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is it possible to be granted SMP, but end up with LESS than you would get on MA?

(16 Posts)
halloweeneyqueeney Mon 08-Oct-12 14:59:44

pregnancy 1 I worked less hours on average than I do now, but got full MA

this time I'm on a 0 hours contract, but working more consistantly so it looks like I'll get SMP

but I'm worried that they might give me less than I got on MA? does that happen?

reason being that for various reasons there have been gaps that might bring my average per week down (with MA you choose your X amt of qualifying weeks so they were all good earning weeks) like at the start of my pregnancy I was off for the best part of 2 weeks when the docs said I was MCing (did try to work but was crying too much) but as on 0 hour contract its not counted as sick leave, just not working. I took a weeks holiday in my qualifying period (but as 0 hrs contract, that's not "annual leave" just not working) plus there has in recent weeks been less work than normal so although I'm making myself available I'm only getting half the shifts I normally would)

so in the qualifying period my average won't be great, even though if I was applying for MA I'ld have some good weeks payslips to submit IYKWIM

Do they reject your SMP if you're entitled to LESS than MA? or will I have to take less pay even though I've been working more than with last pregnancy when I had to claim MA and got the full whack?

Scroobius Mon 08-Oct-12 15:09:13

I'm fairly sure the rule is that the 1st 6 weeks you get paid either the flat rate of £135 (approx) per week or 90% of your average earnings per week; whichever is the highest. Then for the next 33 weeks it's the flat rate of £135 or 90% of your earnings; whichever is the lowest. I doubt it'll work out that you would get less than basic MA but I'm not sure how that is generally worked out/of the rate is the same as SMP basic.

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 08-Oct-12 15:12:32

some weeks I get £0 (if off sick etc), and some weeks recently I've got abouy £60

my normal amt would be about £260 but a number of things recently will have dragged my average down

whereas MA isn't worked out as a % of your average, its done by submitting x amt of decent pay slips, which I could do if SMP is actually rejected, but if its NOT rejected I could end up with less than MA couldn't I?

it doesn't seem right that I'll work more this year than the year I had MA, but could get much less

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 08-Oct-12 15:15:45

I THINK that because I'm on a 0 hrs contract, I am counted as not having continuous service (for SMP purposes as well as pension - NHS), even though I've worked for them for years, so I don't get the "whichever is higher" bit just straight to the "whichever is lower" bit??

Ellypoo Mon 08-Oct-12 17:24:10

In order to qualify for SMP, you must have averate weekly earnings in the 8 weeks up to and including the qualifying week at least equal to £107 (the lower earnings limit for the payment of NIC) (amongst other requirements) - the qualifying week is 15th weeks before the EDD, so basically 26 weeks, so can you work out the average of your pay for weeks 18 - 26 of your pregnancy?
SMP is paid at a flat rate which is the same as MA after the initial 6 weeks (during the first 6 weeks for SMP you get 90% of your salary over that period or SMP, whichever is higher). If you didn't qualify for SMP due to your earnings in that period, then you may qualify for MA.
Either way though, the maximum MA is not more than the SMP flat rate, so you shouldn't be worse off either way.

Ellypoo Mon 08-Oct-12 17:25:43

Oh, just read your bit about 'not continuous service' - if this is the case (I'm not sure that it is - I think that even on a 0 hours contract, it is still a contract of employment and so you therefore meet the continuous service element), then you may well be able to claim MA and then pick your weeks as before.

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 08-Oct-12 17:28:16

no it doesn't count as continuous service at all, in between shifts I am not "off duty" or on annual leave or sick leave etc, I'm just not working for them apparently

I can't get MA unless they decline my SMP, they said they are unlikely to decline my SMP, so it does look like I could well end up with much less than MA sad despite working more than I would have if I was declined for SMP and given MA confused

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 08-Oct-12 17:29:13

I only work for them when I'm at work IYKWIM, so they can still pay me some SMP but don't have to pay me any of the continuous service elements of it

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 08-Oct-12 17:31:09

" so can you work out the average of your pay for weeks 18 - 26 of your pregnancy?"

yeah they're basically my lowest earning 8 weeks of the year, some weeks it was 0

if I was claiming MA I could choose which payslips to submit out of a much longer period so none of them would be under £200

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 08-Oct-12 17:34:45

it just doesn't seem fair/right that by working/earning more I've left myself entitled to less sad, wish I'ld figured this out 8 weeks ago when I coulda taken a few extra weeks off so that I could go down the MA route?

Ellypoo Mon 08-Oct-12 17:53:46

No, SMP, after the first 6 weeks is at a flat rate, so if you qualify for it, you get the £135/week.
I believe that the top amount for MA is at the same rate as £135/week, so you wouldn't end up with less for getting SMP.

Ellypoo Mon 08-Oct-12 17:56:34

There aren't 'different elements' to SMP - you either qualify for it or you don't. Are you getting confused with company maternity pay? Even with that, if you qualify for SMP, you can't get less than SMP - that is the basic minimum entitlement (as long as you meet the criteria).
Check on direct.gov if you don't believe me smile

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 08-Oct-12 18:05:25

in my pack from work, as it is considered service with breaks, this seems to be the catagory I fit:

"6 weeks at 90% of average earnings
33 weeks SMP (SR) or 90% of average earnings (whichever is the lesser)
13 weeks AML (unpaid)"

so going by the underlined, I COULD end up with less than SMP if 90% of my average earnings is less than SMP?

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 08-Oct-12 18:09:01

"There aren't 'different elements' to SMP - you either qualify for it or you don't"

the catagories with unbroken continuious service are worded like this:
"8 weeks full pay (Including SMP at ERR)
18 weeks half pay plus SMP (SR)
13 weeks of SMP
13 weeks unpaid leave"

so you see I'm not talking about the company's mat pay (e.g. the full pay bit), I'm talking about once it goes to SMP (see underlined) the people with unbroken continuous service get no mention of only getting the full SMP amt if its lesser than a percentage of their average earnings IYSWIM

Ellypoo Mon 08-Oct-12 18:13:34

Could you speak to HMRC or look at direct.gov? They might be able to help you with it?

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 08-Oct-12 18:28:00

I'm still a bit in the dark, rang payroll today and they said that they haven't processed it yet (I gave it in at 24 weeks, I'm 27) and if I can't have it they'll send me the form for MA but if I am eligible I wont get any notification by post or anything about how much etc, they will (I quote) "just process it" without notifying me about how much I am going to be getting confused

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