Statutory payments

Produced by Tolley in association with Vince Ashall

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

  • Statutory payments
  • Introduction
  • Maternity
  • Maternity leave
  • Statutory maternity pay
  • Adoption leave
  • Statutory adoption pay
  • Paternity
  • Statutory paternity leave
  • Statutory paternity pay
  • More...

Statutory payments


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’.

There are some special rules in place for the eligibility and calculation of certain statutory payment for those placed on furlough during the coronavirus (COVID-19) breakout. Please see the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Employment Taxes ― overview guidance note for details.

The statutory basis for statutory maternity pay (SMP) is in SI 1986/1960 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.

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

APPAdoption pay period
AWEAverage weekly earnings
EWCExpected week of childbirth or expected week of confinement
KIT daysKeeping in touch days
LELLower earnings limit
MATB1Certificate giving the date the baby is expected to be born
MPPMaternity pay period
NICNational insurance contributions
OMPOccupational maternity pay
QWQualifying week
SALStatutory adoption leave
SAPStatutory adoption pay
SMLStatutory maternity leave
SMPStatutory maternity pay
SPBLStatutory parental bereavement leave
SPBPStatutory parental bereavement pay
SPLStatutory paternity leave
SPPStatutory paternity pay
ShPLShared parental leave
ShPPShared parental pay
SPLITShared parental leave in touch days
SSPStatutory sick pay

The conditions for entitlement to SMP, statutory adoption pay (SAP), statutory paternity pay (SPP) and statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP) have a number of similarities, eg employees need to satisfy the 26-week continuous employment test and have average weekly earnings (AWE) above the Class 1 NIC lower earnings limit (LEL).

Where an employer operates an occupational scheme offering maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay, shared parental pay or parental bereavement pay, the occupational scheme payment can be offset against any statutory payment, and vice versa where the occupational scheme payment

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