- You must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 continuous weeks by the end of the 15th week before the week in which your baby is due (this is known as the 'qualifying week') and still be working for this employer in the qualifying week (you do not have to work a full week for the week to count); and
- You must earn at least the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL), i.e. you must have had average earnings of at least £116 a week before tax (the LEL for April 2018 to April 2019) in the eight weeks (if paid weekly) or two months (if paid monthly) before the end of the qualifying week; and
- You must stop work because of your pregnancy on or after the 11th week before the week in which your baby is due.
If you qualify for SMP, you will receive Statutory Maternity Pay for 39 weeks. For the first six weeks, it is paid at 90% of your average gross weekly earnings. For the remainder, it is paid at the lower of either a standard weekly rate of £145.18 or 90% of your average gross weekly earnings.
Statutory Maternity Pay is normally revised upwards each year in April.
There are three types of Maternity Allowance. These are:
- £145.18 or 90% of average wages if less, paid for 39 weeks;
- £27 a week for 39 weeks; or
- £27 a week for 14 weeks.
You can find out about your eligibility at the different levels on the GOV.uk website.