SMP - circumstances that may affect your payments

If you are already getting Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) there are circumstances that may affect your payments. This page provides information on returning to work, changing employer, starting voluntary work, going abroad, going into hospital or care, and some other situations that you may face.

If you return to work while receiving SMP

You can work up to ten days during your Maternity Pay Period (MPP) for the employer paying your SMP without losing your entitlement. These are called Keeping in Touch (KIT) days. Once you have worked for ten days and you do further work for that employer, you will lose SMP for each week in your MPP in which you do that work.

Please note, if you work your tenth KIT day and do a further day’s work in the same week, you will lose SMP for that week. This is because you will have exceeded the ten day maximum in that week. In the MPP, a week means any period of seven days. For example, if your SMP started on a Thursday, a week will run from Thursday to Wednesday.

If you start work with a new employer

If you start work with a new employer before your baby is born your SMP is not affected.

If you start work with a new employer after your baby is born (if you work for an employer who did not employ you in the 15th week before the week your baby was due) your SMP must stop. You must tell the employer paying you SMP.

If you start voluntary work

SMP is not usually affected by voluntary work.

If you go to live or visit abroad

Once you become entitled to or if you are already getting SMP and then go abroad, your employer must pay you SMP.

If you work outside the UK for a UK employer you may be able to get SMP if your employer pays NI contributions for you, or would pay if your earnings were high enough.

If you worked for a UK employer both in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the UK and actually worked in the UK in the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth you may get SMP even if your employer has not paid NI contributions for you.

If you go into hospital or care home

SMP is not affected if you go into hospital or care home.

If you are sent to prison or arrested

SMP will end, but you will be able to claim Maternity Allowance.

If you are sick at the end of your SMP

You may claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer. The normal rules for eligibility will apply.

If you’re not entitled to SSP, you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance. Your employer will give you form SSP1 to explain why you are not entitled to SSP.

If you are claiming benefits or tax credits

If you or your partner or civil partner are claiming benefits or tax credits, you may be able to get a Sure Start Maternity Grant.

If you receive SMP, you may claim Income Support to top up your income.

If you become pregnant again

You may be entitled to SMP for your next child if you satisfy the eligibility rules.

SMP and insolvency

If your employer does not pay you SMP because they are insolvent, payment will be made by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). They will only do this when your employer has been formally declared insolvent. HMRC will take over the payment from and including the week of insolvency. Any payments before that date must be paid by your employer.

If your employer is insolvent, you should phone the Statutory Payments Disputes Team on 0300 0560 630.

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