Statutory Maternity Pay: Circumstances of the employee affecting payment (2023)

Employees furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

These regulations apply if the employee's family-related statutory remuneration begins on or after April 25, 2020.

If your employee was on vacation and you paid him for part of the relevant 8-week period using the system, there are different rules for calculating his vacationSHY.

This ensures the suitability of your employeeSMPand earnings-related rate ofSMPnot affected if their wages were lower than normal because of the holiday.

The result used to work out theirSHYfor that portion of the 8 week period that they were on holiday, the greater of the two is what they:

  • actually received from their employer
  • would have received from their employer if they had not been on holiday

If it's not clear what the employee would have received, a helpful starting point is the reference salary, which is used to determine how much you've claimed through the system. For instructions seeWork out 80% of your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

You should also consider payments that the employee was supposed to receive during the relevant period that would have been classified as income. This could include:

  • bonus payments
  • commission payments

No changes to the way you work yours outSHYis needed where:

  • You claimed the worker's wages through the system, but you topped it up to full wages at your own expense - the worker's earnings were no less than they would have been
  • As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you have agreed on a non-tariff reduction in pay with your employee in the period in question

Employee income affected by a pay rise

A salary increase may not be withheld because of maternity leave.

You need to recalculate the average weekly earnings (SHY) to take into account increases in salary that have been granted or that would have been granted if your employee had not been on maternity leave.

This applies if the salary increase occurs at any time between the start of the 8-week statutory maternity benefit period (SMP) and the end of statutory maternity leave.

If a salary increase is granted after you have calculated your employee's income and that salary increase is from the start date of the relevant period but before the maternity benefit period (MPP) ends, you must:

  • recalculateSHYincorporate the salary increase as if it were effective from the beginning of the relevant period
  • pay any extraSMPdue

If a raise is granted, which when recalculated means the income is now high enough for your employee to receiveSMPIf they couldn't before, you must:

  1. Train 90% of theSHY.
  2. Take the standard set ofSMP.
  3. Pay the difference for 6 weeks.

If 90% of theSHYbelow the standard rate, you may not have to pay your employee anything.

This is because they may have received the balance ofSMPfrom the Jobcentre Plus (or the Job and Benefits Office in Northern Ireland) as maternity benefit (MA).

Not all women are entitled to itMA, or theMAcan be smaller than thatSMPYour employee is now entitled to. You should ask them to get a letter from Jobcentre Plus (or the Job and Benefits Office in Northern Ireland) to confirm the amountMAhas been received.

If your employee gives you a letter from the Jobcentre Plus office (or Jobs and Benefits office in Northern Ireland) stating how muchMAhas been received:

  1. Calculate the total ofSMPthey are entitled to it.
  2. take those awayMAthat was paid for.
  3. Take everyone awaySMPYou have already paid.
  4. Pay your employee the difference.

Your employee should still benefit from a salary increase, even if she does not want to work for you again after the end of her parental leave.

If a salary payment is made after they have ended their employment and the salary increase is backdated to the time they worked for you or were on maternity leave with you, they may be entitled to the salary increase. You need to check the terms of your old employment contract.

If more than one salary increase was granted during maternity leave, then you need to make a separate calculation for each.

Underpayments and Overpayments

If there is overpaid or underpaid earnings related to theSHYdisadvantage either you or the employee, verify that there are supporting documents supporting the amount that should have been paid.

(Video) Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) - Payroll essentials

If used, the agreed earnings are to be calculatedSHY.

If not use actual revenue.

employee becomes ill

If the employee:

  • becomessick during the SMP pay perioddo not pay statutory sick pay (SSP), keep payingSMPlike normal
  • return to work within theMPPand then falls ill during that time, paySMP, notSSP

"Keep in touch" days

In order to stay in touch during parental leave and to make it easier for your employees to return to work, they can work for you for up to 10 days during their parental leave. This does not end their maternity leave or mean they lose theirsSMPfor all the weeks they work.

These 10 days are called “keep in touch” (KIT) days and have your employee attend training sessions or do odd jobs for you.

The employer has no right to itKITWork gets done and an employee doesn't have to do it. Before any work, you must agree with your employee:

  • what work they will do
  • if sheKITDays in a row, individually or in blocks - each work on any day (even an hour) counts as a wholeKITTag
  • how much they are paid for their work

You can count the crowdSMPon the contractual wage agreed with your employee, but you must pay the weekly wageSMPWage to which the worker is entitled and compliance with your legal obligations (e.g. paying at least the national minimum wage).

