Q&A: Can I pay my wife while on maternity leave?

Q. I formed my new company in November 2012 and I pay wages to my wife because she became a director and employee of that company at that time and does work for the company. My wife is now expecting our first child in August 2013. Can our company pay my wife statutory maternity pay?

A. Unfortunately your wife has not worked for 26 weeks for her employer before the 15 weeks prior to birth, so statutory maternity pay is not due. There is nothing to stop your company from paying your wife her normal wages while she is on maternity leave, but as those wages do not amount to statutory maternity pay the company can’t reclaim that pay from the tax office.