Q&As

Is an employee entitled to be paid for the full statutory maternity pay (SMP) pay period of 39 weeks if (1) they leave the employer’s employment, or (2) they apply for a shorter period of maternity leave and/or pay?

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Published on LexisPSL on 08.11.2019

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Is an employee entitled to be paid for the full statutory maternity pay (SMP) pay period of 39 weeks if (1) they leave the employer’s employment, or (2) they apply for a shorter period of maternity leave and/or pay?

In order to qualify for statutory maternity pay (SMP), it is necessary for a woman to be or have been an employee as defined and satisfy the following conditions:

  1. she must have been in employed earner's employment with an employer for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks ending with the week immediately preceding the 14th week before the expected week of confinement (ie childbirth) (EWC)

  2. her average weekly earnings with that employer for the period of eight weeks ending with the week immediately preceding the 14th week before the EWC (ie the last eight weeks of the 26-week period) must be not less than the lower earnings limit in force at the end of that week (ie enough for her to have to pay Class 1 national insurance contributions). The lower earnings limit is £118 per week with effect from 6 April 2019, previously £116 per week from 6 April 2018

  3. she must have become pregnant and have reached, or given birth before reaching, the commencement of the 11th week before the EWC

  4. she must have given the requisite notice to the relevant employer (who will be liable to pay the SMP) of when she expects his liability to pay her statutory maternity pay to start

  5. she must be off work

See also Practice Note

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