Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is a statutory entitlement while the NHS scheme is a contractual entitlement. The two schemes have separate but overlapping amounts of leave and pay which depend on ‘qualifying service’.
A number of conditions have to be met to become entitled to maternity leave and pay, but the main criteria for both the SMP and the NHS scheme is the amount of employment service an employee has.
For SMP it is 26 weeks (and you cannot add different employers together) ending with the qualifying week, which is the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.
For the NHS it is 12 months continuous service (and you can add NHS employers) without a break of more than three months by the 11th week before the expected week of confinement.
If these conditions, and certain crucial others, are met then under the SMP rules, a woman is entitled to up to 39 weeks of SMP. This is made up of six weeks at 90% of average weekly earnings and the remaining 33 weeks paid at the lesser of the SMP standard rate (£140.98 from 6 April 2017) or 90% of the woman’s average weekly earnings.
There is no longer a length of service requirement for additional maternity leave.
For those eligible to the NHS Scheme the entitlement is:
- eight weeks full pay (less SMP or Maternity Allowance (MA) receivable)
- 18 weeks’ half pay (plus SMP or MA providing the total does not exceed full pay) and
- 13 weeks’ SMP or MA that an employee is entitled to under the statutory provisions.
An employee can take up to 52 weeks off including the paid period.
Employees who do not qualify for SMP can claim the maternity allowance direct from the Jobcentre Plus office. It is payable for 39 weeks. A woman must be employed or self-employed in at least 26 weeks in the 66 week period ending with the week before the expected week of childbirth and her gross earnings must be at least £30.00 per week averaged over a 13 week period. The maternity allowance is the lesser of the standard SMP rate or 90% of average weekly earnings.
Doctors who qualify for the NHS scheme but who do not have enough service with an individual trust for SMP purposes will need to claim the maternity allowance direct from the Jobcentre Plus office and the trust will deduct an equivalent amount from the full part of their maternity pay for the period receivable.
Please find more information on maternity pay in the below attachments.
- Advice & Support
- Advice & Guidance
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