Statutory payments

By Tolley in association with Vince Ashall

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

  • Statutory payments
  • Introduction
  • Maternity
  • Adoption leave
  • Paternity
  • Shared parental leave and pay
  • Recovery of SMP, SPP, ShPP and SAP
  • Helpbooks


Absences for reasons of maternity, paternity and adoption usually mean that the employer will have to make some payment to the employee, provided that the employee satisfies the qualifying conditions. These payments tend to be grouped under the heading of ‘statutory payments’.

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 (subscription sensitive) was enacted in September 2018. The Act makes provisions about leave and pay for employees whose children (under the age of 18) have died. The new leave and associated statutory payments are expected to be in place from April 2020. See more here .

The statutory basis for statutory maternity pay (SMP) is in the Statutory Maternity Pay (General) Regulations 1986, SI 1986/1960 (subscription sensitive) and for adoption and paternity pay in the Employment Rights Act 1996. The original legislation has been added to and amended over the years to improve the rights available to employees. For example, the length of paid leave was increased, the concept of ‘keeping in touch days (KIT days)’ were introduced in the Work and Families Act 2006 (subscription sensitive).

A number of acronyms are used for the purposes of these statutory payments, as follows:

APPAdoption pay period
AWEAverage weekly earnings

More on Mechanics of payroll: