If you become pregnant and you have been working for the same employer for 26 weeks (i.e. six months) or more prior to the 'notification week’ (NW), you will qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).

If you become pregnant and you have been working for the same employer for 26 weeks (i.e. six months) or more prior to the 'notification week’, you will qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). The 'notification week' is 15 weeks before the baby is due. If you qualify for SMP then it is your employer’s statutory obligation to pay it.

The actual period of maternity leave can begin any time after 14 weeks before the baby is due, but the maternity pay period will not commence until the 11th week before the due date.

SMP is payable for a maximum period of 39 weeks. The first six weeks of SMP are at 9/10ths of average gross weekly earnings (which you will receive net of tax and employee's NI). The remaining weeks of the maternity pay period (up to a maximum of 33 weeks) qualify for maternity pay at the current SMP rate or continue at 9/10ths of the average gross earnings, whichever is the lower. Please see the rate and thresholds page for up-to-date SMP rates.

Because your employer is classed as a small employer they can usually reclaim all the costs involved. You should provide your employer with a Maternity Certificate (MATB1) for this purpose. The MATB1 is issued 20 weeks before the baby's due date, and you can ask your doctor or midwife for it. Stafftax will calculate and apply to HMRC on your employer's behalf to receive the SMP rebate. We will also issue payslips for you throughout the period of your maternity leave, showing SMP paid and any Tax and NI deductions.

You should advise your employer during your Notification Week of when you intend to start your maternity leave. However you can change this date providing 28 days notice is given in writing. To qualify for SMP, you do not have to intend to return to work after your baby is born.

All domestic employees have a right to return to work on the same terms as you were previously employed. If you are not returning to work then Stafftax will send you a P45 at the end of your period of SMP. You are technically still employed until then. If you want to return, you are entitled to an additional 13 weeks unpaid leave before returning to work.

information for domestic workers

The National Minimum Wage

All domestic employers in the UK are required by law to pay at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW). It is a criminal offence for an employer to pay below the NMW, carrying a fine of up to £5,000 on conviction, unless you're living as part of the family household (i.e. without separately metered accommodation). For current NMW rates, please refer to our rates and thresholds page.

Your Rights

  • You can check if you are above the NMW from the payslips your employer should be providing you with. Simply divide your gross weekly wage by the number of hours you have worked to calculate your hourly wage
  • If you think that your employer is not paying the NMW you are also entitled to inspect the tax records they keep for your employment. They must give you access to these within 14 days of receiving a written request from you, but this should only be your final course of action after more friendly and informal communication between you has broken down
The working time directive
Domestic employees are exempt from the measures concerning working hours but are entitled to a 20 minute rest break for every six hours worked.