If your employee has more than 10 days for you in hisSMPPayment period:

  • You can't paySMPthem for all weeks where they work
  • Your maternity leave is coming to an end

As soon as your employee turns 10KITdays they lose a weekSMPfor each week or part week they work for you.

TheSMPThe payment period is not extended by these weeks. AnySMPIn this way, the standard rate is always lost first, i.e. 90% of theSHYif this is lower than the standard rate.

A female worker must take maternity leave for 2 weeks - or 4 weeks if she works in a factory - immediately after the birth of the child and cannot work or workKITday at this time.

The employee returns to work and then falls ill

Where your employee has returned to work within theirsMPPand get sick what they can't getSSPfrom you. You should consider payingSMP.

Employee leaves job

Your co-worker cannot get maternity leave if she quit her job, but she can still qualify for itSMP.

It doesn't matter why they left or why they don't come back - they have a right to itSMPIf they meet the eligibility requirements, you cannot ask them to repay you.

Special rules apply to the start of payment. Calculate the date of the Sunday of the 11th week before the week of birth.

If you leave your employment before this date, theSMPPayment period begins on the earlier of the following dates:

  • on the Sunday of the 11th week before the due date
  • the day after the baby was born

If they end their employment after the beginning of the 11th week and before another payment-triggering event, the payment period begins on the day after the day of termination of employment.

The employee works for another employer

It is up to your employee to tell you that they are working for another employer and when they will stop working for that employer.

The employee starts working for another employer before or during the qualifying week (QW)

If your employee before the end of theQWyou have to keep payingSMPduring theMPP, even if they continue to work for that employer after the baby is born, unless one of the following applies:

The employee then takes up work for another employerQWand before the baby is born

Does your employee start afterQW, but before the birth of the child you do not have to pay anythingSMPfor all the weeks they work for that employer after the birth of the baby.

They need to be restoredSMPyour employee does not work for this employer for full maternity weeks after the birth.

(Video) How Statutory Maternity Pay Works in the UK? Your Benefits, Paid and Unpaid Maternity Leave

If your employee's contract with that employer ends during theMPP, their claimSMPwill restart until the end ofMPP.

The employee starts working for another employer after the birth of the child

If your employee starts working for another employer after the birth of the child, you do not have to pay anythingSMPfor all the weeks they work for that employer.

You have to paySMPyour employee does not work for this employer during full maternity weeks.

If your employee's contract with that employer ends during theMPP, Entitlement toSMPalso ends and cannot be restarted.

You must issue your employeeSMP1 image.

Employees taken into custody

You can't paySMPfor allSMPPay week that your employee is in statutory detention (this usually means they are in prison) or for each week in the pay period thereafter.

You have to give the employeeSMP1 imagewithin 7 days of the decision. This must be done within 28 days of the employee's date of absence (or date of birth, if earlier).

It is the responsibility of your employee to let you know if they are in detention.

They are not in legal custody if they:

  • voluntary support of the police in their investigations
  • on security deposit
  • serve a suspended sentence

employee dies

If your employee dies during theMPP, you should paySMPfor the week they die, but not for any week in theMPPthereafter.

baby dies

If the baby dies during theSMPPayment period, payment should continue as usual.


Your employee is entitled to itSMPand maternity leave if the baby is stillborn.

A stillbirth is when the baby is stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy.

Before the payment is made, you need proof (e.g. a certificate of the stillbirth from the registrar or a certificate or notification of the registration of a stillbirth issued by the attending midwife or doctor).

If a baby is born alive but survives only a moment, it is a live birth and you must apply the live birth rules.

employment interruption

Some breaks between periods of employment do not interrupt a continuous period of employment forSMPpurposes. Employees with an ongoing service contract remain employed without interruption during the following breaks:

  • temporary cessation of work - including fixed-term contracts or agency workers
  • public holidays
  • Illness or injury - the employee can getSMPif the total length of incapacity is 26 weeks or less
  • Paternity, parental and adoption leave - if the employee took paternity leave when adopting a child or when a baby was born and he worked for you before and after the break
  • Pregnancy - if your employee has not worked for you due to childbirth and has worked for you before and after the break and the break does not last more than 26 weeks

Benefits in kind and contractual benefits

Typically, you can pay part of your employee's earnings in kind (for example, providing room and board, or providing goods or services).

