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I am on maternity leave and I have been receiving SMP and CMP (Contractual Maternity Pay). I started my maternity leave in Spring 2021. I understand that I receive SMP for 39 weeks. However, my maternity pack stated this for my CMP: 4 weeks full contractual pay; 2 weeks at 90% contractual pay: 12 weeks half contractual pay; 33 weeks SMP or 90%. Based on this should I be paid up to 51 weeks. Is that right?
I would advise that in addition to your maternity pack, you also check the terms of your contract of employment, together with any collective agreement which affects your terms and conditions of employment (such as the Burgundy Book, for example) and any maternity policy within the Staff Handbook as this is the source of your entitlement and would be the documents that an employment tribunal would examine to decide whether you have been paid your maternity entitlements correctly.
While it is always worthwhile checking with your Human Resources contact to clarify for your own organisation, typically where statutory maternity pay is enhanced by the contract, the statutory entitlement is off set against the contractual entitlement.
For example, under the statutory maternity pay regime (if you satisfy the eligibility requirements), you receive 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first six weeks. Therefore, it would be most common for the remaining 10% of your full pay during the first four weeks to be topped-up by your contractual maternity pay entitlement.
The next two weeks would match your statutory minimum entitlement and then from weeks 7 to 39, your contractual maternity pay entitlement would have topped up the statutory minimum entitlement to half-pay. Thereafter, your payments would revert to the statutory minimum entitlement for the remainder of the term. After week 39, all entitlements to payments would be exhausted and the remainder of your maternity leave would be unpaid.
You can check your statutory minimum entitlements on this government website and then compare this to your payslips during maternity to see how they compare.
*Gemma Bailey is the Head of Howells’ Employment Department. Gemma advises individuals and companies on the full range of employment issues. She has a particular interest in complex disputes and is regularly instructed to support in tribunal litigation.