NI17A - A guide to Maternity Benefits
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
Working in your Maternity Pay Period
If you are getting SMP from one employer and, before your baby is born, you do some work for another employer, your SMP is not affected.
Your SMP will stop if after the baby is born but before the end of the Maternity Pay Period, you work for an employer who did not employ you in the qualifying week. It is your responsibility to tell the employer paying you SMP about your new job. You must do this as soon as possible, and make sure you return any SMP payment you get that covers the week you started work and any part of the period after you resumed work.
If you do any work in a self-employed capacity during your MPP, then such work will not affect your SMP.
Working in the MPP for the employer paying you SMP - Keeping in Touch (KIT) days
You can work under your contract of service for the employer paying you SMP for up to 10 days during your MPP without losing any SMP. These special days are known as KIT days.
KIT days are intended to help you keep in touch with your workplace and allow you to do some work during your Maternity Pay Period without affecting your SMP. They could also help ease your eventual return to work. The type of work you do could be attending work for a training course or for an appraisal interview. These are just examples, but whether you take advantage of these days is your choice. Both you and your employer should agree that you can work on those days. Your employer does not have any right to insist that you work.
Any work you do as a KIT day, even as little as half an hour for example, will be counted as a whole day for KIT days. They can be taken as single days; in blocks of two or more days; or can be taken consecutively. Once you have used up your 10 KIT days and you do any further work, you will lose a week’s SMP for the week in the Maternity Pay Period in which you have done that work. If a week in your Maternity Pay Period contains only KIT days, you will be paid SMP for that week. If a week in your Maternity Pay Period contains the last KIT day and you do a further days work in the same week for the employer paying you SMP, you will lose SMP for that week.
For any KIT days that you work under your contract of service for the employer paying you SMP, your employer must pay you the SMP due for that week as a minimum. Any contractual payment for the work done as a KIT day, will depend on the agreement between you and your employer.
More than one payment of SMP
If you have more than one employer – Employer A and Employer B and you are entitled to SMP from each of your employers you can have 10 KIT days for any work you do for Employer A. You also have 10 KIT days for any work you do for Employer B.
If you have one employer and two contracts – contract A and contract B and you are entitled to SMP from both of your contracts, you have 10 KIT days for the work you do under Contract A. You also have 10 KIT days for the work you do under Contract B.
NOTE: You can only use Keeping in Touch days with the employer paying you SMP. You cannot use KIT days for any work you do for any employer other than the employer who is paying you SMP. If, after your baby is born, you do any work for an employer who did not employ you in the qualifying week, your SMP will stop.
What to do if your employer says you should not get SMP
If your employer decides that they should not pay you SMP, they must give you form SMP1. Form SMP1 explains why you cannot get SMP. Your employer must return any maternity certificate you have given them. If you think you are entitled to Maternity Allowance you should get a form MA1 from your maternity or child health clinic. Or contact Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688. The form, Maternity Allowance (MA1) can also be downloaded. Complete it and take or send it to your Jobcentre Plus office with form SMP1 and the maternity certificate.
If your employer is not liable to pay contributions under the NI scheme, you are not entitled to SMP. You should ask your employer to give the reasons for non-payment in writing. Provided you are not entitled to SMP from another employer, you should make a claim for Maternity Allowance.
- Maternity Allowance (GOV.UK)
Occupational Maternity Pay
Your employer cannot pay you less than your SMP entitlement. They may pay you more if you are entitled to a higher rate of maternity pay under your employment contract.
If your employer does have an occupational maternity pay scheme, you will have to keep to its rules if you want to get all the pay you are entitled to. Your employer can usually pay you SMP as part of your occupational maternity pay, or vice versa. But if the occupational scheme is funded entirely by the employees your employer cannot treat your maternity pay as part of SMP.