment with the person’s current employer; and

(b) the relevant period for calculating employment income.

For more information on the financial requirement, see our spouse visa UK financial requirements guidance for 2024 article.

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step 1

What category will your employment income fall under?

As we discuss in our article, “Category A or B, F or G? [UK Visa Financial Requirements Guide]“, it is important to know the Category your income is being included under because:

  • The calculation of the employment income will be different; and
  • The documents you will be required to submit will be different.

#1 First, you should make sure whether the employer is a ‘specified limited company‘ or not.

A ‘specified limited’ company is defined in paragraph 9(a) of Appendix FM-SE as a company which:

  • The person whose income you are relying on is a director or employee of the limited company; and
  • Shares of this employing company are held by the applicant, sponsor or by family members of the applicant and/or sponsor; and
  • Fewer than five other persons hold the remaining shares.

Family members include parents, grandparents, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and first cousins.

It is also important to note that only UK-registered companies are specified limited companies under the Immigration Rules.

For a more in-depth discussion of specified limited companies, check out our article “Specified Limited Company Guidance [Sole Directors, Owners and Employees]“.

When the employer is a specified limited company and the employee receives maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay in the UK, the implications of receiving maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay or sick pay can be less straightforward.

In such a case, you may consider speaking to an immigration advisor about your particular circumstances, as the best advice given will be fact specific.

Just so this article benefits the majority of its readers, however, this article will assume that the employer is not a specified limited company.


#2 If the employed partner will have been employed for longer than six months with their current employer when you submit the online application, you should first consider if you can meet the financial requirement under Category A.

If you do not meet the financial requirement under Category A, you should then look at how the financial requirement is calculated under Category B.


#3 If the employed partner will have been employed for fewer than six months with your current employer when you submit the online application, you will only be able to include your income under Category B.

If time permits, however, you may want to consider waiting until the employed partner has been employed for six months or longer and then apply under Category A.


#4 You should check whether the UK partner (a.k.a. the ‘sponsor’) receives a “permitted benefit”.

If the UK partner receives a permitted benefit, then Categories A-G does not generally apply.

Instead, the ‘adequate maintenance test‘ will govern whether the financial requirement is met.

The following are permitted benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance.
  • Carer’s Allowance.
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
  • Severe Disablement Allowance.
  • Personal Independence Payment.
  • Attendance Allowance.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme.
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
  • Police Injury Pension.
  • Child Disability Payment.
  • Adult Disability Payment.

This article will assume that none of the above permitted benefits are received.


How does unpaid maternity, paternity, adoption, parental, or sick leave affect which category you apply under?

Unpaid maternity, paternity, adoption, parental, or sick leave can affect which category you should apply under.

The general rule

Any periods of unpaid maternity, paternity, adoption, parental or sick leave should be disregarded regarding calculating the length of employment.

It will not break any continuous period relating to the person’s employment or income from employment.

This is because of Appendix FM-SE para 13 (i), which states:

Any period of unpaid maternity, paternity, adoption, parental or sick leave in the 12 months before the date of application will not be counted towards any period relating to employment, or any period relating to income from employment, for which this Appendix provides.

So, disregarding any unpaid maternity, paternity, adoption, parental or sick leave, if the person will have been employed for longer than six months by the current employer when the application is submitted, then you can consider applying under Category A.

If the person will have not been employed for longer than six months by the current employer, then Category A cannot be relied on. If you want to rely on Category A, you will have to wait until the person will have been employed for longer than six months with the current employer.

The next question when determining whether you should apply under Category A and Category B is how the gross annual income from employment is calculated.

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step 2

How do you calculate the gross annual income from employment when maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay is received?

How you calculate your income entirely depends on what category your employment income falls under.

