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Welcoming a new member into your family is an exciting time, but it can also bring financial worries, especially for working parents. In the UK, Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is a lifeline for many, providing essential financial support during maternity leave. As we approach April 2024, it’s crucial to understand the upcoming changes to SMP and how they might affect you. This guide will break down everything you need to know about SMP, including the amount you can expect to receive, ensuring you’re fully prepared for the arrival of your little one.

What is Statutory Maternity Pay?

Statutory Maternity Pay is a financial benefit for pregnant women who are employed, offering them support during the time they take off work to have a baby. It’s paid for up to 39 weeks, with the amount you receive depending on your average earnings before tax. SMP is designed to help you maintain some level of income during your maternity leave, making it easier to focus on your new family member without the added stress of financial strain.

Am I eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay based on my work history?

Eligibility Criteria for SMP

To qualify for SMP, you must:

  • Be employed by your employer up to the 15th week before your baby is due.
  • Have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date.
  • Earn an average of at least £123 per week (as of the current threshold, subject to change).
  • Provide the correct notice and proof of pregnancy to your employer.
Do I meet the eligibility criteria for SMP?
Employment: smp april 2024

SMP Rates: April 2024 Update

As of April 2024, the rates for SMP are expected to undergo adjustments. While the exact figures are yet to be announced, it’s important to stay informed about these changes as they can significantly impact your maternity leave planning. Typically, SMP is paid at 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, followed by a fixed rate or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the remaining 33 weeks.

How Much Can You Get?

Understanding how much maternity pay you can get is crucial for budgeting and planning your leave. The current fixed rate is £156.66 per week, but this is subject to annual reviews and adjustments based on inflation and other economic factors. Keep an eye on official announcements to stay updated on the specific rates for April 2024.

How will the new SMP rates affect my maternity leave budget?

Applying for SMP

To apply for SMP, you should inform your employer of your pregnancy and your intention to take maternity leave at least 15 weeks before your baby is due. You’ll need to provide proof of pregnancy, usually in the form of a MATB1 certificate, which you can obtain from your doctor or midwife after you’re 20 weeks pregnant.

What if I miss the 15-week deadline for informing my employer?

Beyond SMP: Additional Support

While SMP provides essential support, it’s important to explore other benefits and entitlements that you may be eligible for, such as Child Benefit, Universal Credit, or the Sure Start Maternity Grant. Each of these can offer additional financial assistance during your maternity leave.

What additional benefits can I claim during my maternity leave?

How Contend Can Help

Navigating the complexities of maternity benefits can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contend, your AI legal assistant, is here to provide personalized guidance and support. Our AI-driven platform can help you understand your entitlements, calculate your expected SMP, and guide you through the application process. Chat with our AI legal expert today and get clear, reliable answers to your legal questions in 5 minutes or less.

Am I getting the correct amount of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)?

Conclusion

As April 2024 approaches, staying informed about the changes to Statutory Maternity Pay is essential for expecting parents in the UK. Understanding how SMP works, how much you can get, and how to apply will help you plan your maternity leave more effectively, ensuring you can enjoy this special time with your new baby without unnecessary financial worries. And remember, Contend is here to simplify the process, offering you the legal guidance you need to navigate your maternity benefits confidently.

Embarking on your maternity leave journey? Chat now with Contend’s legal expert to understand more about your SMP entitlements and take the first step towards a worry-free maternity leave.

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This material is for general information only and does not constitute
tax, legal or any other form of advice. You should not rely on any
information contained herein to make (or refrain from making) any
decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your
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