Statutory payments are those paid by your employer, including:
- Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
- Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)
- Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
- Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)
There is more information on our website about problems with other payments such as Maternity Allowance.
If your employer refuses a statutory payment
If you are refused a statutory payment, or you get less than you think you are entitled to, you should seek advice and check the rules. You may need to check eligibility requirements and do a calculation of earnings in a particular period to check the amount that you should be entitled to versus the amount you were paid.
For statutory family pay, you can use this quick and easy government calculator.
Your employer should write to you and explain their reasons
If your employer is not going to give you a statutory payment, they should write to you explaining their decision. The forms used to do this are SSP1 for Statutory Sick Pay, SMP1 for Statutory Maternity Pay, OSPP1 for Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay, and SAP1 for Statutory Adoption Pay. There are no official forms if your employer refuses to pay you Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP).
Even if you no longer work for your employer, you have the right to a decision and to ask for a written statement. Your employer should also return any evidence that you have given them as part of your claim, for example, your maternity certificate (MATB1) if you have claimed SMP.
If your employer gives you the payment, but you are unsure if you are receiving the correct amount, you can ask your employer for a written statement setting out the amount of statutory payment they think you are entitled to, the rate they think you should get, and the reason that SSP or SMP is not payable for any other time period. This may help you to understand or how your statutory payment has been calculated, and how much tax has been withheld.
Contact the HRMC Statutory Payment Dispute Team
If you don’t agree with your employer’s decision on a statutory payment, or your employer fails to inform you of a decision, you can ask HRMC to make a decision on your entitlement. To do so, you should contact the Statutory Payment Dispute Team.
If your employer hasn’t paid you and hasn’t given you a decision, it may be worth writing to them first to tell them that you intend to involve HRMC if they do not inform you of their decision. This could prompt your employer into dealing with your claim without your having to take it any further. It is normally advisable to contact your employer to try to resolve statutory payment problems before involving HRMC.
If you have talked to your employer and they still refuse to pay you a statutory payment you think you are entitled to, you should ask them to give you the correct statutory payment refusal form. You can include this in your application to HRMC.
You should make your application within six months of the earliest date for which your entitlement to statutory payment is in dispute. For example, if your employer has not paid you SMP, you should apply to HRMC within six months of the start of your maternity leave.
If you can, include any decisions you have received from your employer and any evidence you have used to show your entitlement, for example, your MATB1 form and payslips from your reference period. Don’t delay your application if it means you may miss the deadline.
HRMC may need further information to make a decision. They will also probably send a form to your employer to complete. They may try to negotiate between you and your employer by sending you both a written opinion about your entitlement. You will both have the opportunity to comment on the opinion.
Get a decision from HRMC
Once both you and your employer have commented on their opinion, HRMC will issue a formal decision. This is legally binding on your employer. If your employer has been told to pay then they should do so, at the latest on the first pay date after the time limit for appealing has expired.
If your employer appeals against the decision, the time limit for paying will depend on what has happened with their appeal. If you want to appeal against HRMC decision, you should get advice.
If your employer fails to pay you a statutory payment, or doesn’t pay you enough, but admits you are entitled to it, you can also enforce your rights at Employment Tribunal. You should seek further advice before doing this.
Most of the time it is easier to let HRMC handle your dispute. However, if you have incurred losses because of your employer’s failure to pay, for example you had to pay overdraft fees because you went overdrawn, then you might be able to get this money back through a Tribunal, but not through making a complaint to HRMC.
If your employer is insolvent
If your employer cannot pay because they are insolvent HRMC will take over payments, and you should contact the HRMC Statutory Payment Dispute Team.
Unfortunately, employers do sometimes become insolvent (not have enough money), and this can happen when you have qualified for statutory pay, or after you have already started to receive payments.
If this happens, you will still get your statutory payment through HRMC. If your employer is still operating, you should continue to get your payment from them, or they may pay you the rest of your statutory payment in a lump sum (regardless of whether you are still an employee). If your employer goes into liquidation (is closed down), then the liquidator should get in touch with you to explain how you apply for your statutory payments from the government.
HRMC is responsible for paying any statutory payments which are due from the week of insolvency (or from the day of insolvency for Statutory Sick Pay), but not any payments from before your employer became insolvent. Statutory payments which were due before your employer became insolvent, but which haven’t been paid, are a debt owed by your employer. Responsibility for these may pass to HRMC at a later date if the employer still does not pay. The insolvency practitioner should write to you do explain what to do.
You can contact the Statutory Payment Dispute Team to explain what has happened, you do not need a specific form.
For more information, see our article on your rights if your employer is made insolvent.
This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.
If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.