A Quick Guide to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

SMP stands for Statutory Maternity Pay. If you qualify then your employer must pay this. If you don’t qualify your employer will issue you with an SMP1 Form.

Eligible employees can take up to 52 weeks maternity leave (39 weeks are paid, and 13 weeks are unpaid). The earliest leave can start is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth unless the baby is born early. Employees must take at least 2 weeks Maternity leave (4 weeks if a factory worker).

To qualify to SMP you must:

  • Have a contract of employment
  • Be on the payroll in the qualifying week (the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth)
  • Be employed for at least 26 weeks up to any day in the qualifying week
  • Give the correct notice
  • Give proof of pregnancy
  • Earn above the Lower Earnings Limit in an 8-week relevant period