Who is entitled to maternity pay?

Pregnant woman reading about maternity pay and other maternity procedures such as parental leave in her contract

All those employed under a contract of employment – regardless of how long they’ve been with you – and give the correct notice, are entitled to Statutory Maternity Leave.

The correct notice is at least 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth (EWC). When an employee notifies you of their pregnancy, they must provide the baby’s due date, as well as the date they want to start their maternity leave.

Statutory Maternity Pay

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, employees must have continuously worked for you for at least 26 weeks prior to their qualifying week (i.e. the 15th week before the EWC) and:

  • Provide proof of pregnancy
  • Give the correct notice
  • Be on your payroll in the qualifying week
  • Have average earnings of at least £113 (gross) in the eight weeks before the qualifying week.

Proof of pregnancy

An employee must provide proof of pregnancy before you pay Statutory Maternity Pay.

Normally, proof of pregnancy is provided in the form of a doctor’s letter or a maternity certificate – otherwise known as a MATB1. Either of these documents are usually provided 20 weeks prior to the due date.

The employee should supply you with their proof of pregnancy within 21 days of their Statutory Maternity Pay start date. However, at your discretion, you can agree to accept proof at a later date if you wish.

If you still haven’t received proof of pregnancy 13 weeks after an employee’s Statutory Maternity Pay start date, you no longer have to provide them with pay.

Remember to keep records

You must keep the following records for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):

  • Proof of pregnancy
  • The date Statutory Maternity Pay started
  • Proof of the Statutory Maternity Pay payments – including the dates they were paid
  • Details of any Statutory Maternity Pay you’ve reclaimed
  • The dates of any weeks you didn’t provide Statutory Maternity Pay and why.

We’re here for you

If you need a hand with anything maternity, paternity or pay related, get in touch with our experienced HR & Employment Law experts online or on 0345 844 1111, and they’ll be happy to help.

Get more information

Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.