Rejecting company maternity pay?(16 Posts)
Hi all - I have a question that I've researched on the internet, but can't find an answer anywhere. I was hoping someone here might be able to help.
I'm currently 30 weeks pregnant, working for a very small UK subsidiary of a big foreign company. All the major decisions are made at head office. I've been with the firm for 7 years. I'm the first one at the UK branch ever to request maternity leave. At first, my foreign head office, with which I've always had a very good relationship, made positive noises about going "above and beyond" UK statutory maternity pay. This weekend, they came back to me with their "premium offer". It turns out they're offering 6 weeks on full pay, then a further 3 months on full pay IF I DO SOME WORK FROM HOME. I have no way of knowing what "some work" means, but I do know all the mothers I've spoken to reckon it's impossible to agree to this. And it just doesn't seem worth it to me.
My question is this: once I've exhausted negotiating options, am I entitled to tell them thanks but no thanks, I won't bother with your "premium offer", I'll just take the Statutory Maternity Benefit that the state guarantees me, and call you in 6 months to a year to tell you when I want to come back to work? My husband and I could afford this, and I've pretty much had it with the firm anyway, so it seems like it's time to make a stand... But what's my legal position?
Thanks so much for having a think about this...
You can't do more than 12 days and still keep on maternity, they are called KIT days (keeping in touch) and any time is classed as a day i.e an hours meeting would be a day! I believe the company would also have to pay you for those days, although it would need checking as they are offering additional pay if you do some work. They need to check their UK HR legislation to check they are complying, complying with their countries legislation is not enough.
Also, if you're not planning on going back, statutory pays for 9 months now, and you accrue holiday for ordinary maternity leave, and additional maternity leave. You could have the full year and then get a payment at the end of your accrued holiday.
Thanks for your reply. I still don't quite understand whether I'm allowed to reject the company's offer (which is probably JUST legal under English law) and take the statutory instead. What do you reckon?
Ah, but I see what you mean about the KIT days...
The way I read it they are in effect saying that if you agree to give up your maternity leave and come back full time after 4 months they will allow you to go part time in the interim.
They are dressing it up as a 'premium offer' but in reality what they are saying either give up your right to maternity leave and go part time for 4 months or you will have to accept SMP.
Take it. Show up for one of their "bit of work" sessions, bf in the meeting and change a nappy on your desk. They won't ask you back in again
As long as they give you smp then I would have thought you can reject their offer I would make sure you know what the "bit of work" might entail though. In my experience when you've actually gone and a reasonable newborn period has passed they have figured out all those things you thought only you knew and they don't bother ringing you. This is either good and bloody depressing depending on your attitude to your job/career etc.
Good luck & enjoy your baby.
I'd write back to them and thank them for the offer, but 4.5 months is not how long you'd like to spend with your new DC and you don't like to do half a job! Then set out what you think is the norm for large organisations and tell them what you'd like.
I'm a public sector professional was lucky to receive 6 months full pay then I could have taken the further 3m statutory (had two) and 3unpaid. I did a few KIT days during the full pay period (no extra pay) and some during statutory (full pay on top of statutory).
My DSis also works for a large employer (private), she got the same terms as me. Another friend got 12 months full pay after she made noises about being unhappy with 6 full, 6 half! She was clearly an asset they wanted to retain.
Whilst another friend of mine got 3month full, 3 months 75pc, 3months 50pc after she made a commitment to return after 9months to fall in line with a busy time of year for the business.
Depending where they are based , that may well be the norm. Lots of countries have less paid ML than UK but if you are paid here then you should be entitled to UK SMP.
You are entitled to 10 Keeping in Touch Days, not 12. Your company doesn't have to pay you for them, although obviously if they don't, you don't have to do them. It's 10 without forfeiting SMP. You can do more, but you forfeit SMP. If you return to work, even part time, your SMP stops, which isn't necessarily a problem if they are paying you more.
I think you need to clarify what they mean. You need to know whether the offer is conditional on you returning to work full time after 4.5 months, and what exactly they mean by 'some work from home'.
Once you have that information, you can decide whether you can meet those conditions or not, and if not, say thanks but no thanks, I'll take statutory.
The devil is in the detail here.
Are you actually going to be technically and legally regarded as on maternity leave after the first 6 weeks if you agree to this?
I am no expert but if you go back 'part time' after 6 weeks you will surely lose all the protections that women on maternity leave have?
I think you need to be very careful. For example, if you agree to in effect go part time (in excess of KIT) after 6 weeks could you then be made redundant quite legally once the residual 3 months part time work period has ended?
Is this 'premium offer' just a way of encouraging you to give up your maternity leave and associated employment protection rights without you realising it?
Please take proper advice on this.
It sounds to me like what they are offering isn't compatitable with UK policy.
But yes, you can reject the company offer and just take SMP - I know people who have done this so they don't have to pay it back after they don't return to work.
but even if you take an enhanced payment package then decide not to return , you are entitled to keep what would have been paid as SMP.
Thank you all enormously for your replies - some great points that I wouldn't have thought of. I will let you know how it turns out!
Look, this doesn't read right at all. I used this firm when my previously lovely multi national went nutzoid during my mat leave. Barker Gillette.
Read ur contract or terms and conditions. A multi national should have a set of these for each location. A lot of this information should be available to give u an idea of the standards they expect. I suspect they aren't as au fait with English requirements as u might expect.
Do not at this stage agree, write down, or answer anything other than appearing generally positive but noncomittal. U have to gain as much info as possible. A good legal firm will help u phrase questions and only charge u when it becomes clear there's a case to fight. This might be as small as just a letter. Don't panic about tribunals or anything that's an awful long way off a letter is far more likely and will probs resolve at that stage.
U do need sage advice. I wish u much luck. I don't think it will be too bad to uncover/sort once u do. If flowery answers, that might b all u need!
Are the head office based in the US? Because this does sound like a good deal for American workers (their maternity allowance is shocking). But they need to understand what the standard is in the UK. I'm guessing you don't have a UK HR person otherwise they would have put them straight!
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