Maternity pay – what you need to know
Have you recently had a baby or are you expecting? Congratulations! Here’s everything you need to know about money that you’re entitled to when you’re taking your maternity leave.
What is Statutory Maternity Pay?
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is the legal minimum amount that your employer has to pay you while you’re on maternity leave. You might be able to get more if your employer has a company maternity scheme – so check your employment contract!
Maternity pay – How much do I get?
Statutory Maternity Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks. If you take more maternity leave than that then it will be unpaid.
For the first 6 weeks you get 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax).
For the next 33 weeks you get £139.58 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower)
You will be paid your Statutory Maternity Pay either weekly or monthly, depending on how you usually receive your wages. Tax and National Insurance will be deducted as normal.
When does my maternity pay start?
You will usually start to receive your Statutory Maternity Pay when you begin your maternity leave. However, if you need to be off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before your due date then it will start automatically.
How do I qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay?
To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay you must:
• have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks up to the end of the 15th week of your due date. This week is called the ‘qualifying week’.
• earn on average at least £112 a week
• give the correct notice – You must tell your employer that you want to stop work to have a baby and the day that you want your maternity leave to start. You must do this at least 28 days before your maternity leave start date (or as soon as possible if the baby is born early)
• give proof that you’re pregnant – You must provide your employer with proof that you’re pregnant by giving them either:
– a letter from your doctor or midwife
– your MATB1 certificate – this will be given to you by your doctor or midwife at least 20 weeks before your due date
If your baby is born early or if you lose your baby after the start of your 24th week of pregnancy, then you can still get Statutory Maternity Pay.