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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP): general information: what is SMP

What is SMP

SMP is intended to help women during pregnancy and after the birth of the baby by providing a measure of earnings replacement.

This is to help the expectant mother to remain at home and not work both before and after the birth of her baby. This is in the interests of her own and the baby’s health. Legislation sets down when and how SMP should be paid.

The rate of SMP is reviewed each year by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Changes to the rate are given in an annual up-rating order.

All statutory payments are treated as earnings for income tax and NICs purposes.

The following state benefits are not payable for any day for which SMP is payable

  • Maternity Allowance (MA)
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Employers can recover some or all of the SMP paid to their employees. See SPM180600.