Which individuals are excluded from the right to claim statutory maternity pay?

Only employees are entitled to statutory maternity pay (SMP). For these purposes, an "employee" is an individual with earnings that attract liability for employers' secondary Class 1 national insurance contributions (or that would if they were high enough). This can include agency workers.

Employees who do not have 26 weeks' continuous service at 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth, and employees whose average weekly earnings are below the lower earnings limit for national insurance (which is revised annually) are ineligible for SMP.

Mariners are not covered by the statutory maternity pay scheme if they are employed on a foreign-going ship, or their employer does not have a place of business in the UK. Further, any employee who works outside the UK for an employer that has no base in the UK is not entitled to SMP.

Employees are not entitled to SMP if they are in legal custody at the beginning of their maternity pay period. If an employee has been receiving SMP, she will stop receiving it if she goes into legal custody.