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I am just trying to work out my maternity and have some questions. Can I confirm is it the payslips they look at so what I was paid in certain months? I get paid a month in arrears so is it not what I actually worked in the qualifying weeks? Also my timesheet was late getting processed one month due to me being on holiday then my line manager being away. So I did not receive a payment that month but got double the next. So has this affected my SMP?
SMP rate is calculated on an employee’s “normal weekly” earnings. This is calculated as a weekly average of total gross earnings from your employer during a particular reference period (the “relevant period”). Usually, the earnings taken into account for monthly paid employees are those set out on the last two payslips before the Qualifying Week (which is the 15th week before your Expected Week of Confinement / Childbirth). Following statutory legislation, the relevant period ends with the last normal pay day on or before the end of the Qualifying Week and begins after the last normal payday at least 8 weeks earlier. Therefore, to find the relevant period:-
– Take the last normal payday on or before the end of the Qualifying Week. That normal payday is the last day of the relevant period.
– Count back 8 weeks from that day.
– Take the last normal payday before that date. The day after that payday is the first day of the relevant period.
If during this 8 week relevant period, an employee worked reduced hours, and thus received reduced pay, this will result in him/her receiving less statutory maternity pay as the “normal weekly earnings” in this 8-week period will have been reduced. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done about this.
So, in your case, your employer will base the SMP calculation on the last 2 payslips before the Qualifying Period and being paid in arrears wouldn’t affect this. In terms of the fact that you got double pay in September and none in August due to your employer’s administrative error, then I think you should talk to them about this and point this out since that error should not be allowed to affect your SMP calculation.
SMP is such a complex area and so I would recommend you looking at “NI17A A Guide To Maternity Benefits” which can be found on the Department of Work & Pensions. This goes through SMP in a lot of detail.
Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this answer, WorkingMums cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice.