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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP): general information - notification of the start of SMP

An employee does not have to claim SMP. It is payable if she satisfies the qualifying conditions. The employer must be notified of the date their employee expects her SMP to begin. If it is not reasonably practicable to give notice within 28 days, as soon as is reasonably practicable. The employee usually gives their employer form MAT B1 Maternity Certificate.

The employee should normally give notice personally but, if this is not possible, the employer must accept notice given on her behalf.

The employee should give her employer at least 28 days’ notice before her SMP is due to start unless her employment was ended after the QW.

The date the baby is due is shown on the MAT B1. The date cannot change even if the baby is born early or late. Exceptionally a doctor or midwife may certify that the original date was given in error. See SPM120500.

Baby born early

If the employee’s baby is born early, before she has given notice, she must give notice of the date of birth within 28 days of the birth if possible.

However, although the time limit for giving notice of the birth for leave is 28 days, the time limit for giving the employer evidence of the birth for pay is 21 days.

If a customer enquires about the time limits for notification, this should be pointed out.