Who Is Entitled?

Although there are conditions regarding sickness and pregnancy, in a nutshell, pregnant employees that are sick have the same rights to be paid sick leave as all other employees.

When Should I Pay?

There are different rules around when SSP should be paid to pregnant employees;

  • If an employee is off work for pregnancy related illnesses (conditions linked to pregnancy, if unsure a GP would confirm) in the 4 weeks before the baby is due an employer can automatically begin their maternity leave.
  • If an employee has an illness that is unrelated to pregnancy, they can claim sick pay assuming they qualify (click here for more info regarding SSP entitlement) until the week the baby is due or the date that has been agreed for maternity leave to begin.
  • If an employee is sick during their SMP pay period, you should just continue to pay SMP as normal and not SSP.
  • If an employee returns to work within their maternity pay period and goes off sick, you are not required to pay SSP. Instead you should continue to pay SMP.

How Will SSP Effect SMP?

  • If a pregnant employee is receiving SSP during the 8 weeks leading up to and including the last payday before their qualifying week (15th week before the baby is due) their maternity pay will be affected.
  • The first 6 weeks of maternity pay are based on the average earnings of these 8 weeks, therefore is an employee is receiving the SSP amount of £94.25 (2019/20) for a period of these 8 weeks their average earnings will be reduced.
  • Please also note that if due to receiving SSP that an employee’s average wage is reduced to below the LEL (lower earnings limit) of £118 (2019/20) a week they will not be entitled to SMP. Under these circumstances the Employer would need to issue the employee with a SMP1 form. The employee can however apply for Maternity Allowance from the job centre.


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