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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP): general information - pregnancy related absence

If a woman is absent from work due to her pregnancy on or before the start of the fourth week before the week the baby is due the MPP starts on the day after the first complete day of absence after the start of the fourth week.

She may receive SSP if appropriate right up to and including the day before her MPP starts.

If a woman becomes sick for a reason unconnected with her pregnancy, she can receive SSP right up to the date she wants her MPP to start or the baby is born, subject to the normal rules.

If an employer is not sure whether an employee’s absence is pregnancy-related or the employee does not agree with their decision on when the MPP should start, HMRC can arrange for them to be given advice from Medical Services.

There is a period, spanning the week in which the baby is born, for which SSP is not payable. This is known as the disqualifying period.