An employee should inform you that they are pregnant at least 15 weeks before the baby is due. At the same time they must inform you of when they want to start their maternity leave.
Statutory Maternity Leave is 52 weeks. The first 26 weeks are Ordinary Maternity Pay, and the second 26 weeks are Additional Maternity Pay. Employees don't have to take 52 weeks of Maternity Leave. Statutory Maternity Pay is payable for up to 39 weeks.
To pay Statutory Maternity Pay
First you need to create a pay run. Select the employee that is due the SMP from within the pay run and select Actions then Pay statutory leave.
Once you have done this, select Statutory Maternity Leave from the drop down menu, and fill in the following information:
- Baby's due date: enter the date the baby is due to be born.
- Start Paying SMP: this is the very first date that SMP is going to start being paid. This needs to be entered for the first pay run only and then the system holds onto the calculation for the next pay run. When you go into the pay run for the next period, it populates the from and to date for the next batch of SMP payment.
If you have migrated payroll, or have already paid SMP, then you will need to select SMP already paid and ensure that you enter the date that you started paying SMP in the Start Paying SMP date field.
- Weeks to Pay: this will show the number of SMP weeks payable.
- Set Employer Pension Protection: while the employee is on maternity leave, they receive the same benefits as they would if they were at work. This includes employer's pension contributions. Select the box to calculate the amount of pension you are going to be paying as per pay schedule. You can check how much you have previously paid by checking prior pay runs.
- Manually enter Average Weekly Earnings: this would generally only be used if you have previously migrated payroll software. Select and you will be able to enter the average weekly earnings gross figures.
Once you have filled in the above information, select Check Eligibility. You will then see if the employee is eligible.
You can view the log of eligibility by selecting View log. The amount of SMP to pay will show in the field under the log. You will then need to decide which action you are going to take:
- Pay only Statutory amount: pay SMP only and reduce the earnings in the pay run.
- Reduce earnings by statutory amount: pay the SMP and earnings, but reduce the earnings by the SMP amount, so that the employee is getting their normal pay made up of SMP and earnings.
- Add Statutory amount to earnings: pay SMP on top of earnings.
When you have selected the action select Apply and the SMP will be added to the pay run.
If you choose not to pay SMP, select the box and then select the reason from the drop down menu.
If you have chosen not to pay SMP when you finalise the pay run, you will need to go to the employee's leave balance on the employee details page and click on the link SMP1 form. The link will take you to the Jobcentre Plus Statutory Maternity Pay form. This should be completed and given to the employee with the original Maternity Certificate MAT B1 (that she gave you to enable her to apply for Maternity Allowance).
If an employee decides to return from maternity leave earlier
You can record this by following the steps below:
- Click on Pay Run.
- Select the employee in question to see the breakdown of their pay.
- Click on the SMP line to edit. In the dialog box, select Advanced Settings, then choose not to pay SMP.
- In the dropdown box, select You have started work after birth.
- Click Save.
To view your Statutory Maternity Pay NI Deductions Summary go to Reports, P32 Report, then select NI Deductions Summary.
Note: Keeping In Touch (KIT) days are days that an employee can work while on Maternity leave and get paid for, for up to 10 days. These days are not compulsory and both the employee and employer should agree on them including the pay and the type of work to be carried out. See Keeping in Touch Days for more information.