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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP): general information - overview of Maternity Pay Period (MPP)

The MPP is the period for which maternity pay is payable.

It is payable for up to 39 weeks whether or not the employee intends to return to work for the liable employer after her baby is born.

A woman is excluded from SSP for the period of her MPP if she is entitled to SMP or MA. If she is not entitled to SMP or MA she is excluded from SSP for 18 weeks spanning the week the baby is due.

The MPP starts on any day of the week depending upon the employee’s circumstances and when she stopped work due to her pregnancy.

If:

  • the woman gave her employer notice of when she wanted her SMP to start and has stopped work in line with that notice after the start of the 11th week before the week the baby is due, her MPP will start on the day she has chosen,
  • she gives birth before the 11th week before the week the baby is due or before the day she told her employer she wanted to start her SMP her MPP will start on the day after she gave birth,
  • she is absent from work because of a pregnancy related absence on or after the Sunday of the 4th week before the week the baby is due her MPP will start on the day after the first complete day she is absent from work for that reason, see SPM120800,
  • she leaves her employment after the start of the QW but before the start of the 11 week before the week the baby is due, her MPP starts on the Sunday of the 11th week before the EWC, or
  • she leaves her employment after the start of the 11th week before the week the baby is due but before her MPP is due to start, her MPP starts on the day after the last day of her employment.

The latest the MPP can start is the day after the date of birth.

Twins or multiple births

If a woman is expecting more than one child, the date of confinement will be taken as the date the last child was born. In these circumstances the latest date the MPP can start is the day after the last child is born.

If an employee gives birth before the week the baby is due, but after she has started her MPP, her SMP is payable in the normal way until liability ends, as if the baby had been born at the normal time.

The MPP will not be affected if the baby is born after the week it was due and the MPP has already started.

Stillbirth

An employee is entitled to SMP and Maternity Allowance (MA) if the baby is stillborn.

A stillbirth occurs if the baby is stillborn from the 24th week of pregnancy.

Evidence is required of the infant’s death and this will be needed before making a payment of SMP or MA. The evidence should be a Medical Certificate of Stillbirth (a stillbirth certificate) issued by the doctor or midwife attending the stillbirth or other appropriate medical evidence.

The rules are the same as for a live birth.

If a woman who is expecting more than one baby gives birth to a stillborn baby from the 24th week of pregnancy and then gives birth to the other baby or babies at a later date, the “date of birth” is the date the last baby is born, Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 section 171 provides details.

Even if a baby survives for only an instant it is treated as a live birth whenever it is born and the rules for a live birth should apply.

Evidence of birth

A birth certificate is sufficient evidence of the birth of a baby but, if the baby is born before the doctor issues the MAT B1, the woman must still provide medical evidence, such as MAT B1, of the date the baby was due before the employer can pay SMP.