Guidance

Statutory Maternity Pay: manually calculate your employee's payments

Manually calculate if your payroll software or GOV.UK calculator doesn't calculate your employee’s payments.

Terminology explained

MATB1 Maternity Certificate

This is the medical evidence that your employee usually provides as proof of pregnancy. Your employee receives this after the 20th week of pregnancy and it includes the date the baby is due.

Qualifying Week (QW)

The QW is the 15th week (Sunday to Saturday) before the week the baby is due.

Before you begin

Information you need to calculate your employee’s Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP):

  • the date the baby’s due - from your employee’s MATB1 form
  • your employee’s intended start date for SMP, if she’s given you one
  • your employee’s gross pay and the dates she was paid
  • confirmation that your employee’s gross earnings are liable to employer’s Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) or would be but for the employee’s age or level of earnings

Calculate Average Weekly Earnings (AWE)

AWE must include all earnings on which Class 1 NICs are due, or would be due if they were high enough. SMP entitlement depends on your employee’s AWE in the ‘relevant period’. The AWE in the relevant period must not be less than the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) for NICs which applies at the end of the QW:

  • LEL for 2017 to 2018 is £113
  • LEL for 2018 to 2019 is £116

Divide all earnings paid in that relevant period by the number of days, weeks or months in that period.

The relevant period

This is usually the 8 week period before the QW.

The end of the relevant period is the last normal payday on, or before the Saturday of the QW.

For babies born before or during the qualifying week, the 8 week relevant period is the period between the last normal payday on or before the Saturday of the week the baby is born, and the day after the last normal payday falling at least 8 weeks before.

The start of the relevant period is the day after the last normal payday falling at least 8 weeks before the end of the relevant period.

Example for an employee who is paid weekly:

If an employee is paid weekly and the baby is due on 25 March 2018:

Qualifying week Payday Last payday at least 8 weeks before the end of the relevant period Last payday on or before the Saturday of the QW
10 December 2017 to 16 December 2017 Friday 21 October 2017 15 December 2017

The relevant period is 21 October 2017 to 15 December 2017.

Add up all the earnings paid between 21 October 2017 to 15 December 2017 and divide by 8 (the number of weeks in the relevant period).

Do not round the figure up or down to whole pence.

Example for an employee who is paid monthly

If an employee is paid monthly and the baby is due on 11 February 2018:

Qualifying week Payday Last payday at least 8 weeks before the end of the relevant period Last payday on or before the Saturday of the QW
29 October 2017 to 4 November 2017 Last working day of the month 31 August 2018 31 October 2017

The relevant period is 1 September 2017 to 31 October 2017.

Add up all the earnings paid between 1 September 2017 and 31 October 2017:

  • divide by 2 (number of months in the relevant period)
  • multiply by 12 (number of months in the year)
  • divide by 52 (number of weeks in the year)

Do not round the figure up or down to whole pence.

Weekly paid employees without a whole number of weeks in the relevant period

This may happen if you bring forward your employee’s normal payday because of bank holidays at Easter or Christmas. Divide the earnings by the number of weeks wages actually paid, not the number of weeks in the relevant period.

Employees paid multiples of a week

This may happen if you pay your employee fortnightly or 4 weekly. Divide the earnings by the number of whole weeks in the relevant period.

Monthly paid employees without a whole number of months in the relevant period

Work out the number of rounded months as follows:

  • count the number of whole months
  • count the numbers of odd days

Round up or down as follows:

  • February - 14 days or less round down, 15 days or more round up
  • any month except February - 15 days or less round down, 16 days or more round up

Divide the earnings by this number of rounded months.

Employees not paid in a regular pay pattern

Divide the earnings by the number of days in the relevant period and multiply by 7.

Mistimed payments

This only applies to regular payments of earnings paid other than on their normal date, such as due to a bank holiday.

A mistimed payment:

  • occurs when the date of the actual payment of earnings is made earlier or later than the normal contractual payday, such as an annual holiday
  • shouldn’t be confused with a payroll error, where a mistake is made in the payroll resulting in a shortfall of pay when working out the AWE

Divide the total earnings in the relevant period by the number of weeks wages actually paid.

Overpaid/underpaid earnings during the relevant period

Always calculate AWE based on all earnings actually paid to the employee within the relevant period, regardless of any over or underpaid wages in that period. Where over or under payments of wages occur within the relevant period, you must include the overpaid or underpaid amount in the AWE calculation for deciding if SMP is due.

Calculate SMP

When you have calculated the AWE, work out how much SMP is due and pay it on the same day that you would normally pay wages and for the same period.

SMP is a weekly payment and SMP pay weeks start with the first day of the SMP pay period, so an SMP pay period that starts on a Wednesday will have pay weeks within the pay period which runs from Wednesday to Tuesday the following week.

SMP is payable:

  • 90% of the employee’s AWE for the first 6 weeks
  • £145.18 or 90% of their AWE (whichever is lower) for the remaining weeks

SMP paid part weekly

You can pay SMP in part weeks if it helps to align the payments to your employees normal pay period. Divide the weekly rate by 7 and multiply by the number of days for which SMP is due in the week or month. For example, if the pay period covers the end of one month and the beginning of the next (2 days in April and 5 days at the beginning of May) then pay two-sevenths in one month and five-sevenths at the beginning of the next month.

Contractual benefits and Salary Sacrifice

The calculation of AWE for SMP is based on earnings which are subject to Class 1 NICs. Some contractual benefits, such as childcare schemes provided by you, may be exempt from PAYE tax and NICs. The value of childcare vouchers provided during the maternity pay period should not be deducted from the SMP. SMP must be paid in full.

Recovery of SMP

You may be able to recover some or all of the SMP you pay.

Help and advice

You can get advice from HM Revenue and Customs’ Employer Helpline.

Published 18 March 2014
Last updated 7 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. The calculate Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) section has been updated.
  2. Rates, allowances and duties have been updated for the tax year 2018 to 2019.
  3. Dates updated in the example for employees who are paid monthly.
  4. Rates, allowances and duties have been updated for the tax year 2017 to 2018.
  5. Rates, allowances and duties have been updated for the tax year 2016 to 2017.
  6. Calculate Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) section amended.
  7. First published.