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Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

What are the rates of SMP?

If you are entitled to SMP, you will receive 6 weeks pay at 90% of your normal gross pay and a further 33 weeks at the standard rate of £138.18 or 90% of your normal gross pay, whichever is the lesser.

You are also entitled to take a futher 13 weeks leave (making a total of 52 weeks, a year), but this is unpaid.

Who is eligible for SMP?

To qualify for SMP you must have been:

  • employed by the same employer continuously for at least 26 weeks into the 15th week before the week your baby is due (the qualifying week)
  • earning on average an amount which at least equals the lower earnings limit which applies on the Saturday at the end of your qualifying week

The lower earnings limit is the amount you have to earn before you are treated as paying National Insurance contributions. This is £111 a week if the end of your qualifying week is in the 2014-15 tax year.

If you have a visa that allows you to live and work in the United Kingdom you may be able to get SMP. If your visa includes the condition that you have “no recourse to public funds” you may still get SMP provided you satisfy the qualifying conditions. The qualifying conditions for SMP depend on your recent employment and earnings history. Because of this SMP does not constitute public funds.

Please read ‘Statutory Maternity Pay – eligibility' for more information.

Statutory Maternity Pay - eligibility

Your employer must give you form SMP1 if you do not qualify for SMP. If you can't get SMP from any of your employers (if you have more than one) you may be able to get Maternity Allowance (MA) instead.

Maternity Allowance (Opens New Window)

Download form Statutory Maternity Pay SMP1 (print form to fill in with a pen) (PDF, 180K) Opens new window

How to claim SMP

To make a claim for SMP, you must:

  • tell your employer when you want your SMP to start
  • provide medical evidence of the date your baby is due (your GP will give you a form called a MAT B1)

Can your employer claim it back?

Yes, if they are a small employer (they pay less than £45,000 NIC a year), they can claim back 100% of your SMP. They can also claim 3% compensation. The Office Concept claims the total of these in advance of our clients having to pay it out. There may be some Employer's National Insurance to pay on the first six weeks pay (12.8% of Gross Pay above £110 per week), this is not recoverable.

How is it paid?

The employer runs the payroll as usual, with the only gross payment to the employee being the SMP. For the first six weeks at 90% of average gross pay, there may be some PAYE and NI due. For the following 33 weeks, depending on the time of year, you may get some tax back initially or pay no tax at all as £136.78 per week is below the PAYE threshold.

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