How is my maternity leave paid?
Employees are usually paid the same amount every month which is calculated from your annual salary divided by 12. However Maternity Pay is calculated on weekly basis and paid depending on the number of full weeks there are in a month. Therefore, some months you will be paid 4 weeks and some 5.
Maternity pay is taken as an average of the earnings made in the 2 months prior to the 15th week before the EWC (Expected Week of Confinement). For example, if your EWC was 14th July 2013 then your 2-month average earnings period would be February and March 2013. The average of your earnings during those two months will form your maternity pay. Your employing board will contact your previous employer if the 2 months were not under different employment. Any tax benefits received during those months like childcare vouchers may reduce your entitlement as payment is based on the lower contractual earnings. If you have an increment during your maternity leave, this will still be applied.
All employees should fall under one of the following entitlements:
1. OMP (Occupational Maternity Pay)+SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) - During the first 8 weeks when you receive the full OMP payment, SMP will be paid and offset for the first 6 weeks at the higher rate of 90% of your salary and also paid and offset for the following 2 weeks at the lower MA (Maternity Allowance) rate (6+2 = 8). As you are technically entitled to both OMP+SMP this must be recorded but you cannot receive more than your full pay so it is simply an 'in and out' transaction through the payroll and will not affect your OMP payment. After the first 8 weeks your OMP will decrease to half pay and SMP will continue to be paid at the lower MA rate of £145.18 per week. During this time you will be allowed to receive both OMP + SMP payments combined as this will not breach your full pay limit. After 18 weeks your OMP payment will stop and you will continue on the lower SMP rate for a further 13 weeks.
2. SMP only - For the first 6 weeks you will receive 90% of your salary and then the payment will decrease to £145.18 for a further 33 weeks.
3. MA only - Your employer will provide you with an SMP1 form that you will need to submit along with your MATB1 certificate to get payment for up to 39 weeks from Jobcentre Plus.