Statutory Maternity Pay and Leave: employer guide

Notice period

Notice doesn’t have to be in writing unless you request it.

Statutory Maternity Leave

At least 15 weeks before the baby is expected, your employees must tell you the date that:

  • the baby is due
  • they want to start their maternity leave - they can change this with 28 days’ notice

You must then confirm their leave start and end dates in writing within 28 days.

Employees can change their return to work date if they give 8 weeks’ notice.

You can’t refuse maternity leave or change the amount of leave your employees want to take.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

Your employees must give you 28 days’ notice of the date they want to start their SMP. This is usually the same date they want to start their leave.

You can refuse to pay SMP if your employee doesn’t give you this notice and they don’t give you a reasonable excuse.