Updated at: 30-07-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Even while “statutory maternity pay” is a concept most people are acquainted with, few actually know what it is or how to get it. You might feel more prepared for your pregnancy with the knowledge you get from this article about Statutory Maternity Pay.

Statutory Maternity Pay

You may be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or increased maternity pay if you are a working woman who has given birth.

An in-depth look of the SMP program, including what it covers, who is eligible, and how much they may anticipate to get, can be found in this article. You can easily figure out how much maternity leave you are owed by using the Government Calculator.

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Am I eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay?

If you wish to participate in SMP, you need to fulfill the two conditions listed below.

  • Institutionalized guidelines for continuous employment
  • Rule of Earnings

In addition, you’ll need to let your employer know when you want to start your SMP and provide proof of your child’s projected date of birth (your MATB1 form).

The continuous employment rule

If you want to participate, you need to have worked for your present company for at least 26 weeks previous to the qualifying week (which is the 15th week before the week in which the baby is due). To qualify, you need to put in at least one full workday within the qualifying week.

Working for the same company for a long length of time is the common definition of continuous employment. Changing jobs during or after pregnancy, or starting work for your present employer after becoming pregnant, may disqualify you for SMP.

The earnings rules

For National Insurance (NI) reasons, your average gross weekly wages must be greater than or equal to the lower earnings limit. In April and May of 2021 and 2022, this amounts to £120 per week.

When establishing your eligibility for unemployment benefits, the average of your last eight weeks of wages will be used as a benchmark. This time frame is what is meant by the term “relevant period.”

Use the Government Calculator or read our article on Maternity Pay Calculation to determine if you are qualified for SMP.

How much is Statutory Maternity Pay?

There are 39 weeks out of the year when supplemental maintenance pay is given.

  • The first six weeks on the job will pay 90% of your regular salary. To be eligible, you must have made a minimum amount of money in the last two months (the “relevant period”), which can be either eight weeks.
  • For the next 33 weeks, you will be paid 90 percent of your regular weekly earnings or the flat weekly amount (currently £151.97).

Find out how much SMP you are entitled to by using the Government Calculator or reading our article on Maternity Pay Calculation.

When does it start?

It is possible to start taking paid maternity leave as early as the eleventh week of pregnancy.

If your baby is born prematurely, you are eligible for leave beginning the day after the delivery.

You are expected to take two weeks off work after the birth of your child.

Ordinary Maternity Leave, Additional Maternity Leave and Shared Parental Leave

Those who become parents in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland are eligible for Shared Parental Leave.

Your maternity leave will consist of two parts:

  • “Odd Maternity Leave” refers to the first 26 weeks of maternity leave, or the first six months. Upon completion of your maternity leave, you have the right to resume your previous position.
  • In terms of your rights upon your return to work, this second six-month maternity leave period is significant. If you take a vacation of more than six months, you should be able to return to your previous job unless that position is no longer available. A job with comparable income and benefits to your previous position is a necessity.

Your rights on maternity leave

In addition to your regular job perks, the following will be available to you during your maternity leave:

  • payment for taking a vacation day
  • safety net for those worried about being let go without cause
  • You are eligible for pension payments and benefits throughout your Statutory Maternity Leave.
  • During your time off for pregnancy, you will continue to receive your regular paycheck and benefits like health insurance and gym memberships.

How much Statutory Maternity Pay will I get?

Your maternity pay will fluctuate according on how long you are on leave.

You should know that after 39 weeks, your employer is under no further responsibility to pay you anything.

Here is a breakdown of your maternity leave benefits for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Statutory Maternity Leave

The First Six Weeks

Exactly 33 weeks.

In about 13 months.

Statutory Maternity Pay

Ninety percent of your regular weekly income, or £151.97 (in fiscal year 2021/22) (whichever is less)

Ninety percent or more of your normal weekly income before taxes.


This is the minimum amount that your employer must pay you.

Extra payment might be in the cards if the contract allows for it.

Some companies in the United States give maternity benefits that go above and above the minimum required by law.

You may be accountable for any additional expenses if you haven’t returned to work after 52 weeks.

You can keep everything else though. Whether or not you have a specific strategy for your return is irrelevant.

Talk to your boss or HR department about how much time off you’re entitled to for maternity leave.

Occupational Maternity Pay

Talk to your boss or HR department about how much time off you’re entitled to for maternity leave.

