Maternity, paternity and adoption pay


Statutory Maternity Pay

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you must have been employed for at least 26 weeks prior to the 15th week before the baby is due (i.e. 41 weeks prior to your expected week of confinement (EWC).

Your average earnings in the 8 weeks up to and including your qualifying week must have been at least equal to the lower earnings limited for National Insurance contributions.

If you do not qualify for SMP you will be issued with an SMP1 form, as you may be able to claim Maternity Allowance (MA) from JobCentre Plus.

Occupational Maternity Pay

If you qualify for Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP) you must have been employed for at least 52 weeks prior to the 11th week before your baby is due (i.e. 63 weeks before your EWC).

If you qualify for either OMP or SMP you will receive, for the first 6 weeks, either 90% of your average earnings prior to the qualifying week or 90% of your contract pay if you qualify for OMP, whichever is the greater. For the next 12 weeks you will receive the standard rate of SMP plus, if you qualify for OMP, half of your salary. The exception is if your half pay plus SMP is greater than your normal week's pay, in which case your half pay will be reduced. For the next 21 weeks you will receive the standard rate of SMP only.

If you do not return to work for at least three months after your maternity leave you will be required to repay any half pay OMP that you received. If you are unsure about your return you may request that this half pay is withheld at the beginning of you maternity pay.

If you know how long you are going to be on maternity leave, you can opt to have your pay averaged over the period so that your pay is consistent each month.

The standard rate of SMP is set by the Government.

During your maternity leave you will have the option to attend work (for training or to carry out work) up to a maximum of 10 days, referred to as Keeping In Touch (KIT) days. You will be paid the equivalent of one full day’s pay for each KIT day i.e. your SMP will continue to be paid for that day and will be topped up so that you are paid the equivalent of a full day’s pay.

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Statutory Paternity Pay

Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) will be paid for the period of Paternity leave, providing the following apply:

  • The employee has been in employment with the council for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due birth date; and
  • The employee’s average weekly earnings are above the lower limit for National Insurance contributions.

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Adoption pay

Employees who are matched with a child for adoption and intend to take advantage of adoption leave are entitled to a maximum of 39 weeks Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) if: 

  • they have worked for their employer for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks ending with the week in which they are notified of having been matched with the child;
  • their average weekly earnings must be at least equal to the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions. 

When a couple adopt, only one individual will qualify for adoption leave and pay. The other individual will be able to take Maternity Support Leave.

Where possible, an employee must give at least 28 days' notice of the date on which they want their SAP to start.

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