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Employment Act 2002

Section 19: Rate of Statutory Maternity Pay

48.This section inserts a new section 166 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, which sets out the rate of SMP.

49.The inserted section 166(1) provides that, as before, a woman shall be paid at the earnings-related rate (90% of her average weekly earnings) for the first 6 weeks for which it is payable. But this rate is no longer underpinned by the flat rate. For the remaining 20 weeks, the woman will receive a prescribed standard rate (£100 a week) unless this exceeds her earnings-related rate, in which case, she will receive the earnings-related rate for the entire pay period.


  • Woman A earns an average of £200 a week. She therefore receives SMP at £180 for the first 6 weeks, then £100 for the remaining 20 weeks.

  • Woman B earns an average of £90 a week. She therefore receives SMP at £81 for the whole 26 week period because the earnings-related rate is less that the flat rate.

50.The inserted subsection 166(2) states that (as now) the earnings-related rate is calculated on the basis of average earnings during the 8 weeks immediately preceding the 14th week before the EWC.

51.The inserted subsection 166(3) ensures that (as now) the weekly standard rate must not be less than the weekly rate of Statutory Sick Pay.

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