TQOTW: Statutory Maternity Pay
We have an employee who is being made redundant and is entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). Do we have to continue paying SMP after the redundancy?

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A. The simple answer is yes, as for an employee receiving SMP at the time they are made redundant the employer must discharge their full liability by either continuing to pay SMP to the employee based upon what would have been their normal pay period or by paying the SMP as a lump sum payment.

When SMP continues to be paid in the same way and at the same time when the employee stops working you should agree with them whether they require a form P45 or not. If they do then deduct tax on the remaining statutory payments using code 0T (S0T, if they are taxed at the Scottish rate) on a ‘week 1’ or ‘month 1’ basis. If they don’t require a form P45 then use their usual tax code for the statutory payments. If the employee requests their form P45 upon termination or before all of the SMP has been paid it is an indicator that the employee has or will be starting work for a new employer that she did not work for during the Qualifying Week (QW) and you will be able to explore this further. Where the employee requests their form P45 after termination but before all SMP has been paid or the form P45 is to be issued because you have made all payments of SMP then record the final payment date as their leaving date.

A lump sum payment of SMP can be paid to the employee where both the employer and the employee agree to payment in this way. There are however risks associated with lump sum payments as both the employer and the employee may pay more in National Insurance Contributions and the employee may pay more tax (although any overpaid tax would be repaid at the end of the tax year). Also if the employee starts work for another employer after the QW but before the birth of the baby the liable employer remains liable to pay SMP throughout the MPP for any complete weeks the employee does not work for that employer. If the employee ends her employment with that employer SMP will resume until the end of the Maternity Pay Period. If the employee were to start work for a new employer after the baby is born, but before the end of the Maternity Pay Period, who did not employ them in the QW their entitlement to SMP will stop. You would in either of these circumstances have overpaid wages which you will then need to recover from the employee and you will also need to recalculate and repay to HMRC any SMP recovered incorrectly.
For an employee who undertakes any work in a self-employed capacity during their Maternity Pay Period, then such work will not affect their payment of SMP.

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Tax & Payroll Adviser
0844 892 2470

Liz is a Payroll Advisor on the tax consultancy advice lines. A former Payroll Manager and Payroll Consultant, Liz has worked for the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals as Associate Director of Professional Development, managing the Training Department and initiating the Payroll Quality Partnership Scheme. Liz has also set up and successfully run her own company. She is a Fellow and non-executive board member of the CIPP, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

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