I am employed on a three-year fixed-term contract that will end in October when the project I am working on comes to an end. I am pregnant with a due date around mid-January 2018. As I will still be employed by the company by the 15th week before EWC, and will have been employed on a continuous basis for more than 26 weeks by then, I believe I am entitled to SMP. Is it possible to start maternity leave after the expiry date of my contract. Also my employer provides enhanced maternity pay for staff who have worked continuously for 26 weeks by the qualifying week and who intend to return to work for at least 12 weeks after maternity leave. Does this mean I could ask for enhanced maternity pay, even if my maternity leave would start after the expiry date of my current contract, and not be expected to pay it back or, does this mean that, as my maternity leave would start after my contract expires, so when I am no longer an employee, I do not qualify for enhanced maternity pay?
As you are eligible for maternity leave if you meet this length of service criteria (employed with the company by the 15th week before EWC and will have been employed on a continuous basis for more than 26 weeks), then as your contract is due to end after the 15th week before the week the baby is due, you will be entitled to SMP.
You are entitled to statutory maternity leave, even though you may not be employed at the end of your maternity leave and can choose when it starts. You could speak to your employer about if there are any other opportunities in the company at the end of your maternity leave. I would speak to them to see if there is any chance of being paid enhanced maternity leave, but legally you aren’t entitled to it.