4. Eligibility

Statutory Maternity Leave

You qualify for Statutory Maternity Leave if:

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with your employer, how many hours you work or how much you get paid.

You can’t get Statutory Maternity Leave if you have a child through surrogacy - you could get unpaid parental leave instead.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

To qualify for SMP you must:

  • earn on average at least £111 a week
  • give the correct notice
  • give proof you’re pregnant
  • have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth - called the ‘qualifying week’

Work out your qualifying week using the maternity pay calculator.

You can’t get SMP if you go into police custody during your maternity pay period. It won’t restart when you’re discharged.

Early births or you lose your baby

You can still get Statutory Maternity Leave and SMP if your baby:

  • is born early
  • is stillborn after the start of your 24th week of pregnancy
  • dies after being born

If you’re not eligible for SMP

Your employer must give you form SMP1 explaining why you can’t get SMP within 7 days of making their decision. You could get Maternity Allowance instead.

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