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SMP calculation

An employee is pregant, baby due July 2011.  Company has policy of no pay when employees absent on sick leave so when the employee has been off sick since becoming pregnant the only pay has been SSP. Employee is concerned that this will affect her SMP payments if she continues to be off sick throughout the pregnancy.  Doctors notes have covered the absenses to date.  Employee is aware Mat Leave will start if she is absent within last 4 weeks of pregnancy due to pregnancy related illness.

Employee has a 2 hour journey in to work and is also afraid she will be too tired to work during her pregnancy. 

Employee wishes to start Mat Leave at the same date as baby is due (subject to the 4week rule).

How does the employer stand and how does the employee stand in respect of the amount of SMP she may be entitled to.

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16th Feb 2011 22:44

Read the guidance

... in the SMP Handbook, E15.

The rate of SMP depends solely on her average earnings in the 8 weeks up to the 15th week before the baby is due, which means roughly February and March - you need to work it out exactly based on the date specified in her form MAT B1.  SSP is included as earnings.  I don't think the standard rate of SMP for 2011/12 has been announced yet, but she will be paid 90% of her average earnings for the first 6 weeks of SMP, followed by the lower of 90% and the standard rate (£124.88 in 2010/11) for up to the next 33 weeks.

She can choose to start her maternity leave and be paid SMP from the 11th week before the baby is due, but if she wants to continue to "work" until the baby is due, she will continue to be paid SSP while off sick, up to a maximum of 28 weeks of SSP.

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By jeh
17th Feb 2011 01:59

SMP based on SSP rates when employee off sick

Thank you Euan for summarising that so clearly - and I have just read through most of E15 again -  but it does seem to penalise the full time employee who is absent from work whilst pregnant and employer has a policy of no contractual sick pay.  It would appear that SSP rates become the criteria for the amount of SMP - being 90% of current SSP approx £79 per week /  This means the employee is penalised for the following 39 weeks of SMP for being ill.  and receives only (£79*90%)  rather than £124.88 just because she was ill at key dates. 

Am I right in this view?

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17th Feb 2011 09:51

No SMP

If her only earnings in the qualifying period (roughly February and March) are SSP at £79.15, her average earnings will be below the NI LEL of £97 and she is not entitled to any SMP from her employer.

The employer will need to provide her with form SMP1 with the relevant box ticked in Part D to say that her average earnings were not enough and give back her MAT B1.  She can then take the two forms to a Jobcentre Plus and claim (non-taxable) state Maternity Allowance at the same rate as SMP (90% of £79.15).

Have a look at Maternity Allowance.

 

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