Category A

STEP 1 – First, identify the relevant period for the employment income

To calculate the gross annual income from employment, if the person is (or was) in receipt of maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay in the six months before the submission of the application, they can choose the relevant period to be either:

i) The six months before the date of the commencement of the maternity, paternity, adoption or sick leave; OR

ii) The six months before the date of application (the date the application is submitted by paying the Home Office fees).

This is because of Appendix FM-SE para 16 (b), which states:

The relevant period for calculating income from their salaried employment will be the period before the commencement of the maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay or to the date of application.

Knowing the relevant period is essential, not only because it will affect the period for which documents should cover, but also because it affects how the gross annual income from employment is calculated.

The specified periods for combining other sources of income (e.g. non-employment income under Category C) will remain the same unless explicitly stated in Appendix FM-SE and Appendix FM 1.7.

STEP 2 – Note that any periods of unpaid maternity, paternity, adoption, parental or sick leave should be disregarded regarding calculating the length of employment.

It will not break any continuous period relating to the person’s employment or income from employment.

This is because of paragraph 13(i) of Appendix FM-SE which states:

Any period of unpaid maternity, paternity, adoption, parental or sick leave in the 12 months prior to the date of application will not be counted towards any period relating to employment, or any period relating to income from employment, for which this Appendix provides.

Example

The sponsor, Sarah, is using her non-salaried employment under Category A to meet the financial requirement.

Sarah had three weeks of unpaid maternity leave in the three months before submitting the online application.

These three weeks will therefore be ignored when calculating gross annual income from employment under Category A.

It will also not break the required 6-month employment that is required under Category A.


STEP 3 – You must determine whether the employee is either salaried or non-salaried.

What is salaried employment?

Salaried jobs are typically those where the employed partner has been provided with an employment contract that states a minimum amount of working hours (which are paid at a minimum fixed rate).

What is non-salaried employment?

Non-salaried jobs are typically where the employed person is paid an amount based on the amount of work undertaken (e.g. per hour).

The hours that the employee is required to work may vary from week to week.


STEP 4 – If the employment is salaried, you multiply the lowest salary payment received in the ‘relevant period’ by 12 (if the salary is received monthly) or by 52 (if the salary is received weekly).

We discussed the relevant period in Step 1.


STEP 5 – If the employment is non-salaried, you should do the following to work out the gross annual income from non-salaried employment that you can include under Category A:

i) Total the gross income you have received from employment in the relevant period. We discussed the relevant period in Step 1.

ii) Divide the figure that is reached in i) by 6.

iii) Multiply the figure that is reached in ii) by 12.


Category B

STEP 1 – Identify the relevant period for the employment income

To calculate the amount of employment that can be included under Category B, if the person is in receipt of maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay or has been so in the six months before the date of application, they can choose the relevant period to be either:

i) The 12 months before the commencement of the maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay; OR

ii) The 12 months before the date the online application is submitted.

The reason for this is found in paragraph 16 (b) of Appendix FM-SE, which states the following:

The relevant period for calculating income from their salaried employment will be the period before the commencement of the maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay or to the date of application.

If you combine employment income with other sources of income, it is important to note that the relevant periods for combining different sources of income, such as rental income under Category C, will generally stay the same.


STEP 2 – Note that if there have been any periods of unpaid maternity, paternity, adoption, parental or sick leave in the 12 months before the date the online application is submitted, you can ignore this in calculating the length of employment.

This is because this unpaid leave will not break any continuous period relating to the income from employment or the person’s employment.


STEP 3 – If the employment is salaried, two tests must be met to satisfy the financial requirement under Category B alone.

TEST 1

The employed partner’s current gross annual income from employment, as stated in the ‘most recent payslip’, has to equal or exceed the minimum income threshold that applies (which is usually £18,600 but will be higher if dependant children are applying).

Remember, since those in receipt of maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay can choose the relevant period, the ‘most recent payslip’ can be either:

i) The last payslip received before the commencement of the maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay; or

ii) the last payslip received before the submission of the online application.

