Maternity pay

By Tolley in association with Sarah Bradford
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The following Employment Tax guidance note by Tolley in association with Sarah Bradford provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Maternity pay
  • Pay during time off for antenatal care
  • Pay during suspension from work
  • Pay following removal of agency worker on maternity grounds
  • SMP ― entitlement
  • SMP ― period of entitlement
  • SMP ― notification
  • SMP ― rate and payment
  • SMP ― calculation
  • Shared parental leave and pay
  • Maternity allowance
  • Contractual maternity pay
  • Statutory and contractual rights

Employees may be entitled to various types of payment relating to pregnancy or maternity, such as:

  • pay during time off for antenatal care
  • pay during suspension from work on maternity grounds
  • statutory maternity pay (SMP)
  • contractual maternity and other relevant pay
  • maternity allowance (MA) (payable by Jobcentre Plus, with entitlement depending on the individual's previous NI contributions)

Apart from MA, these payments are generally made by the employer.

Maternity pay is often calculated with reference to a week's pay. For information on how to calculate this, see the Calculating a week's pay guidance note.

The Statutory payments guidance note contains more information on the calculation and administration of maternity pay as part of payroll.

Please note that all case references in this note are subscription sensitive.

Pay during time off for antenatal care

A pregnant employee who makes an appointment for antenatal care on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse is entitled to be paid for the time she takes off to attend that appointment. Appointments for antenatal care can include attendance at antenatal or parenting classes if recommended by a doctor or midwife.

ERA 1996, s 56(1)

She is entitled to be paid at 'the appropriate hourly rate', which is one week's pay divided by her normal weekly working hours. If her normal working hours vary from week to week, the average is taken of the 12 weeks before the week in which the time off is taken. If her normal working hours vary but she has not been employed for 12 weeks, a number is taken which fairly represents her normal working hours.

ERA 1996, s 56(1)–(4)
Pay during suspension from work

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