Maternity Leave and Statutory Maternity Pay

Statutory Maternity Pay – 2007 Changes

The Statutory Maternity Pay rules changed to:

  • Extend the Maternity Pay Period from a maximum of 26 weeks to a maximum of 39 weeks
  • Enable the Maternity Pay Period to start on any day of the week in accordance with the date the woman gives in her notice to her employer of the day she wants her SMP to start. This will allow Statutory Maternity Pay to align with the start of the woman’s maternity leave in all cases.
  • Enable a woman to work for an employer paying her SMP for up to 10 days in her Maternity Pay Period (MPP) and to retain SMP for the week in which any such work is done.
  • Enable the weekly rate of SMP to be divided by 7 so that it is easier for the weekly SMP payments to be aligned with the particular pay practice in the employment (if the employer so chooses).

All these changes apply to women expecting babies due on or after 1 April 2007 It does not matter when the baby is actually born, the important date is when it was due. This is consistent with previous changes to SMP, for example the changes made to the SMP qualifying conditions in 1994 and more recently the extension of the MPP from 18 to 26 weeks in 2003.

The earliest we would anticipate a woman giving birth to a live child would be around the 22nd week of her pregnancy. If that baby was due on or after 1 April 2007 this would mean that the earliest date SMP might become payable under the new rules would be around mid to late November 2006.

In practice therefore, as with those earlier changes, two SMP schemes will run in parallel for a time because different rules will apply depending on when the woman expects her baby to be born. This is the fairest way of introducing such changes – it gives more certainty for both the woman and her employer who will know from the beginning of her pregnancy which rules apply to her.

The extension of the pay period from 26 to 39 weeks, enabling limited work in the pay period and enabling the weekly rate of payments to be divided by 7 also apply to Statutory Adoption Pay where the child is expected to be placed for adoption on or after 1 April 2007.

Dividing the weekly rate by 7 also applies to Statutory Paternity Pay for babies due on or after 1 April 2007.

Maternity Leave & Statutory Maternity Pay business advice Crown Copyright © 2003-2011

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