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Statutory Maternity Pay

Statutory Maternity Pay is a weekly payment for women who are on maternity leave from work.

1. What is Statutory Maternity Pay?

A weekly payment for women who are on maternity leave from work.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: There are no specific age rules

Type of benefit: Non means tested

Taxable: Yes

Administered by: Your employer

2. Can I get Statutory Maternity Pay?

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay you must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the time you are 15 weeks away from the date your baby is due.

It does not matter how many hours a week you work but you must earn more than £118 a week.

The rules about Statutory Maternity Pay apply to almost all people who are pregnant but there are exceptions, for example, people who work mainly overseas or who are share fishers. If your working situation is unusual, find an adviser and ask whether you qualify.

If you do not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, you might qualify for:

 

Updated: April 2019

3. How much Statutory Maternity Pay will I get?

Statutory Maternity Pay is paid at two different rates. During the first six weeks of your maternity leave, you will get 90% of your normal gross weekly pay. For the rest of your maternity leave, you will get £148.68 or 90% of your pay if that is less than £148.68.

Statutory Maternity Pay lasts for 39 weeks.

You and your partner may be able to share leave and pay. If you don't use up all your statutory maternity leave and pay, and you go back to work, your partner may be able to take the remainder of the leave and claim your remaining statutory pay to look after your child.

Remember, your employment contract might give you more maternity pay on top of Statutory Maternity Pay.

Benefit Cap

Statutory Maternity Pay is not included in the Benefit Cap which limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age people can receive.

How will I be paid Statutory Maternity Pay?

Your employer pays Statutory Maternity Pay in the same way and at the same time as your wages are normally paid, for example, weekly or monthly.

Your employer claims the money back from the Government. You do not have to pay back any Statutory Maternity Pay if you do not return to work.

Statutory Maternity Pay and other benefits

Statutory Maternity Pay counts in full as income when calculating your entitlement to other means-tested benefits. For Tax Credits £100 per week is ignored. For Universal Credit, some of your Statutory Maternity Pay may be ignored. Use our benefit calculator to check what you will be entitled to.

Shared Parental Leave and Pay

You may be able to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (SSPP) with your spouse, civil partner or joint adopter.

See the Turn2us Shared Parental Leave and Pay guide for further details.

 

Updated April 2019

4. How do I claim Statutory Maternity Pay?

To claim Statutory Maternity Pay, you must tell your employer that you are pregnant and will be off work because of the birth.

You must tell them 28 days before you decide to start maternity leave. Your employer may need you to tell them in writing.

What documents will I need to claim Statutory Maternity Pay?

When you tell your employer that you will be off work because of your pregnancy, they will want to see a medical certificate (a MATB1). Your doctor or midwife will issue this certificate no earlier than 20 weeks before your baby is due.

When will my Statutory Maternity Pay claim begin?

The earliest that you can start your maternity leave, and therefore start getting Statutory Maternity Pay, is the 11th week before the baby is due.

The latest you can start your maternity leave, and therefore start getting Statutory Maternity Pay, is the week after the week when the baby is born. You can choose when you want your Statutory Maternity Pay to start within this period, unless you are sick.

If you are sick with a pregnancy-related illness in the six weeks before your baby is due, your Statutory Maternity Pay will start the week following the week you become sick. If you are sick with a non-pregnancy related illness, you can claim Statutory Sick Pay until the week the baby is due.

Change of circumstances

You must report changes in your circumstances which might affect your entitlement to this benefit.

5. How do I challenge a Statutory Maternity Pay decision?

If you disagree with a Statutory Maternity Pay decision made by your employer, you can contact HM Revenue and Customs Statutory Payments Disputes Team.

This may affect your job and your relationship with your employer so you may want to seek specialist advice on this matter first.