Week 18 to 25 (inclusive) is the eight week period used to calculate average weekly earnings for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and full pay for NHS terms and conditions. It is the pay received within this period that is used for the calculation. If overtime or unsocial shifts are worked and the money is received outside this period then it will not be included.
By the end of this week, you must have 26 weeks of service with the same employer to qualify for SMP. This period must include at least one day in week 25. HMRC treats each NHS trust as a separate employer for the purposes of SMP, so if you change NHS employer you may lose your entitlement to SMP.
You must also notify your employer of your pregnancy by the end of this week.
This is your earliest planned start to your maternity leave.
For NHS maternity pay, you must have 12 months of continuous service with the NHS at the beginning of this week. A break in service of three months or less will be disregarded.
Pregnancy related sickness after this point can lead to maternity leave starting automatically.
Your expected week of childbirth (EWC).
Check your contract of employment for details of your maternity pay entitlements. You may only be entitled to the statutory minimum payment described below, or your employer may provide benefits that are more generous, such as NHS terms and conditions.
If you are on NHS terms and conditions, you may have 8 weeks full pay (which will include any SMP or Maternity Allowance). This is calculated on the basis of the pay you received in weeks 18 - 25 of your pregnancy (inclusive).
If you are on NHS terms and conditions, you may have 18 weeks half pay and SMP at flat rate (or Maternity Allowance at flat rate) - provided this doesn't exceed full pay.
If you are on NHS terms and conditions, you may be entitled to 13 weeks SMP at flat rate (or Maternity Allowance at flat rate), or 90% of average earnings - whichever is lowest.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) lasts for 6 weeks at 90% of average earnings. Week 18 to 25 (inclusive) of your pregnancy is the eight week period used to calculate average weekly earnings for SMP.
You can use the government's calculator below to work out your entitlement to SMP.
From week 7 to 39 inclusive, SMP is paid at a standard rate or 90 per cent of average weekly earnings (whichever is lowest).
Weeks 40 to 52 are your 13 weeks of unpaid leave.
If you are not entitled to SMP you may be eligible to claim up to 39 weeks of Maternity Allowance (MA). You must have been employed or self employed for at least 26 weeks of the 66 week period up to the beginning of your expected week of childbirth.
Use the government's calculator below to find out if you are eligible for MA.
If you want to return to work sooner than at the end of your 52 weeks, you must give your employer at least 8 weeks' notice in writing.
Your annual leave accrues during your maternity leave. You must be allowed to carry over any unused part of your statutory leave entitlement of 28 days (including bank holidays) - check your policy for carry over provisions and speak to your employer to discuss arrangements to take your unused leave.
You can let your employer know if you are a breastfeeding mother as they should provide you with a place to rest.
You may have the right to make a request to change your hours of work, provided you've been employed for a certain amount of time and have not made a request for flexible work in the last 12 months.
If you decide not to return to work, you'll have to give notice in line with your contract. You may have to pay back contractual maternity pay (but not SMP or MA). As it's a big decision, you can speak to us to help you decide what to do.