Statutory maternity pay (SMP) is paid for no more than 39 weeks and is usually paid during the 39 weeks of maternity leave. It first becomes payable when an employee is not at work because of her pregnancy or because she has given birth.
A pregnant woman qualifies for SMP provided she has:
The employee also has to be:
This specifically covers employees but an agency worker is also eligible for SMP even if she is not eligible for SML.
If you have more than one employer, you may be able to claim SMP from each one.
If you do not qualify you may be able to claim maternity allowance. Your employer must give you form SMP1 stating the reason why it cannot pay you SMP. This form will be required to support any claim to maternity allowance. You must also have your original MAT B1 form returned back to you.
If there is a dispute between you and your employer over whether you should be paid SMP, then you can refer it to HM Revenue and Customs to make a formal decision.
If a qualifying employee's employment ends after the start of the 'qualifying week' (the 15th week before her EWC) but before the employer starts paying her SMP, the employer must still pay it. This also applies if an employee's employment ends during the SMP period.
These rules apply regardless of whether an employee's employment ends voluntarily, e.g. she resigns, or because she is dismissed.
If you return to work, but then for any reason you stop work whilst still in your SMP period, your employer must start paying you SMP again.
An employer can stop paying SMP if an employee:
SMP is payable at a rate of 90% of an employee's average weekly earnings (AWE) for the first 6 weeks. There is no upper limit. The remaining 33 weeks are paid at £148.68 per week or 90% of your AWE, whichever is lower. Your employment contract may entitle you to additional maternity pay.