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Guide to Statutory Payments for Umbrella Company Contractors

One of the main benefits of umbrella company employment is that you’re employed, which means you’re entitled to all the rights, benefits and protections of employment. This includes statutory payments like sick pay and maternity/paternity pay. In this article we’ll look at what these payments are, and how you can claim them should the need arise.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

SSP is a legal entitlement for employees who are unable to work due to illness or injury. If you’re entitled to SSP your umbrella company are responsible for paying it to you as they are your employer. At the time of writing the rate is £96.35 per week for up to 28 weeks.

You’re eligible for SSP if you’re employed, earning £120 per week and you’re unable to work due to illness or injury. SSP will start on the fourth day of your incapacity; the first three days are known as “waiting days” and are not paid.

Your umbrella company will have an internal policy stating how they want you to inform them if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury. Ensure that you know what this policy is, and follow it as soon as possible when you need to.

You can “self-certificate” for up to seven days, after which you will need a “fit note” from your doctor.

If you don’t qualify for SSP your umbrella company will provide you with an SSP1 form. This officially confirms that your employer isn’t paying SSP and explains why. You may be able to use this form to claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support allowance.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid by employers to eligible employees who are pregnant or have recently given birth.

At the time of writing, SMP is 90% of weekly earnings for the first six weeks, and the lower of average weekly pay or £151.97 for up to 33 weeks after this.

You’re eligible for SMP if you’ve been employed for at least 26 weeks leading up ton the 15th week before the due date, earning an average of at least £120 per week.

When you receive your MATB1 form from your doctor or midwife, confirming your pregnancy and your expected due date, forward this to your employer straight away. Inform your employer of your intention to take maternity leave at least 15 weeks before your expected due date.

If you don’t qualify your umbrella company will give you an SMP1 form explaining why. You may be able to claim Maternity Allowance instead.

Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)

Umbrella company employees may be eligible for SPP if they and their partner are having a baby or adopting a child.

Statutory Paternity Pay for eligible employees is either £156.66 a week or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). 

Employees can choose to take either 1 week or 2 consecutive weeks’ leave. The amount of time is the same even if they have more than one child (for example twins).

Leave cannot start before the birth. The start date must be one of the following:

  • the actual date of birth

  • an agreed number of days after the birth

  • an agreed number of days after the expected week of childbirth

Leave must finish within 56 days of the birth (or due date if the baby is early).

To be eligible for SPP you must be employed up to the date when the child is born or placed with the adopter and earning an average of at least £123 a week in an 8-week “relevant period”. You must be one of the following:

  • the father

  • the husband or partner of the mother (or adopter)

  • the child’s adopter

  • the intended parent (if they’re having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement)

And you must:

  • be taking time off to look after the child or your partner

  • be responsible for the child’s upbringing

  • have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks up to any day in the ‘qualifying week’

Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)

You or your partner may be able to get ShPP if you’ve had a baby or adopted a child, and one of you has ended your SPP or SMP early. The remaining statutory pay may be available to you or your partner as ShPP.

For example:

If a mother ends her SMP after 12 weeks, leaving 27 weeks available for ShPP. The parents can choose how to split this.

If you have questions, or if we can help in any way, please call our expert team on 01296 468483 or email

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