However, you don't have to pay anySMPcomplete.SMPcannot be sacrificed or offset against other benefits, it must be paid out in cash.

All non-remunerated contractual services must continue during the statutory maternity leave. This can be, for example, vouchers for childcare, company cars or mobile phones that are made available to the employee as part of their employment contract.

lump sums

If you decide to pay theSMPAs a lump sum, you and your employee could pay more social security contributions (network cards) than if you paid it on your regular payday.

reinstatement after termination

If your employee has not worked for you during the relevant period because you have made him redundant, he is entitled toSMPas if they had not been fired if:

(Video) Calculate your maternity pay or benefits on GOV.UK

  • They are reinstated because an employment tribunal decides that you wrongly fired them
  • They are reinstating them through a statutory grievance process

reinstatement after military service

If the employee did not work for you during the relevant period because he served in the army, but worked for you again within 6 months after his service in the army ended, you may still be able to get himSMP.

The employee must have been with you for at least 26 consecutive weeks by the end of the yearQWto getSMP.

The period of military service does not count towards the 26 weeks.

The period of employment with you before and after military service counts.

commercial disputes or labor disputes

Your employee must have been with you for at least 26 uninterrupted weeks by the end of the yearQW. Do not count the strike time (even if it was one day) as that week does not count as part of the 26 weeks.

Your employee must have been employed for 26 weeks from the start of their employment into the yearQW.

preterm or preterm birth afterQW

If the baby is born prematurely, there are special rules about when your employee must give you a testimony and when you start paying. All other terms and conditions apply.

Your employee could not give you advance notice, but he must give you the date of birth as soon as possible.

Your employee should provide you with a medical certificate (usually a form MATB1 maternity certificate) of the due date and date of birth. You can accept a birth certificate as proof of the date of birth.

Your employee should provide you with the proof within 21 days of the date of birth or as soon as possible if that is not possible and no later than 13 weeks after the start of the date of birthSMPpayment period.

The parental leaveSMPThe payment period begins on the day after the date of birth.

Baby born on or beforeQW

If the baby is born in or beforeQW, there are special rules. The employee must:

  • give you medical proof of the due date
  • have been employed by you continuously for 26 weeks
  • haveSHYhigh enough in therelevant period
  • Provide an acceptable notification for the start ofSMP

Your employee should provide you with a medical certificate (usually a maternity certificate MATB1) showing the baby's expected date of birth as well as the actual date of birth.

You can accept any document signed by a doctor or midwife as long as it includes an estimated date of birth.

You can accept a birth certificate as proof of date of birth, but it is not proof of due date.

Your employee should provide you with the evidence within 21 days of starting workSMPPayment term, or as soon as they can, but no later than 13 weeks after the start of paymentSMPpayment period.

If the baby is born before or during theQWthe continuous employment rule is met as if they had 26 weeks of continuous employment with you if the baby had not been born prematurely.

You have to work that outSHYimrelevant periodby using the date of birth instead of thatQW.

If the worker is absent from work due to her pregnancy and the absence lasts into the 4 week period or begins within the 4 week period beginning on Sunday the 4th.

TheSMPThe payment period and maternity leave begin on the day after the first full day of incapacity for work due to pregnancy within the 4-week period. This can mean paying a mix of wages and salariesSMPat the beginning or end of the period.

If you are not sure whether the employee's absence is due to the pregnancy, contact theEmployer Helplinefor advice.

(Video) How to Survive on MATERNITY Pay | Statutory maternity pay

The employee is out of the questionSMP:PAYSettlement Agreements

You need to recalculate your employee'sSHYif all of the following apply:

  • herSHYbe below the applicable lower income limit at the endQW
  • they received expense allowances or non-cash benefits in the relevant period
  • the expenses or benefits in aPay-as-you-earn (PAYE) billing agreement

You need to recalculate theirsSHYif you had to recalculate your employee's earnings because they did not qualify, and both are true:

  • part of their income was included in aPAYE Settlement Agreement
  • You will receive a retrospective salary increase effective during or before the start of the relevant period that you did not include in the original calculation

If they do not intend to return to work after the birth, they may still be entitled to the wage increase. You need to check the terms of your old employment contract.

wage sacrifice

Does an employee have asalary sacrificeherSHYcalculated on the amount of earnings actually paid during the relevant period.SMPcannot be sacrificed, it must be paid in full.

