long term 'temporary' employee, just found out I'm (slightly unexpectedly) pregnat, contract expires when I would be on maternity leave...

(19 Posts)
TiredFeet Mon 25-Mar-13 20:46:39

that's it really. Just found out I'm pregnant, slightly unexpected, but not unwanted (more I just didn't think I would be able to have another as it took so long to get pregnant with DS, so this is a pleasant surprise).

anyway, I'm a bit worried what will happen when my current contract expires whilst I will be on maternity leave. I'm a long term temporary employee, I've worked for this local authority for nearly two years now, and for another one before that (which I believe counts for 'continuous employment' for sick leave etc). Really love the job (and need the money!) and I'm scared that they could just simply 'not renew' and then I would have no job to go back to

also, a cheeky second question - am I right in thinking I read somewhere that if I get childcare vouchers now I should continue to get them during maternity leave on top of my maternity pay?? would make a massive difference to affordability if that is true! and if so, how do I go about making sure my work know this (not many people seem to claim vouchers (they once accidentally emailed all over us with out blind cc'ing shock ), should I be checking the position with them as early as possible?

flowery Mon 25-Mar-13 21:51:54

Well, they are not obliged to renew your contract if they would not otherwise be doing so, but similarly if they would ordinarily renew, they can't not do so because of your maternity leave.

If your post does end completely, you would be redundant and they should try and find you something else suitable.

You are entitled to receive all contractual non cash benefits throughout your maternity leave (while you are still employed).

Don't check the position with childcare vouchers as that may give them the impression that whether or not to provide them is at their discretion.

If you are in the scheme, just stay in it and assume you will continue to get e vouchers, then if there is any noise to the contrary, deal with it then.

TiredFeet Mon 25-Mar-13 22:00:14

Thanks flowery. I have been told they 'would like to make me permanent but aren't allowed to offer permanent contracts at the minute'. I wouldn't be worried but we are getting two new people on temporary contracts whose posts will expire after mine. I went to my boss with a wobble when I saw the posts advertised and was told 'don't worry that shouldn't make you feel threatened you're part of our long term plans, these people are just coming to support you as there is so much work'. But its not the same as having a permanent contract! I feel so vulnerable now!

TiredFeet Mon 25-Mar-13 22:01:37

Is there a link to an authority for the vouchers point? In case they need convincing in the future!

yummumto3girls Mon 25-Mar-13 22:40:06

I would check the wording on your contract as to why you are temporary. If they end your contract and the temporary reason doesn't exist anymore then it could be unfair dismissal. If you have 2 years service then it would be a redundancy situation and if its a local authority they have obligations to seek alternative employment. If the reason for not renewing any contract is related to your pregnancy then that would be sex discrimination. I would check the situation re childcare vouchers, I don't have much knowledge on thus but recall years ago when I was pregnant that its best not to claim them during the reference period in which your maternity pay is calculated as it might affect how much you might receive - not sure but worth checking. Start keeping any communications about their intentions about your future em

flowery Mon 25-Mar-13 23:09:56

HMRC guidance

But basically as the law is very clear that women on mat leave must be provided with all non cash benefits, the onus would be on them to prove that childcare vouchers are an exception to this rule, which they are not.

How long continuous servic have you got? Once you've got 4 years on temp contracts you are automatically permanent anyway.

TiredFeet Tue 26-Mar-13 06:54:33

Across the two local authorities, will have 4 years continuous in September. (First job was permanent though but much lower pay, different role). Apparently only temporary because they aren't allowed to give permanent contracts at the moment!

Thank you for all your help with this. Panicking a bit (need the money and love my job) and all through a fog of nausea!!

llamallama Tue 26-Mar-13 07:17:16

Re the childcare vouchers...basically yes they continue paying them throughout your mat leave so big bonus once you drop to stat pay/no pay as it's free money but don't start claiming till the later part of your pregnancy. I think it's 15 weeks before you are due. As they work out your SMP based on your salary minus the vouchers, so to get the best deal don't claim yet!

TiredFeet Tue 26-Mar-13 08:15:20

Am already claiming vouchers, presumably I should keep claiming? I will get full amount of smp anyway. And the vouchers will mean we can keep ds in child care a couple of mornings (for continuity during mat leave) and still save up for when we have to pay for two!
Am worried will have to fight for them though!

ItsAllTLAsToMe Tue 26-Mar-13 08:22:56

Is it really true about the 4 years temporary = permament thing? I work in the NHS if that makes any difference.

Good luck, OP

flowery Tue 26-Mar-13 12:05:30

Yes ItsAllTLAsToMe it's true. Doesn't make a huge amount of difference though really - if you get dismissed as a temp with more than two year's service you get redundancy pay anyway.

llamallama Wed 27-Mar-13 19:14:44

I think you should stop claiming during the "qualifying period" as your SMP is worked out on your salary minus benefits,so (as far as I understand it) to get the best deal stop claiming (reduce amount of vouchers to zero) during qualifying time and then start again 15 weeks before you are due!

flowery Wed 27-Mar-13 19:41:47

Most schemes won't let you hop in and out like that though.

TiredFeet Wed 27-Mar-13 19:45:33

By my maths (although I do have quite bad pregnancy brain!) I think I will be better of staying in the scheme and getting the vouchers during maternity leave (as child care is going to be a massive expense for us going forward).

TiredFeet Wed 27-Mar-13 19:48:07

Calculation is based on SMP being I think 90 percent of full pay, whereas with the vouchers I would still get the full amount during maternity leave, and get that element of 'salary' tax free during pregnancy (may be missing something though!)

llamallama Thu 28-Mar-13 06:32:40

My work let you change the amount you claim as and when, so I stopped during qualifying and have now started again before going on maternity leave so there was only a couple of months where I didn't claim.

yummumto3girls Thu 28-Mar-13 08:27:01

You need to check with your payroll! I think what we are saying is that they would calculate your 90% pay based on your salary after the childcare vouchers have been taken out so therefore 90% of the lower amount.

TiredFeet Thu 28-Mar-13 10:28:34

Yes but if I am still getting 100 percent of vouchers then surely that is better than 90 percent of salary?

flowery Thu 28-Mar-13 10:47:07

TiredFeet in some schemes you can hop in and out, so if you hop out for the duration of the qualifying period weeks 17 - 25 of pregnancy, then opt back into vouchers afterwards, what that means is your SMP will be calculated on your full pay, but you'll still get your vouchers. Obviously you need to balance out the tax loss you'll have as a result of not receiving vouchers for that period against the increase in SMP.

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