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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

Statutory Shared Parental Pay and Leave (ShPP/SPL) - general information: ending SMP, SAP or MA after returning to work

Although returning to work automatically ends a mother or adopter’s entitlement to Maternity or Adoption Leave, it does not end their maternity or adoption pay period or their Maternity Allowance period. The pay or allowance period will therefore continue to run in the background for 39 weeks from when it started.

An example of how this works in practice is that a mother who has returned to work and is then absent because of illness will receive SMP rather than Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if she is still in her 39 week maternity pay period.

If a mother or adopter wants to opt in to ShPP after returning to work they must therefore give their employer notice to end their SMP or SAP pay period. The notice must be in writing and must be given at least 9 weeks before the end of the 39 week pay period.

Once notice to end the SMP or SAP pay period has been given after return to work, it takes effect at the end of the pay week in which it is given. The balance of any untaken SMP or SAP at the date the mother or adopter returned to work can be shared between the mother or adopter and their partner, provided the qualifying conditions are met. Any notice to book leave and receive payment of ShPP must still be given at least 8 weeks before the leave can be taken.

A mother who claims MA from Jobcentre Plus must similarly inform Jobcentre Plus that her allowance period is to end.

The pay or allowance period will end on the last day of the pay week in which the notice is given.

A mother who is receiving MA cannot receive ShPP, but provided they meet the qualifying conditions their partner can take any unused weeks of MA as ShPP. However, the partner must give their employer notice to book any SPL and ShPP at least 8 weeks before the leave can be taken.