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Baby on Board: BALPA’s campaign for enhanced maternity pay

by Nancy Jackson Media and Communications Officer

£145.18 a week is not a huge amount of money.

Especially when that has to cover all your living expenses and help you support a growing family. For female pilots, who may be the main earners in their household, taking a pay cut to this level and continuing to pay the mortgage, repay training loans and support a new baby is just not possible.  But nevertheless, that’s the reality for many British pilots who find themselves on maternity leave and struggling financially.

It is clear that for women, the viability and attractiveness of a career as a pilot is significantly affected by the ability to balance their job with maternity and childcare commitments. This is a multi-faceted subject which raises questions about flexible working, rostering and the role of fathers and second parents (and the support offered to them by their employers). But at its most fundamental level, lies the issue of maternity pay.

The financial support available to a woman following the birth of her child has a major influence on the decisions that she will make, the consequences of which will be present for an entire career.
 “I still don’t know what the best thing to do would be: lose our home and deal with a 90% pay cut, or terminate the pregnancy.”


That’s why the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) is launching an industry wide campaign calling for better maternity provision for pilots. At the moment when the industry is seeking to encourage more women in to the career, it seems an obvious time to campaign to bring about a real change and remove barriers that clearly deter many from the profession.

What we want:

BALPA is calling for suitable enhanced maternity pay packages for pilots and is specifically calling for the following:

•    Women on maternity leave to receive full pay for the first 26 weeks of their maternity leave and half pay for the remainder of their statutory maternity leave.

•    The level of full pay and half pay should be calculated by reference to the individual pilot’s average pay over the 12 months prior to that pilot being removed from flying duties having declared themselves to be pregnant.

This represents a fair proposal by reference to other large employers in the UK. It is in line with the pay offered by comparable professional employers in other industries while enabling companies to present an industry-leading maternity pay package within the UK aviation industry.

This will benefit women pilots by allowing them to have children earlier in their careers and by reducing the financial hardship associated with having children.

What we are doing:

Since 2017 a group of female pilots have come together, with the assistance of BALPA, to examine the issue. They are all committed to encouraging more women to become pilots and are united in the belief that the current level of maternity pay available is grossly inadequate, causes significant hardship to women seeking to balance their careers with their family lives, and presents a major disincentive to women considering a career as a pilot.

BALPA is holding a briefing for MP’s and industry representatives to highlight the issue and call for enhanced maternity pay for pilots across the industry.

What can you do to join the campaign?

Please support our campaign for enhanced maternity pay for pilots by signing our petition.

Further Information: