Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is a weekly payment from your employer that enables you to take time off work before and after the birth of your baby. It is payable for a period of up to 39 weeks.
People of any age can qualify for SMP, if they meet the following conditions:
You must have been employed by the same employer continuously for at least 26 weeks into the 15th week before the week your baby is due. This may be modified slightly if your baby is born prematurely.
You must earn on average at least £118 a week.
You may qualify instead for Maternity Allowance. This is a benefit that is paid through Jobcentre Plus. It is available for people who do not qualify for SMP and is paid for up to 39 weeks at a rate of £148.68 or 90% of your average gross weekly earnings (before tax), whichever is the smaller.
For the first six weeks you will receive 90% of your average gross weekly earnings. For the remaining 33 weeks you will receive £148.68 or 90% of your average gross weekly earnings (before tax), whichever is the smaller.
You will need to tell your employer that you intend to have a baby and want to claim SMP, giving at least 28 days' notice before you want payments to start. You will need to provide medical evidence of when your baby is due by obtaining a maternity certificate from your doctor or midwife.