CalculateSHYforSMP, base the calculation on the income that is subjectnetwork cards. Seecosts and benefitsfor more informations.

Some childcare support programs that you provide and make available to your employees may be exemptPAYtax and class 1network cards.

The value of the care vouchers granted during theMPPcannot be deductedSMP.

Where an employee agrees to acceptvouchers for child careas part of a pay offering theirSMPEligibility is assessed on their gross incomenetwork cardsare payable.

  1. Calculate the total amount they are now entitled to.
  2. Take everyone awaySMPYou have already paid.
  3. Pay any extra chargeSMPdue.

If the newSHYare below the lower income limit that they cannot reachSMP.

If you have not already done so, give this to the employeeSMP1 imagewithin 7 days of the decision.

This must be done within 28 days of the employee's date of absence (or date of birth, if earlier).

Copy the MATB1 Maternity Certificate form and return the original to your employee.

Published March 18, 2014
Last updated on April 27, 2020+Show all updates

  1. Added information on calculating average weekly earnings for employees furloughed under the coronavirus job retention scheme.

  2. Updated the information in the Employee Works for Another Employer section.

  3. Updated Baby born in or before QW section to clarify average weekly earnings over relevant period.

  4. Updated the Employee Works for Another Employer section to clarify when Statutory Maternity Pay is due before and after the birth of a baby.

  5. Added a section on underpayments and overpayments.

  6. First published.

    (Video) Sage 50 Payroll (UK) - Maternity and paternity pay


What can affect my maternity pay? ›

Getting sick pay can affect your maternity pay

Your maternity pay might be affected if you're off sick while you're pregnant. This is because your first 6 weeks of maternity pay is 90% of your average pay during an 8 week 'qualifying period'. This qualifying period takes place while you're pregnant.

How much is statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance? ›

Statutory Maternity Pay ( SMP ) is paid for up to 39 weeks. You get: 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks. £156.66 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

Does SSP affect maternity pay? ›

Your employee is pregnant

Women who are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay ( SMP ) or Maternity Allowance ( MA ) are not entitled to SSP during their Maternity Pay Period ( MPP ) or Maternity Allowance Period ( MAP ). The MPP or MAP is a period of 39 weeks during which SMP or MA is payable.

How do I calculate my maternity pay? ›

You add up the total amount paid in the calculation period and divide it by the number of weeks it represents (usually eight). For the first six weeks, SMP is paid at 90% of your normal earnings in the reference period.

In what circumstances would an employee not qualify for SSP? ›

Employees do not qualify for SSP if they: have received the maximum amount of SSP (28 weeks) are getting Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance - there are special rules for pregnant women and new mothers who do not get these payments.

What happens if you are not eligible for statutory maternity pay? ›

If you're not eligible for SMP

Your employer must give you form SMP1 explaining why you cannot get SMP within 7 days of making their decision. You may be eligible for Maternity Allowance instead.

Who pays statutory maternity pay? ›

Your employer has to pay you this if: you work for your employer in the 15th week before your baby is due and have worked for them for at least 26 weeks before that (you can find your dates by entering your due date below)

How long in total is paid statutory maternity pay for? ›

11210: An Act Increasing the Maternity Leave Period to One Hundred Five (105) Days for Female Workers with an Option to Extend for an Additional Thirty (30) Days Without Pay, and Granting an Additional Fifteen (15) Days for Solo Mothers, and for Other Purposes.

What are the rules of maternity benefit? ›

-- (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, every woman shall be entitled to, and her employer shall be liable for, the payment of maternity benefit at the rate of the average daily wage for the period of her actual absence immediately preceding and including the day of her delivery and for the six weeks immediately ...

Can my employer refuse to pay SSP? ›

Your employer must pay you Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you can get it. You should always talk to your employer to try to sort out a problem before you take any further action. If you can't agree about your SSP, ask your employer to give you their reasons for not paying you SSP in writing.

Does unpaid leave affect maternity pay? ›

The qualifying period for SMP is very strict and your employer cannot take into account any other period. This can mean that if you have periods of sick pay or unpaid leave during your qualifying period it will affect your average earnings and this can mean that your SMP will be lower.

