What notice of the date that she wants her statutory maternity pay to begin does an employee have to give?

A pregnant employee is required to give at least 28 days' notice of the date that she wants her statutory maternity pay (SMP) to begin.

In practice, the employee can usually give the notice in relation to SMP at the same time as she gives the employer notice of when she wants to commence her maternity leave, ie by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC). However, should she give the minimum notice of maternity leave and wish to commence her maternity leave and SMP at the earliest possible date (the beginning of the 11th week before the EWC), she will need to provide separate notice for her SMP entitlement in order to provide the required 28 days' notice.

If it is not possible for the employee to give 28 days' notice, for example if the baby arrives early, the employee should tell her employer as soon as reasonably practicable.