Discuss your maternity leave options with your employer or HR representative.

Statutory Maternity Pay if you’re an agency worker

Agency workers who meet the criteria can receive Statutory Maternity Pay. The following actions are required of you:

  • You’ve been with the same agency for 26 weeks when you reach the 15th week before you’re due.
  • The agency will allow you to work part-time beginning in the 15th week of your pregnancy.
  • Income was at least £120 per week on average for the previous two months.

How do I claim Statutory Maternity Pay?

Notifying your employer that you are pregnant and will be taking time off to have a baby is required in order to receive Statutory Maternity Pay.

You are required to give at least 28 days’ notice before you begin your maternity leave. It’s possible that your manager will want to get this information in written form.

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What documents will I need to claim Statutory Maternity Pay?

If you need to take time from work due to pregnancy, you’ll need to provide your employer with a medical certificate (a MATB1). The doctor or midwife will issue this certificate to you before your due date.

When will my Statutory Maternity Pay claim begin?

Beginning with the eleventh week prior to the due date, a woman is eligible to receive Statutory Maternity Pay.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) cannot begin before the week after the week in which the baby is born. You have the right to choose the day on which your statutory maternity pay commences, provided that you are not ill.

If you get ill during the last six weeks of your pregnancy because of the pregnancy, you will be eligible to begin receiving statutory maternity pay the week after you return to work. You can still qualify for Statutory Sick Pay if you’re sick with something other than pregnancy-related symptoms up until the week before your due date.

Change of circumstances

You are responsible for communicating any changes in your situation that may affect your continued eligibility for this benefit.


What is Statutory Maternity Pay?

The SMP is paid for a total of 39 weeks. There are two types of payment for SMP:

  • 90 percent of your regular income will be paid to you during your first six weeks on the job. It’s calculated from your salary between weeks 18 and 26 of pregnancy.
  • For the 33 weeks beginning in April 2021 and ending in April 2022, you will get a weekly rate of £151.97 (or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is less).

Your SMP is paid in the same manner as your salary by your company. Taxes and NI contributions are deducted. HM Revenue and Customs has the right to take your SMP back from your employer (HMRC).

The employer will pay your SMP in the same way that they pay your regular wage. Income is reduced by the amount owed in taxes and National Insurance. Your SMP is subject to revocation by HM Revenue and Customs from your employer (HMRC).

Can I get SMP?

Workers who are paid through PAYE (with tax and NI deducted at source) and who meet the following requirements may be eligible for SMP. Everyone can benefit from this guidance, regardless of how much time they spend at work or how soon they plan to return to it after having a kid. Part-time workers, individuals with short-term or contract jobs, and apprentices can all qualify for SMP if they meet the following conditions. If you don’t qualify for SMP but you are pregnant, you may be eligible for Maternity Allowance.

In order to qualify for SMP, you must satisfy the following conditions:

  • In order to be eligible for maternity leave, you must have worked for the same firm for at least 26 weeks prior to your due date. You need to be at least 26 weeks along in your pregnancy to start working in the 15th week before your expected week of delivery.
  • You have been employed by the same company for 15 weeks before the week in which you are scheduled to begin your new job. It doesn’t matter if you’re sick, on vacation, or only able to put in a partial day’s work; you’ll still be considered present for the entire work week. If you lose your job before the 15th week of your pregnancy and match the other criteria, you may still be eligible for SMP.
  • You get at least £120 (before tax) per week from April 2021 through April 2022, the eight weeks (if paid weekly) or two months (if paid monthly) leading up to the last pay day before the end of the 15th week before the week in which you give birth. Employers must utilize the amount of money you would have gotten if not on furlough when figuring up an employee’s average weekly wage.

When can I get SMP?

To start your SMP as early as 11 weeks before your due date, you can. While you are pregnant, you are free to work as much as you like.

  • You’ve been sick or absent from work due to pregnancy-related reasons for the four weeks coming up to your due date.
  • Your child is born before your maternity leave officially begins.

In the event that you need to take off work due to a pregnancy-related illness four weeks before your expected week of delivery, your SMP will begin on the day after your first day of absence. If you call in sick on a Wednesday, your SMP period will start the following Thursday. In the event that you give birth prior to the start of your maternity leave, your SMP will begin on the day after the date of delivery.

How to give notice for maternity leave and pay?

