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Statutory maternity pay

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Statutory maternity pay (SMP) is a statutory benefit payable to a woman who takes maternity leave or stops working due to childbirth, provided she earns at least the lower earnings limit and has at least 26 weeks’ continuous service at the end of the qualifying week, which is the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC), and is still employed during that week.

SMP is payable at two rates: the “earnings-related rate” (90% of her average earnings) for the first six weeks, followed by the “prescribed rate” set by the government for the relevant tax year (or the earnings-related rate if lower).
Total SMP entitlement lasts 39 weeks.

Employers should have a compliant Maternity Policy in their staff handbook.

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