To calculate the current gross annual income based on the most recent payslip…

i) Multiply the amount as stated in the most recent payslip by 12 (if you receive your salary every month)

ii) Multiply the amount as stated in the most recent payslip by 52 (if you receive your salary every week)


TEST 2

The employed partner’s total gross income received in the relevant period from current and previous employment from non-specified limited companies must be higher than the minimum income threshold that applies (£18,600, higher if dependant children are also applying).

Remember, since those in receipt of maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay can choose the relevant period, the ‘relevant period’ can be either:

i) The 12 months before the commencement of the maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay; or

ii) The 12 months before the submission of the online application.


STEP 4 – If the employment is non-salaried, two tests must be met to satisfy the financial requirement under Category B alone.

TEST 1

The ‘annualised average’ from current non-salaried employment in the relevant period must be higher than the minimum income threshold that applies (£18,600+) to satisfy the financial requirement under Category B alone.

The question then becomes, how do you work out the ‘annualised average’ for current non-salaried employment?

This can be done in 4 steps for those who receive maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay.

STEP 1

Remember the relevant periods, which can be either:

i) The 12 months before the commencement of the maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay; or

ii) The 12 months before the submission of the online application.


STEP 2

Total your gross employment income (i.e. before tax) received in the relevant period that the employed partner has been employed by the current employer (up to 12 months).

Example #1

If the current employer will have employed you for three months, total the gross income received in these three months.

Example #2

If the current employer will have employed you for 23 months, total the gross income received in the 12-month relevant period.


STEP 3

If you receive payment every month, divide the figure calculated in step 1 by the number of months you have been employed by the current employer within the relevant period.

If you receive payment every week, divide the figure calculated in step 1 by the number of weeks you have been employed by the current employer within the relevant period.

If you receive payment daily, divide the figure calculated in step 1 by the number of days you have been employed by the current employer within the relevant period.


STEP 4

If you receive payment monthly, multiply the figure calculated in step 2 by 12.

If you receive payment weekly, multiply the figure calculated in step 2 by 52.

If you receive payment daily, multiply the figure calculated in step 2 by 365.

After following these three steps, the figure you reach will be the ‘annualised average‘ of gross annual income that can be included in the financial requirement under part 1 of Category B.

This figure must be higher than the minimum income threshold that applies (£18,600+) to meet the financial requirement under Category B alone.


TEST 2

The employed partner’s total gross income received in the relevant period from both current and previous employment from non-specified limited companies must be higher than the minimum income threshold that applies (£18,600+).


Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen if I do not submit the correct financial documents?

Your application will most likely be refused. It is unfortunate that the Home Office adopt such a strict approach regarding this.

What happens if I do not meet all of the requirements relating to maternity pay?

If you do not meet all of the maternity pay requirements, you will be unable to include that income towards the financial requirement.

When do the requirements relating to finances have to be met?

You will need to make sure that you satisfy the financial requirement when you pay the Home Office fees. This is technically known as the ‘date of application’.

Is the financial requirement the most challenging aspect of partner visas?

It is absolutely the case that the financial requirement is the most difficult partner visa requirement. This is because the Home Office adopt an incredibly strict approach to both the requirements and the required documentation.


Summary

Knowing how maternity, paternity, adoption, parental or sick leave affects your application is essential.

Like many areas of the Immigration Rules, unfortunately, the biggest reason for refusals is not that employed partners who are in receipt or have received such leave have earned enough money, but that they do not correctly evidence this income.

If you would like further help in the form of the following:

  • Detailed & Tailored written guidance;
  • A tailored document checklist; and
  • Tailored letter templates; and
  • General email support…

…feel free to check out our DIY application pack service.

Alternatively, you may be interested in our full legal representation service if you would like Ed Lowe, Matthew French & Wendy Foy to handle your application from start to finish.

Ed, Matthew & Wendy all worked in the heart of the Home Office (the UK government department that will process your application) and are exceptionally well-placed to help.

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