SMP - when do your payments start

The earliest your Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) can start is from the 11th week before the week your baby is due. The latest is from the day following the birth.

Your Statutory Maternity Pay start dates and Maternity Pay Period

If you continue to be employed into the 11 weeks before the week your baby is due, you can choose the date when you want to start getting your SMP. This is usually the first day of your maternity leave. You do not have to be actually at work to have this choice. For example, you might be off sick.

If your employment ends before the start of the 11th week before the week your baby is due, your SMP will start at that 11th week.

SMP can be paid for up to 39 weeks, this is called the Maternity Pay Period (MPP).

Circumstances that could change your SMP start date

The following are examples of circumstances that may make a difference to your SMP start date.

SMP if you are off work because of your pregnancy

The start of your SMP will change if you are off work because of your pregnancy, either at the start of or in the four weeks before the week in which your baby is due. If this happens, SMP will start from the day following the first complete day you are off work for a pregnancy related reason in this four week period.

SMP if you are made redundant or you leave employment

If you are entitled to SMP and you are made redundant or you leave your employment after the start of the 15th week before the week your baby is due but before the start of the 11th week, SMP will start from the beginning of the 11th week before the week your baby is due.

If you leave at any time after the start of the 11th week before the week your baby is due and before the start of your Maternity Pay Period (MPP), your SMP will start from the day after you left your employment.

SMP if your baby is born early

The start of your SMP will change if your baby is born more than 11 weeks early (therefore before the start of the 11th week before the week your baby is due), or before the date you chose to start your SMP. If this happens your SMP will start from the day following the birth of your baby.

SMP and premature births

If your baby is born before your MPP has started but after the 15th week before the week your baby is due, you must tell your employer within three weeks. Your MPP will start on the day following the day your baby is born.

If your baby is born early but after the start of your MPP, SMP will continue to be paid for 39 weeks from the date your MPP started.

SMP and stillbirths

Even if your baby survives only for an instant it is a live birth and you will be entitled to SMP if you qualify for it.

If your baby is stillborn earlier than the 25th week of your pregnancy you will not be able to get any SMP, but you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Talk to your employer about SSP or find out more using the link below.

If your baby is stillborn after the start of the 25th week of your pregnancy, you are entitled to the same SMP you would have received if your baby had been born alive.

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