In order to qualify for maternity leave, the following information must be submitted to your employer no later than the 15th week before the expected date of your baby’s birth:

  1. a new baby is on the way
  2. the final week before the deadline
  3. How soon do you hope to start your maternity leave?

In order to move your maternity leave start date, you must tell your employer at least the earlier of the original start date or 28 days’ notice. If that isn’t possible for any reason, let your manager know as soon as you can.

At least 28 days before you want to start receiving SMP benefits, you must give your employer notice.

Giving notice of leave and pay can be done beginning in the 15th week before you are due.

To be eligible for SMP, you must give your employer with a copy of your pregnancy certificate (form MAT B1) from your midwife or GP, which includes your expected due date.

Return from maternity leave on the date specified by your employer in a letter issued within 28 days of your notice.

You must give notice as soon as possible if you are unable to do so before the 15th week before your due date (for example, if you are unexpectedly hospitalized).

How much notice do I have to give to get SMP?

You must inform your company that you wish to participate in the SMP program. If you aren’t sure if you’re qualified for SMP, ask your employer. If you don’t meet the requirements for SMP, Form SMP1 will detail the steps you need to take to file for Maternity Allowance.

Any issues your employer may have about your SMP can be sent to the Employers’ SMP Helpline, which can be reached at 0300 200 3200.

What can I do if my employer does not pay SMP correctly?

In the event that you believe an error has been made or if your SMP has not been paid, you should contact your employer or payroll department. If you are unable to fix the problem on your own, please call the HMRC Statutory Payment Disputes Team at 0300 322 9422 or consult the section titled “Where to go for further information” below.

My employer has told me they do not have enough money to pay my SMP. What can I do?

Your company can file a claim for reimbursement of any SMP they have already paid you (including the first six weeks).

Another option is for your employer to apply to their local HMRC Accounts Office for advance funding if they do not have the funds to pay your SMP in full: https://www.gov.uk/recover-statutory-payments/if-you-cant-pay-your-statutory-payments.

My employer has gone into liquidation. Can I still get my SMP?

To contact HMRC’s Statutory Payments Disputes Team, dial 0300 322 9422. (see Where to go for additional information). There is a high volume of callers, so you may need to keep trying. If you have trouble making your SMP payment, you can contact HMRC’s Statutory Payments Disputes Team. HMRC (PT Operations), BX9 1AN is where complaints about statutory payments should be sent.

Do I still get SMP if my job ends after the 15th week before my baby is due?

If you are employed for at least part of the 15th week before your child is due date and meet the other qualifications listed above, you may still qualify for SMP. If you qualify for SMP, you can use it for up to 39 weeks (unless you start a new job for a new employer). Even if you are terminated from your job, decide to quit, or reach the end of your fixed-term contract during your 15th week of pregnancy or maternity leave, this will not affect your maternity benefits.

If you’re between jobs, don’t worry about repaying your SMP to your employer; they can get it back from HMRC.

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Can I still get SMP if my visa expires after the 15th week before my baby is due or I go abroad during my SMP period?

You can still get SMP if you are employed during all or part of the 15th week before your baby is born and you meet the standard qualifying conditions as described above. For 39 weeks, if you meet the requirements for SMP, you are eligible to receive benefits (unless you start a new job for a new employer). If your visa expires before you receive SMP, or if you need to leave the country to give birth to your child, or for any other reason, you are still eligible to collect your full SMP.

My employer has said they no longer have enough work for me but I think that they are dismissing me to avoid having to pay my SMP. What can I do?

If you are working during the 15th week before your kid is born and meet the standard qualifying standards outlined above, you can still receive SMP. If you qualify for SMP, you can get benefits for up to 39 weeks (unless you start a new job for a new employer). If your visa expires before you are able to receive SMP, you must leave the country to give birth, or for any other reason, you are still eligible to collect your full SMP.

How much statutory maternity pay you’ll get?

Statutory maternity leave is 39 weeks long and includes:

  • You’ll get paid 90% of your regular weekly income for a period of six weeks (before tax)
  • If you’re eligible, you’ll receive £151.97 every week for 33 weeks, or 90% of your regular weekly wage (before taxes).

If you are furloughed, your pay will be calculated based on how much you would have made per week if you had not been furloughed.

You could have to fork over some cash for taxes and NI.

Your typical pay will include the money you received for statutory maternity benefits in the past.

No matter how many kids you want to have, you’ll still get the same amount of money.

