5. How to claim

Statutory Maternity Leave

At least 15 weeks before your due date, tell your employer when the baby is due and when you want to start your maternity leave . Your employer can ask for this in writing.

Your employer must write to you within 28 days confirming your start and end dates.

Use the maternity planner to work out when you must claim your maternity leave.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

Tell your employer you want to stop work to have a baby and the day you want your SMP to start. You must give them at least 28 days’ notice (in writing if they ask for it) and proof that you’re pregnant.

Your employer must confirm within 28 days how much SMP you’ll get and when it will start and stop.

If they decide you’re not eligible, they must give you form SMP1 within 7 days of making their decision and explain why.

Proof you’re pregnant

You need to give your employer proof of the pregnancy to get SMP. You don’t need it for maternity leave.

Within 21 days of your SMP start date (or as soon as possible if the baby’s born early) give your employer either:

  • a letter from your doctor or midwife
  • your MATB1 certificate - doctors and midwives usually issue these 20 weeks before the due date

You won’t get SMP if you don’t give your employer proof that the baby is due.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.