We’ve donned our best Zara combat trousers to fight our way through the jungle of information out there – just so you don’t have to. And here are the need-to-know facts…
Frankly, there’s only so much that a woman’s ‘baby brain’ can cope with. And it’s most definitely not researching the ins and outs of statutory maternity pay (talk about a yawning chasm of boredom). Yes, it’s dull, but also very important information, so we’ve done the research and simplified it as much as possible for you.
Here’s a list of the 10 most important things you need to know - print it out and stick it to your fridge.
1. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
SMP is paid to you for up to 39 weeks. You’re entitled to 90 per cent of your average weekly pre-tax earnings for the first six weeks. After that £148.68 or 90% of your average weekly earnings – whichever is the lower amount – for the following 33 weeks.
And, sorry to say, you’ll have pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax and National Insurance deducted from your SMP as it counts as earnings.
Find out more at www.gov.uk
2. To qualify for SMP, you must:
• Have worked for your employer continuously (full or part time) for at least 26 weeks up to the 15 weeks before the expected week of birth. This is known as the Qualifying Week (QW).
• Earn an average of at least £112 per week.
• Give the correct notice period. Most people let their employers know this at the same time they announce their pregnancy, but the SMP notice period is a minimum of 28 days prior to when you want it to start. This is also the case if you change your mind about dates. Your employer must confirm within the 28 days how much SMP you will get and the start/finish dates of payments.
• Provide proof of pregnancy - this could be a letter from your doctor or midwife or your MATB1 certificate
, which is usually issued by your doctor/midwife around 20 weeks before you’re due to give birth
4. How SMP is calculated
Get paid weekly? Then it’s calculated on your average weekly earnings in the last payday before the end of the Qualifying Week and the previous seven paydays.
If you’re paid monthly, then the calculation period is generally your average weekly earnings in the last two monthly pays received before the end of the Qualifying Week. So the SMP calculation can include overtime, commission, bonuses or anything else paid during the calculation period.
But if your earnings happen to be lower than usual during the SMP calculation period, unfortunately, the rules are very strict and your employer can’t do anything to change this.
Click here for more information on Maternity Rights
5. SMP starts when you take your maternity leave
Usually, it’s not paid before the 11th week prior to your birth due date if you’re still pregnant.
But if your bub is born early before then, you’ll still get your SMP dated from the day after the birth.
You will also receive it if you’ve finished work because of a pregnancy-related illness in the four weeks before your due date.
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