Do you get paid for maternity leave?

Despite the fact that you may hear this time referred to as a “waiting period” for benefits, you will not receive any financial compensation while you are pregnant.

When your maternity pay starts and finishes

You’ll receive both your maternity leave and salary on the first day of your leave. You can’t get pregnant while taking the pill if you’re working or if you’re more than 11 weeks away from your due date. Payment of maternity leave begins the day after giving delivery. In the event that you are not eligible for maternity leave.

A woman’s maternity leave could start earlier if she gets unwell in the four weeks prior to her due date.

Returning to work before the end of your 39 weeks of statutory maternity leave will cause your benefits to end early.

Don’t lose out on your maternity pay if your wages vary

Legislative maternity pay is a set percentage of your normal annual income. Therefore, it is in your best interest to maintain a high income while your employer determines your normal wage. Bear this in mind if you are employed through an agency or work shifts, as your pay could be subject to this variation.

The eight weeks preceding the fifteenth week before your due date will be used to determine your average weekly salary. There are a few things to think about during this time:

  • termination of unpaid leave
  • Putting in extra time and effort, even working overtime if necessary.
  • Using paid sick time when the ill pay is lower than regular pay

If you want to work while you’re getting maternity pay

Your maternity leave benefits will normally cease whenever you return to work or start a new professional path. If money is tight, a small financial boost might go a long way.

Talk to someone at your local Citizens Advice office if you have questions about how taking on additional employment can affect your maternity pay.

What are my rights to flexible working?

Workplace flexibility requests must not disrupt regular business operations, but are legally guaranteed. Keep records of all communications with your superiors (emails, phone calls, and meetings) in the case that your employer denies your request; they must have valid reasons for doing so.

Can I take more than 12 weeks off work after having a baby?

Yes! After giving birth to or adopting a child, first-time moms are entitled to twelve weeks of unpaid leave.

For instance, parents who have just had a child through adoption or birth can take a total of twelve weeks off work spread out over the course of a year.

Mothers who take advantage of these “Keeping in Touch Days” must maintain contact with their workplaces. This usually means that mothers are expected to make contact with their superiors once a week, however this may vary from company to firm.

Can I apply for Cerb after maternity leave?

Definitely. Returning to work once the required waiting period ends will allow you to resume application processing. This normally entails making contact with them once every week, however this frequency can vary according to company policy.

What benefits am I entitled to if I don’t return to work after maternity leave?

You have the right to request further time off from work with pay under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if you are unable to return to work after your maternity leave. The US Department of Labor provides a list of benefits, broken down by state, that includes health insurance, help with childcare costs, and paid time off.

Can I extend my maternity leave?

The length of your maternity leave may be extended in some states, including California and New York. Taking extra time off work may reduce your prospects of promotion or progress in your field, so if it isn’t part of the contract or benefits package, bring it up when accepting a job offer.

Can you go on the sick straight after maternity leave?

There is a policy in place that prohibits women from returning to work right after taking maternity leave. You must first exhaust your annual and/or company sick days before taking any time off during your maternity leave.

Can I still work from home while on maternity?

These days, many companies are fine with letting new moms work part-time or from home for a while. If your boss is amenable, you should explore the duration of the arrangement and future opportunities for flexible scheduling.

How long does maternity leave last?

Although the federal government mandates 52 weeks of maternity leave, individual circumstances, such as salary and the terms of an employment contract, may alter this time period.

In addition to the financial benefit, working for a company that provides more than 52 weeks of paid maternity leave may increase a woman’s chances of being promoted after she returns to work.

Information on the length of time offered by various companies may be found in job discussion boards. In the case when the employee and the employer had previously discussed the possibility of the employee returning to work on a reduced or flexible schedule (such as part-time) after maternity leave, this is not the case.

What can I do if my employer isn’t engaging?

It is required by law that any business with more than 150 employees maintain a record of maternity leave requests and forward them to human resources (or the authorized person). Failure to comply with Section 76 of the SMP Regulations 1999 is a criminal offense.

Companies must evaluate each request on its own merits, even if they have turned down similar ones in the past; in some cases, though, there may be room for negotiation.

What happens if I don’t return to work after maternity leave NHS?

In that situation, you might have to pay a fine or lose your job altogether. But the corporation must set a firm policy on these issues so that workers know what to count on.

Companies should offer more flexible work schedules as an alternative to losing good staff.