What is SMP and can I claim it?

Careers HMRC Office

You are entitled to 52 weeks Maternity leave, 26 weeks ordinary Maternity leave and 26 weeks additional maternity leave.

You must have an employment contract and have given your employer the correct notice. To be eligible to claim SMP through your employer you must have worked 26 continuous weeks before the qualifying week, 15 weeks before due date week. In total 41 weeks in total before due date week. You must also earn on average of £118 a week.

If you do not qualify for SMP you can still claim Maternity allowance with an SMP1 form. You are entitled to an SMP1 form if not eligible within 28 days of your request or birth if sooner. Link below


You can start SMP as early as 11 weeks before due date week. You are not required to take the full 52 weeks however, you must take at least 2 weeks off after the birth or 4 weeks if you are a factory worker. SMP will start automatically if you have a pregnancy related illness in the 4 weeks before your due date.

39 weeks are paid and up to 13 weeks unpaid. 6 weeks at 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) & 33 weeks at £148.68 or 90% of your average weekly earning depending on whichever is lower.

You can use the online HMRC calculator to work out your monthly pay. Link below


Employers can reclaim 92% of SMP or 103% if they qualify for small employers’ allowance. To qualify the class 1 NI for the previous full tax year must be below £45,000. If an employer can not afford the monthly payments, they can apply for an advance. Speak to your payroll department on more information on how to do this.

If you lose your baby after birth or if the baby is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy, you are still eligible for SMP.

To claim SMP you must provide your employed with a MATB1 form which is usually given at your 20 weeks appointment but not always this early. The FORM must be given to your employer 21 days before the start of SMP. Your partners employer may also ask for a copy to claim statutory paternity pay.

If you are not eligible for SMP, your employer must give you a SMP1 form stating why they cannot give you SMP and this must be given within 7 days of your employer making their decision.

You should tell your employer of your due date 15 weeks before & preferably when you want to start your leave. You can change your SMP start date but must give 28 days’ notice of the start date.

You might get more leave than the statutory amount if your employer has a company maternity scheme. No employer can offer you less than the statutory requirement.

You could also be eligible for 18 weeks unpaid parental leave after the birth, this sometimes is restricted to 4 weeks per annuum.

If you would like to talk it through please call us directly on 0161 236 7677.