What notice of the date that they want their statutory maternity pay to begin do employees have to give?

Pregnant employees are required to give at least 28 days' notice of the date that they want their statutory maternity pay (SMP) to begin.

In practice, the employee can usually give the notice in relation to SMP at the same time as they give the employer notice of when they want to commence their maternity leave, ie by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC). However, should they give the minimum notice of maternity leave and wish to commence their maternity leave and SMP at the earliest possible date (the beginning of the 11th week before the EWC), they will need to provide separate notice for their 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 the employer as soon as reasonably practicable.