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Our members often ask how Maternity or Paternity works. To help you understand the differences, we’ve provided some useful information below with an example.

Statutory Maternity Leave Up to 52 weeks leave - made up of 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) and 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave (AML).
Statutory Paternity Leave Up to 28 weeks leave - made up of 2 consecutive weeks Ordinary Paternity Leave (OPL) and 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave (APL)
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) 90% of your normal pay for the first 6 weeks and the lower of 90% of your normal pay or £148.68 per week for the next 33 weeks. This is the minimum you’ll be paid by law.
Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP) Determined by your employer’s policy - you should check with your employer what their OMP provision is.

Please note: The following example is based on the Environment Agency’s maternity policy. We’ve included it to help you to understand the principles used to calculate any missed pension you might want to buy back after taking unpaid/child related leave.  Please check your organisation’s policy when referring to these calculations.

Jennie had a period of maternity leave from 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2019. The EA policy is to increase the SMP to full pay for the first 18 weeks of maternity leave with SMP paid for the next 21 weeks.

  • Jennie’s monthly salary is £3,200 (before maternity leave), £38,400 per annum
  • Jennie’s Assumed Pensionable Pay (APP) is calculated as an average of the pensionable pay paid in the 3 months before the maternity leave commenced = £3,200 per month or £38,400 per annum
  • OML – Full pay for 18 weeks
  • OML – SMP for 8 weeks
  • AML – SMP for 13 weeks (For this example we’ve used £148.68 x 52/12 = £644.28 per month)
  • AML – No Pay for 13 weeks
  • Returned back to work 1 August 2019

Jennie’s contributions are deducted from Pensionable Pay Paid. Her employer’s contributions are deducted from Assumed Pensionable Pay.



April - June

August - January

February - March

April - July


Work OML
Weeks 1 to 18
Weeks 19 to 39
Weeks 40 to 52

Occupational Maternity Pay

Full Pay Full Pay NO PAY NO PAY

Statutory Maternity Pay


Pensionable Pay Paid

£3,200 N/A SMP ONLY £0

Assumed Pensionable Pay
(APP) Paid

N/A £3,200 £644.28 £0

Member contributions

6.8% of £3,200
£217.60 per month
6.8% of £3,200
£217.60 per month
6.8% of £644.28
£43.81 per month

Employer contributions

14% of £3,200
£448 per month
14% of £3,200
£448 per month
14% of £3,200
£448 per month

CARE pension built

£65.31 per month £65.31 per month £65.31 per month NIL
*the SMP is increased to the rate of full pay and not paid in addition


Jennie’s Maternity leave started in August 2018. During weeks 1-39 Jennie’s pension is calculated using the APP of £38,400 per annum. On returning to work on 1 August 2019, she can purchase the missing pension from May to July by paying Additional Pension Contributions.

As Jennie is aged 36, this would cost £147.27 per month for 12 months (she can pay the contributions as a lump sum or over a longer period to suit her budget) and an additional £195.92 will be added to her pension account. However, if she applies to make the repayments within 30 days of her return to work, the Environment Agency will pay £98.18 (two-thirds of the cost), reducing her payments to £49.09 per month.

The normal member contributions for 3 months is £652.80, whereas repaying the missing 3 months of contributions (May to July) will only cost £589.08 providing the election is made within 30 days of the return to work.


Last updated: 25/05/2021

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