Statutory payments from April 2021

By law, there are various statutory payments that an employer must make to an employee while the employee is absent from work due to the birth, adoption or death of a child. The employer must pay employees who meet the qualifying conditions at least the statutory amount for the relevant pay period. The statutory payment rates are increased from April 2021 and apply for the 2021/22 tax year.

An employee is only entitled to statutory payments if their average earnings for the qualifying period are at least equal to the lower earnings limit for National Insurance purposes.

Statutory maternity pay

Statutory maternity pay (SMP) is payable to an employee who is on maternity leave. Although an employee can take up to 52 weeks’ statutory maternity leave, statutory maternity pay is only payable for 39 weeks. The payment ceases if the employee returns to work before the end of the maternity pay period (MPP).

For the first six weeks of the MPP, SMP is payable at the rate of 90% of the employee’s average earnings. For the remainder of the MPP, SMP is paid at the lower of 90% of the employee’s average earnings and the standard amount. For 2021/22, this is set at £151.97 (up from £151.20 for 2020/21).

Statutory adoption pay

Statutory adoption pay (SAP) is payable to one parent on the adoption of a child. The other parent may be entitled to claim statutory paternity pay. The provisions for adoption pay and leave largely mirror those for maternity pay and leave – the employee is entitled to take up 52 weeks’ leave, while the adoption pay period (APP) runs for 39 weeks, unless the employee returns to work before the end of this period.

As with SMP, SAP is payable at the rate of 90% of the employee’s average earnings for the first six weeks and at the standard amount, or 90% of the employee’s average earnings if lower, for the remainder of the adoption pay period. The standard amount is £151.97 per week for 2020/21.

Statutory paternity pay

Statutory paternity pay may be payable on the birth or the adoption of a child. The child’s father, mother’s partner or the adoptive parent who is not in receipt of SAP and leave may be entitled to statutory paternity leave and paternity pay. Eligible employees are entitled to two weeks’ statutory paternity leave which may be taken in a single block or in two one-week blocks.

Statutory paternity pay is payable while the employee is on statutory paternity leave (as long as the eligible conditions are met) at the standard rate (£151.97 for 2021/22) or, if lower, at the rate of 90% of the employee’s average earnings.

Shared parental pay

The shared parental pay (ShPP) and leave provisions allow parents to share leave and pay following the birth or adoption of a child. Where an employee returns to work before the end of the MPP or APP, the employee can share the remaining leave and pay with their partner. Shared parental pay is payable at the standard amount, set at £151.97 for 2021/22, or where lower, at 90% of the employee’s average earnings.

Statutory parental bereavement pay

Parents are entitled to statutory parental bereavement leave following the death of a child under the age of 18 or a still birth after 24 weeks where this occurs on or after 6 April 2020. Bereaved parents are able to take two weeks’ parental bereavement leave, either in a single block or as two separate weeks. Eligible employees are also entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP) at the standard amount (£151.97 for 2021/22) or, if less, at 90% of their average earnings.

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