15 Things you need to know about Statutory Maternity Pay
All you need to know about Statutory Maternity Pay to make sure that you don’t miss out on a single penny…
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is the legal minimum your company has to pay you when you fall pregnant and decide to take maternity leave. SMP is paid for up to 39 weeks. The payments are split into two portions
- 90% of your average weekly earnings (gross, before tax) for the first six weeks
- After that you will get either £151.20 or 90% your average weekly earnings
Tax and National Insurance will be deducted at the same frequency as it was prior to maternity leave. Our simple infographic explains this easily for you
- To earn on average £116 a week
- Make sure you give enough notice
- To provide proof of pregnancy, with a MatB1 form or letter from your doctor
- To have worked for your employer without a break for at least 26 weeks.
4. How to claim SMP, once you are eligible?
Your employer must explain to you why you do not qualify for SMP within 7 days of their decision via a SMP1 form. You may qualify for Maternity Allowance instead.
For the first six weeks, you will receive 90% of your average weekly earnings. Over the remaining 33 weeks, you will then receive £151.20 per week or 90% of your average weekly pay, whichever is lower. Calculate how much you will receive here.
Fathers may qualify for Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay if they and their partner are:
- Expecting a baby
- Going through the adoption process
- Having a baby via surrogacy
You can decide to take either 1 week or 2 weeks’ leave, although these must be consecutive. The same amount of time applies even if you are having more than one child (twins or triplets for example). Leave cannot begin before the baby is born. The start date should be:
- The actual date of the baby’s birth
- An set number of agreed days after the birth
- An agreed number of days after the expected week of childbirth
Statutory Paternity Leave must finish within 56 days of the birth (or the due date if your new arrival comes early). The start and end dates are different if you are in the process of adopting. How much is Statutory Paternity Pay? Statutory Paternity Pay is set at either £151.20 a week or 90% of the father’s average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Tax and National Insurance will also be deducted.
Yes, you will qualify for a further period of up to 52 weeks’ statutory maternity leave to cover your new pregnancy. The number of previous maternity leave periods you have had aren’t taken into account, or whether they overlap or not.
Starting your new maternity leave
The next thing to do is decide when you want your next period of maternity leave to start. The earliest this can be is the beginning of the 11th week before the week your new baby is expected to come along. It is up to you to choose when you would like to start your maternity leave and you should tell your employer no later than the 15th week before your baby is due.
If your first maternity
13. I think I’ve been paid incorrectly. What should I do?
Speak to your employer and ask them to explain your SMP if you think it may be incorrect. If you disagree with the amount you’re getting or your employer can’t pay (because they’ve gone out of business for instance), ring the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) advice line on 0870 042 0477.
14. My employer is going into liquidation – will I still get my SMP payments?
Sadly employers become insolvent (run out of money) every day in the UK. This can happen even once when you have qualified for Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption or Sick Pay and your payments have started.
If the worst happens, you will still get your statutory payment once you have qualified for it. If your employer is still operating, you should continue to receive your payments from them as normal. Alternatively, they may pay you the rest of your SMP in a lump sum. If your employer goes into liquidation (closes down), then the administrators should get in touch with you to guide you on applying for your statutory payments from the government.
15. My employer is making people redundant. How will it affect me while I’m on Maternity Leave?
Your employer is not allowed to sack you simply for becoming pregnant and going on maternity leave; it’s against the law. However, there are three scenarios where you can legally lose your job through redundancy. These could be:
- If the business stops operating, either temporarily or permanently
- If the business relocates and you are not able to get to the new place of work
- When there’s less work available so fewer employees are needed
The law says that it’s discriminatory for an expectant mum to be made redundant simply because she is on, or is about to go
Your employment contract will lay out your specific rights so always check it closely if you have one.