Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is a weekly payment made by employers to their employees or former employees. Employers pay SMP to those women who have been employed by them prior to becoming pregnant and during their pregnancy. So if you were not employed in your pregnancy you cannot get SMP. But you may be able to get Maternity Allowance (MA) from Jobcentre Plus.
Qualifying women are entitled to SMP whether or not they intend to return to work for that employer.
There are no age limits to qualify for SMP. If you are under 16, you can qualify for SMP from your employer if you satisfy the rules.
SMP can be paid for a maximum period of 39 weeks.
The important date for working out your SMP is the date your baby is due not when your baby is actually born. The week in which your baby is due is referred to as the EWC - Expected Week of Childbirth
The amount of SMP you get depends on how much you earn.
If you have a visa that allows you to live and work in the United Kingdombut includes the condition that you have "no recourse to public funds" you may still get SMP provided you satisfy the qualifying conditions. The qualifying conditions for SMP depend on your recent employment and earnings history. Because of this SMP does not constitute public funds.
If you think you may be entitled to SMP, it may help if you work out the date of the start of your qualifying week. This is a very important date.
The qualifying week is the 15th week before the week in which your baby is due. The definition of a week for the qualifying week is a period of 7 days that begins at midnight between Saturday and Sunday.
To work out your qualifying week, use a calendar and find the Sunday of your expected week of childbirth. Then count back 15 Sundays (do not include the Sunday of your EWC).
The 15th Sunday is the beginning of your qualifying week.
Baby due 11 July
EWC begins 7 July
15 Sundays before is 24 March
Therefore qualifying week is 24 March to 30 March
Generally, the definition of a week in this guide is a period of 7 days that begins at midnight between Saturday and Sunday. But if your SMP starts on a day of the week other than a Sunday, then a week in your Maternity Pay Period (MPP) means a period of seven days starting from the day of the week your MPP began. For example, if your MPP started on a Thursday, weeks in your MPP run from Thursday to Wednesday.
Who is your employer?
Your employer is someone who is liable to pay the employer's share of your Class 1 NI contributions (or would do if you earned enough or were old enough to pay this). You do not have to have a written contract of service. And your employer does not actually have to have paid any NI contributions for you.