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Statutory Maternity Pay

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is your employee entitled to it?

SMP is a legal entitlement for a female employee to take time off work for care in the later stages of pregnancy and child-birth

Tax and class 1 NIC’s are deductible on SMP

Employees can take up to 52 weeks maternity leave.  The first 26 weeks is known as ‘Ordinary Maternity Leave’ and the remainder as ‘Additional Maternity Leave’

A female employee must take a minimum of 2 weeks, or 4 weeks leave if she is employed in a factory after the birth of a baby

The employee must provide proof within 21 days of the Maternity Leave date

Proof of Pregnancy is usually a MATB1 maternity certificate signed by a GP or registered Midwife no earlier than 20 weeks before the baby due week

The employer cannot refuse maternity leave or change the amount of leave the employee wants to take if the employee does not have a reasonable excuse for giving the employer insufficient notice

However the employer can delay or refuse to pay SMP if the employee has not given the employer medical evidence of the date the baby is due by the end of the third week of the maternity pay period.  The employer can accept late notice and pay SMP up to the 13th week of the maternity pay period if the employee has a reasonable excuse that is acceptable to the employer

Some employees will not qualify for leave and SMP

Qualifying for Statutory Maternity Leave

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Leave the employee must give the employer the correct amount of notice usually by the Saturday of the qualifying week

  • The employee must have a contract of employment
  • Provide the employer with proof of their pregnancy

Qualifying for Statutory Maternity Leave and Pay

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Leave and pay the employee must give the employer the correct amount of notice usually by the Saturday of the qualifying week

  • Employee must have a contract
  • Provide the employer with proof of their pregnancy
  • Give the employer correct notice
  • The employee must be earning at least the lower earnings level LEL on average for 8 relevant weeks
  • The employee must have worked for the same employer continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the qualifying week which is the 15th week before the expected week of the birth of the baby.

If the baby dies the employee still qualifies for leave or pay if the baby is still-born from 24 weeks of pregnancy or is born alive at any point in the pregnancy

If the baby is born early the leave date starts the day after the birth

Rates for Statutory Maternity Pay

SMP is payable for 39 weeks

The first 6 weeks at 90% of the employee’s average weekly pay

From the 6th April 2018 the remaining 33 weeks are payable at a weekly rate of £145.18 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly pay, whichever is lower

Historical Statutory Rates

Non qualifying employees

If the employee does not qualify for SMP they may still take leave.  The employer must issue a SMP1 form to the employee.  The employee may be able to qualify for a benefit

Keeping in Touch (KIT)

An employee can do some work under her employment contract for her employer whilst on maternity leave.  She can work up to 10 days without losing or ending her SMP.  KIT days can be used singly or in blocks it is up to the employer and the employee how to make use of KIT days.  Any amount of work or training no matter how short (even half an hour) will use up a KIT day

Returning to work

If the employee wants to return to work before the full 52 weeks of maternity leave they must give the employer 8 weeks notice

Employees taking ‘Ordinary Maternity Leave’ have the right to return to their original job

Employees taking ‘Additional Maternity Leave ‘have the right to return their original job or a similar job if it is not possible to give them their old job.  Similar means the job offered has the same or better terms and conditions.  If the employee unreasonably refuses to take the similar job the employer can take this as their resignation

Discrimination

When on maternity leave an employee has the same rights as the rest of the work force including bonuses, pay increases and other benefits on offer

Employer Reclaim

Employers can recover the SMP paid to an Employee the reclaim amounts are;

  • 103% if the total Class 1 NICs for the previous tax year are £45,000 or lower
  • 92% if the total Class 1 NICs for the previous tax year are above £45,000

Employer Funding

Advance funding from HMRC is available to small employers who cannot afford statutory payments.  When possible statutory payments should be off set against PAYE payments due to HMRC

We calculate and reclaim any statutory payments made free of charge

Accurate records must be kept HMRC will want to see the evidence in case of an enquiry