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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Special cases - educational and term-time workers

Employees of educational establishments such as

  • teachers
  • classroom assistants
  • college and university lecturers
  • child nursery workers
  • school bus drivers, and
  • kitchen staff

may be employed on contracts of multiples of a year with payments of salary spread throughout the year but they may also be employed on:

  • yearly contracts but they are not paid during holidays, or
  • a series of contracts when they are only paid for the period of each contract.


Entitlement to SSP depends on the type of contract the employer has with their employee.

No contract outside of term-time

Where a term-time worker becomes sick outside of their contract for example, during school holidays, then there is no entitlement to SSP as they are not an employee during those weeks because their contract has expired.

Contract ends and new contract starts

Where an employee is already entitled to SSP during a contract entitlement to SSP will cease at the end ofthat contract.

If the first day of the employee’s PIW is when their new contract would have started, there is no entitlement to SSP as they have not done any work for their employer under that contract.

If the first day of the employee’s PIW is between contracts, there is no entitlement to SSP because they have not yetstarted work for the employer.

If the employee signs a new contract, for example at the start of a new term, they will be entitled to SSP when they have done some work under the new contract.

Contract ongoing between term-time

Where a contract is ongoing between term-time, entitlement to SSP will continue during and after the holiday periods until the end of the PIW or until the contract ends whichever is earlier.


Term-time only contract

Teachers who are employed under term-time only contracts are not employed during the school holidays so, if the QW/MW/ONW falls during a holiday they may not be able to qualify for SMP/SAP because their average weekly earnings are reduced by the number of weeks of zero pay.

They may, however, be able to satisfy the continuous employment test using either

  • regulation 11(1) of the SMP (General) Regulations 1986 for SMP entitlement if they return to work before their maternity absence starts, or
  • regulation 11(1) plus 11(3A) of the SMP (General) Regulations 1986 which waives the requirement to return to work for workers such as teachers employed on term time contracts.
  • regulation 33(1) plus 33(3A) of the SPP and SAP (General) Regulations 2002 which are the equivalent regulations for adoption.