Can an employer pay more than Statutory Maternity Pay? ›

Extra leave or pay

You can offer more than the statutory amounts if you have a company maternity scheme. You must make sure your maternity leave and pay policies are clear and available to staff.

How much is statutory maternity pay 2022? ›

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed the 2022-23 rates for statutory pay. The first six weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) remain the same, at 90% of the employee's average weekly earnings (AWE).

What is statutory maternity pay 2022 23? ›

The rate for 2022/23 for statutory maternity (SMP), paternity (SPP), adoption (SAP), parental bereavement (SPBP) and shared parental pay (SShPP) is set to increase from £151.97 to £156.66 per week.

What happens if SSP isn't enough? ›

If you can't get SSP you might be able to get Pension Credit. You can check if you can get Pension Credit. If you have a disability or illness that makes it hard for you to look after yourself, you might also be able to get Attendance Allowance. You can check if you can get Attendance Allowance.

What to do if your employer hasn t paid you statutory sick pay? ›

Contact the HRMC Statutory Payment Dispute Team

To do so, you should contact the Statutory Payment Dispute Team. If your employer hasn't paid you and hasn't given you a decision, it may be worth writing to them first to tell them that you intend to involve HRMC if they do not inform you of their decision.

Does everyone get statutory sick pay? ›

You must be eligible for SSP . You cannot get less than the statutory amount. You can get more if your company has a sick pay scheme (or 'occupational scheme') - check your employment contract. There are different sick pay rules for agricultural workers.

Will reducing my hours affect my maternity pay? ›

If your employer reduces your work hours due to working conditions, then this should not affect your pay or your maternity pay. However, if working conditions are suitable but you ask your employer to reduce your hours, then this will affect your pay and maternity pay.

Can company stop the maternity pay? ›

If the employer denies maternity benefit to a female employee, the labor court can hold the employer liable to imprisonment for 3 months, fine the employer with an amount up to Rs. 5000, or both, as per the rules for maternity leave in India.

How can I make my maternity pay go further? ›

If you're desperate to spend more time away from work with your baby, try these five suggestions for helping your finances go further.
  1. 1) Use your Keeping In Touch Days. ...
  2. 2) Make wise use of your holiday entitlements. ...
  3. 3) Share your maternity leave with your partner. ...
  4. 4) Check whether you're entitled to Child Benefit.
Nov 23, 2022

Can you get maternity pay and still work? ›

The general rule is that working during maternity or other statutory family leave will stop your statutory pay. For instance, working during maternity leave for your employer will stop your Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance (MA).

How many hours should a pregnant woman work? ›

Legally, pregnant women can continue to work the average 40 hours a week or the hours that they were working previously. However, a pregnant employee must only continue to work these hours if it is safe to do so, physically and emotionally.

How do I survive financially while on maternity leave? ›

11 Financial Tips to Survive Unpaid Maternity Leave
  1. Open a new bank account that pays you.
  2. Look into local resources and supplemental programs.
  3. Cut out unnecessary expenses.
  4. Reconsider current necessary expenses.
  5. Look into part-time work or side hustle jobs.
  6. Get paid for things you're already doing.

Do you have to pay back maternity pay if you don t return to work? ›

You won't need to pay back statutory maternity pay or Maternity Allowance, even if you don't return to work. Check what type of maternity pay you're entitled to if you're not sure.

What if my employer refuses to pay me maternity? ›

If your employer refuses to pay your statutory maternity pay

You'll need to contact HMRC within 6 months of when your employer tells you they won't pay your statutory maternity pay. Your employer has to give you their reasons on a form called 'SMP1'.

Can my boss reject my maternity leave? ›

The employer must respond in writing within 21 days, stating whether they grant or refuse the request. They can only refuse if: they have given the employee a reasonable opportunity to discuss their request. there are reasonable business grounds to do so.


1. What is the qualifying period for maternity pay and leave? Ask the Expert
(Castle Associates)
2. How to Apply Maternity Pay And Leave , Full Process Of Maternity Allowance
(UK Tech And Travels)
3. How do you qualify for maternity pay? Ask the Expert
(Castle Associates)
4. Maternity Leave Regulations HR Essentials
6. Employment Law & Pregnancy - Maternity Leave | Webinar
(Stephensons Solicitors LLP)


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