Clarity on Pay for a Client Who Was Made Redundant While Pregnant

An adviser contacted Specialist Support for Employment (SSE) with a query regarding a client who was made redundant while pregnant.

The client was 23 weeks pregnant and in her redundancy notice period. She was working full time and had worked for her employer for 11 years at that point. The last day the client worked for her employer was 12th February and the notice period of 11 weeks started on 13th February 2021 – meaning the notice period would end on 1st May 2021.

The client wanted to know if she was also entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). To see if the client was entitled to SMP as well as statutory redundancy pay, SSE researched maternity entitlement and the legal requirements on the Maternity Action and NI Direct webpages for making a claim for SMP.

To receive SMP you must:  
  • have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the qualifying week (the 15th week before the week your baby is due) and
  • be employed in all or part of your qualifying week (employment includes part of a day and includes days on annual leave or sick leave), and
  • earn at least £120 (April 2021-April 2022) on average in the eight weeks or two months before the end of the qualifying week.
You will not get SMP if you are made redundant* and your employment ends before your qualifying week (the 15th week before your baby is due) but you may be able to claim Maternity Allowance.

If you are made redundant and your employment ends in or after your qualifying week, you are still entitled to SMP for 39 weeks. If you are already on maternity leave and receiving SMP, your maternity leave will come to an end when your employment ends but your SMP must continue for the rest of the 39-week period.

In order to claim SMP you must give your employer 28 days’ notice of the date you want to start your pay. You must also give your employer a copy of your Maternity Certificate (MATB1) stating your expected week of childbirth which your midwife or GP will give you when you are about 20 weeks pregnant.

If you do not meet the qualifying conditions for SMP you may be able to claim Maternity Allowance from your local Jobcentre Plus. In order to apply for Maternity Allowance* you will need to ask your employer to give you form SMP1 which explains why you were not entitled to SMP.
 So in this case, the client was serving her redundancy notice and technically still employed until Saturday, 1st May therefore she was entitled to the full 39 weeks’ SMP from the employer.

To claim SMP the client must notify the employer at least 28 days before she intends to start maternity leave. Maternity leave will start on the 11th week before the baby is due (5th April). So, in this case, the client would need to inform the employer in writing no later than 15th March 2021.

After providing the adviser with the timeline calculation and explanation of how the calculation was done, SSE also advised that it would be important for the adviser to check with the client that all of the criteria, including pay, was met as any claim of SMP would depend on this.
SSE also included links to the relevant resources to aid the adviser.

The adviser later contacted SSE to say the criteria was met and thanked SSE for the help and calculation. The client was happy with this information.
To contact Specialist Support Employment Adviser Siobhan McPeake Direct Dial: 028 9744 0097
Hours of work: Monday-Friday 8am–4pm
*SMP - when do your payments start | nidirect
*Maternity, Adoption and paternity calculator for employers - GOV.UK (