Maternity pay policy
To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you must, in addition to the notification requirements detailed in the section ‘Notification and Qualification’:
- Have 26 weeks continuous service at the start of the qualifying week
- Provide a form MAT B1 from your GP as confirmation of your pregnancy no later than the end of the qualifying week
- Give 28 days' notice of the date you want to start your SMP (this is usually the same date that maternity leave starts)
- Have earnings at or above the lower earnings limit for the payment of National Insurance contributions
The rate of SMP is 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, based on the average of actual earnings over the eight weeks prior to the qualifying weeks. This is followed by 33 weeks at SMP, which is the statutory rate applicable at the time or 90% of average weekly earnings whichever is lower. The flat rate is subject to review by the government every April and the current rate can be found on the gov.uk website.
The earliest date that SMP can start is from the 11th week before your baby is due and the latest date is from the day after the baby is born.
If you are not entitled to SMP but meet qualifying conditions based on your recent employment and earnings records, you may claim up to 39 weeks’ Maternity Allowance from your Jobcentre Plus office. Subject to continuous employment with us for a minimum of 12 months, you may be eligible for enhanced maternity pay which includes being paid at your normal rate of pay for the first eight weeks of maternity leave followed by the normal rate of SMP. If you resign within three months of returning from maternity leave, 50% of the difference between the enhanced maternity pay and SMP will be repayable.