Statutory Maternity Pay and Pay Rises

Statutory Maternity Pay and LeaveEmployee earnings affected by a pay rise

A pay rise must not be withheld because of maternity leave.

You must recalculate the average weekly earnings (AWE) to take account of pay rises awarded, or that would have been awarded had your employee not been on maternity leave.

This applies if the pay rise was effective from anytime between the start of the 8 week relevant period for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and the end of the statutory maternity leave.

If a pay rise is awarded after you’ve calculated your employee’s earnings, and that pay rise is effective from the start date of the relevant period but before the Maternity Pay Period (MPP) ends, you must:

  • recalculate the AWE to include the pay rise as though it was effective from the beginning of the relevant period
  • pay any extra SMP due

If a pay rise is awarded which, when recalculated, means that earnings are now high enough for your employee to get SMP when they could not before, you must:

  1. Work out 90% of the AWE.
  2. Take away the standard rate of SMP.
  3. Pay the difference for 6 weeks.

If 90% of the AWE is less than the standard rate you might not have to pay your employee anything.

This is because they may have received the balance of SMP due from Jobcentre Plus (or the Jobs and Benefits office in Northern Ireland) as Maternity Allowance (MA).

Not all women are entitled to MA, or the MA may be less than the SMP your employee is now entitled to. You should ask them to get a letter from the Jobcentre Plus (or the Jobs and Benefits office in Northern Ireland) to confirm how much MA was received.

If your employee gives you a letter from the Jobcentre Plus office (or the Jobs and Benefits office in Northern Ireland) showing how much MA was received:

  1. Work out the total amount of SMP they’re entitled to.
  2. Take away the MA that was paid.
  3. Take away any SMP you’ve already paid.
  4. Pay your employee the difference.

Your employee should still benefit from a pay rise, even if they do not intend to return to work with you after their maternity leave has ended.

If a pay award is made after they have terminated their employment and the pay rise is backdated to when they were working for you, or were on maternity leave with you, they may be entitled to benefit from the pay rise. You must check the terms of their old contract of employment.

If more than one pay rise has been awarded during the period they were on maternity leave you’ll need to make separate calculations for each one.

Further details can be found here

Qualifying for Statutory Maternity Pay

Image result for statutory maternity pay do i qualifyIf you need to check whether or not an employee qualifies for Statutory Maternity Pay, SMP, they need to have been earning on average at least £118 a week, before any deductions, in the qualifying weeks depending on when the baby is due.

You can use the government website calculator here

For example, if the baby is due on 30th September 2019

When does the employee want to start their leave?  14 July 2019

Did the employee have a contract with you covering 29 December 2018 to 16 June 2019?  Yes

What was the last normal payday on or before Saturday, 22 June 2019?  21 June 2019

What was the last normal payday before Saturday, 27 April 2019?  26 April 2019

How often do you pay the employee?  Weekly

What were the employee’s total earnings between Saturday, 27 April 2019 and Friday, 21 June 2019?  £944

How many weeks’ pay did the employee get between Saturday, 27 April 2019 and Friday, 21 June 2019?  8 payments or fewer

How do you want the Statutory Maternity Pay calculated?  weekly starting 14 July 2019

Based on these dates and pay figures, the entitlement would be £106.20 per week, beginning on Friday 20th July and ending on Friday 11th April 2020

If you need any further help, please contact us here

Statutory Maternity Payments Help

We received this cry for help recently – ‘My employee is entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay, but we can’t afford to pay it – what can we do?

Help is available from HMRC

If you can’t afford to make payments

You can apply for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to pay you in advance if you can’t afford to make statutory payments.

How to apply for advance payment

Apply online to be paid in advance for:

  • Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
  • Statutory Paternity Pay
  • Statutory Adoption Pay
  • Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)

You can apply up to 4 weeks before you want the first payment

You can find more details here