If an employee is in receipt of sick pay during the period for the calculation of statutory maternity pay, is her maternity pay calculated on her actual pay or the pay that she would normally have received?
Entitlement to statutory maternity pay (SMP) and the amount payable during the first six weeks of maternity leave (the higher rate) are calculated in accordance with the employee's average weekly earnings during the period of eight weeks that immediately precede the 14th week before her expected week of childbirth. It is the employee's actual earnings during this eight-week calculation period that are used to work out entitlement to SMP. Thus an employee may gain or lose, depending on the circumstances. For example, if an annual bonus was paid during those eight weeks, this will have to be taken into account when calculating the amount of higher-rate SMP due to the employee. Similarly, if the employee's pay was reduced due to the fact that she was absent from work because of sickness, then the amount of higher-rate SMP due will be reduced accordingly.