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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP): general information - conditions for entitlement to SMP

To receive SMP, a woman must:

  • have been continuously employed by the same employer for at least 26 weeks continuing into the QW which is the 15th week before the week the baby is due or would have worked for that employer into the QW, had her baby not been born early
  • have stopped working
  • have average weekly earnings (AWE) in the relevant period of not less than the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) for NICs which applies at the end of the QW
  • still be pregnant at the 11th week before the week the baby is due or have had her baby by that time
  • have provided medical evidence of the date the baby is due or born within three weeks of the start of the MPP. In exceptional circumstances this can be extended to the end of the 13th week of her MPP
  • have given the employer 28 days’ notice of when she expects them to start paying her SMP but the employer can accept late notice if there is a good reason for the delay
  • have an employer in the UK and earnings that attract a liability for Class 1 NICs.

If an employee satisfies the conditions above she qualifies for SMP even if she does not intend to return to work for the liable employer after her baby is born