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.

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email:
rating@lpsni.gov.uk

For queries or advice about property valuation, email:
valuation@lpsni.gov.uk

For queries or advice about land registry, email:
CustomerInformation.LandRegistration@finance-ni.gov.uk

For mapping queries, email:
Mapping.Helpdesk@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.