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If your employee becomes pregnant and has been working for you for 26 weeks (i.e. six months) or more prior to the 'notification week’ (NW), she will qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).  The 'notification week' is 15 weeks before the baby is due.

The actual period of maternity leave can begin any time after 14 weeks before the baby is due, but the maternity pay period cannot commence until the 11th week before the due date at the earliest.

SMP is payable for a maximum period of 39 weeks. The first six weeks of SMP are at 9/10ths of average gross weekly earnings. The remaining weeks of the maternity pay period (up to a maximum of 33 weeks) qualify for maternity pay at the current SMP rate or continue at 9/10ths of the average gross earnings, whichever is the lower. Please see the rate and thresholds page for up-to-date SMP rates.

Small employers can usually reclaim all the costs involved. Your employee will need to provide you with a Maternity Certificate (MATB1) for this purpose. The MATB1 is issued 20 weeks before the baby's due date, and will be provided to your employee by her doctor or midwife. Enable Payroll will calculate and apply to HMRC for the SMP rebate on your behalf. We will also issue payslips throughout the period of maternity leave, showing SMP paid and any Tax and NI deductions.

Your employee should advise you during the Notification Week of when she intends to start her maternity leave. However she can change this date if she gives you 28 days' notice in writing. To qualify for SMP, your employee does not have to intend to return to work after the baby is born.

All domestic employees have a right to return to work on the same terms as they were previously employed. If your employee is not returning to work then Enable Payroll will send a P45 at the end of their period of SMP. They are technically still employed until then. If they want to return, they are entitled to an additional 13 weeks' unpaid leave before returning to work.

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