Statutory Maternity Pay Guide for Employers (2012-2013)

Statutory Maternity Pay Guide for Employers (2012-2013)

Introduction to SMP Guide for Employers

This is a high-level overview of the SMP process. A list of frequently asked questions is also provided.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

SMP is paid to an employee by their employer in the same way as wages. SMP is paid for up to 39 weeks.

The employer will calculate the employee’s entitlement to SMP. For the first six weeks it will be 90 per cent of the employee’s Average Weekly Earnings (AWE). After that it will be either the weekly standard rate, or 90 per cent of the employee’s AWE, whichever is less. The standard weekly rate for pay weeks commencing on or after Sunday 1 April 2012 is £135.45

More detailed information including examples of how to calculate AWE can be found on Quick method for calculating Average Weekly Earnings (AWE).

Examples are also provided in the Learning Zone which can be found on the Basic PAYE Tools.

SMP start date

An employee can choose when to start her SMP, but SMP:

  • generally cannot start before the 11th week before the week the baby is due. Or will start earlier if the baby is born earlier
  • may start on any day of the week where the employee continues to be employed by you beyond the 11th week before the week the baby is due
  • will start the day following the birth if the baby is born before SMP was due to start, or before the 11th week, (see Has your employee given you sufficient notice?)
  • may start earlier if the employee has a pregnancy-related absence in the four weeks before the week the baby is due.
  • must start the day after she leaves her employment if she leaves after the start of the 11th week but before the date she chose (see Has your employee given you sufficient notice?).

More detailed information on paying SMP can be found here.

Qualifying rules

The employee must:

Medical evidence for SMP

The employee must give medical evidence (usually on form MATB1 Maternity Certificate):

  • at least 21 days after the start of the SMP pay period, or
  • 21 days from the date the baby was born, if the baby is born early.

In exceptional circumstances you can extend this to 13 weeks but no more.

If the employee satisfies all of the qualifying rules, she will qualify for SMP even if she does not intend to return to work for the same employer after the baby is born. More detailed information on medical evidence can be found here.

Time limits for notice to start SMP

The employee should give their employer at least 28 days notice of when they want SMP to start. However, if this is not possible – for example, if the baby arrives early – they should tell their employer as soon as possible. The employer decides how they want to be notified and should advise the employee within 7 days of the decision being made. More detailed information on time limits can be found at Has your employee given you the right evidence within the time limits?

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