Statutory Maternity Pay
Most women will be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). All ‘employed earners’ who meet the qualifying conditions are entitled to SMP.
This means that women who are not ‘employees’ but are ‘workers’ – such as agency workers, can qualify for SMP even if, as non-employees, they are not entitled to the protections afforded by maternity leave, such as the right to return to the same job after their child is born.
To qualify they must have been employed for at least 26 weeks before the 15th week before the baby is due. They must also earn at least the lower earnings limit for NI purposes (currently £107 per week).
SMP is paid for 39 weeks. The first 6 weeks are paid at 90% of the woman’s normal weekly pay and they remainder at a flat rate which increases annually).