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Maternity leave and sickness

(36 Posts)
Stella8234 Fri 15-Mar-13 16:53:40

Just a general enquiry really because I'm so stressed out about the situation I am in with my employer. I work as a registered nurse for our local nhs foundation trust. I am currently 27 weeks pregnant and about 7 weeks ago I was diagnosed with SPD. I have been unable to work for the past 2 weeks as my mobilityhas been seriously affected. The physio and doctor both say physically I can no longer do my job and my gp signed me off on long term sick as they say the problem will get worse rather than better. I contacted my employer yesterday and informed them of the situation to be told they will commence my maternity leave early- 11 weeks prior to EDD. Does anyone know if they can legally do this? And if they can do this will I be able to request to return to work instead and do very light duties to prevent this from happening as I don't want to lose the time with my baby, it's too precious!

BabyFaker Fri 15-Mar-13 19:07:13

Interesting... I can understand a small business getting it wrong but not the nhs/public sector!

nomoreplease Fri 15-Mar-13 19:10:58

I work in the nhs and seem to remember that this is the vase I am afraid.

You could ask to be redeployed to work somewhere maybe scrutinising notes, that's what we generally do to people who can't fulfil their roles. That or reception and answering the phones.

onedev Fri 15-Mar-13 19:17:29

Has the law changed recently? I work for a large FTSE 20 company who is a v responsible employer, with an excellent maternity policy & when I was managing a few pregnant ladies a few years ago, I could have forced them to start maternity leave at 29 weeks (although I chose not to) given their pregnancy related illnesses.

That was definitely allowed at the time & it wouldn't have been, had it been against legislation!

Sorry Op, not v helpful but it was perfectly legal a few years ago. Hope you get to the bottom of it.

if she is signed off sick she wont need redeployed, just her sick pay until she starts maternity leave! (when she wants to start it or at 4 weeks before EDD as it would be triggered by pregnancy sickness absence)

another nhs document: www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/About/FreedomOfInformation/FOIPublicationScheme/~/media/Files/FreedomOfInformationDocuments/OurPoliciesAndProcedures/HR2011/Positive_Management_of_Attendance_Policy.ashx

11. Pregnancy related illness/sickness

11.1 For pregnant employees, non-pregnancy related sickness absence will be
recorded in the normal way.

11.2 For pregnant employees, time off work due to a pregnancy related illness
will be recorded separately and, although it will be included when
reviewing the employee’s attendance record and triggering PMA reviews, it
will not be counted towards any absence caution or other penalty.

11.3 All sickness absences, even if pregnancy-related, will be paid according to the employee’s sickness entitlement, which remains unchanged.

11.4 A pregnant employee absent with a pregnancy-related illness must follow
the normal absence reporting procedure and provide medical
certification/fit note as would be required for non-pregnancy related illness.
Their line manager will carry out a return to work interview after a period of
absence in order to provide support or to consider any adjustments that
could be made to help the employee.

*11.5 If the employee is off work with a pregnancy related illness during the last 4 weeks before the expected week of childbirth, the NHS Direct Maternity
Leave Policy will be followed*.

11.6 OH advice may be sought to clarify pregnancy related absence; especially if absences are frequent; and/or where a pregnant employee requests a change of working pattern outside normal working arrangements, during her pregnancy.

pinkbear82 Fri 15-Mar-13 19:56:20

It's so confusing! I'm not NHS and 29 weeks next week with pregnancy related illness.

just claim normal sick pay then. They cannot make you start maternity leave at 29 weeks.

Stella8234 Sat 16-Mar-13 08:38:19

That's what I thought I lovepowerhoop but from what my colleagues have said this is not the case. GP says I'm not fit for work so going to have to request occ health risk assessment to see if there's anyway I can get back on minimal duties. I wouldn't care that was my intention but everyone kept telling me not to bother because my mobility is so bad. Feels like I've been tricked into early maternity.

My job is very tiring, do I have to take sick leave or maternity leave?

You should not have to take sick leave if you are well enough to go to work. Taking sick leave unnecessarily can reduce your maternity pay (if you receive SSP) or can trigger your maternity leave early (from 36weeks). You are entitled to health and safety protection during your pregnancy. Your employer should look at whether there are any risks to your health and safety, for example, standing for long periods. Your employer has a duty to make reasonable
adjustments to your job and to alter your working conditions or hoursof work. If there is still a risk to your health and safety your employer must offer you suitable alternative work or suspend you on full pay. For more information, see Health and safety during pregnancy and on return to work.

Can I work up to the birth of my baby?

Yes, it is up to you to choose when you wish to start your maternity leave. You can work up to the birth and your employer must continue to monitor any health and safety risks at work up to the birth. If you are off sick with a pregnancy-related illness or suspended on health and safety grounds in the last 4 weeks your employer can start your maternity leave.

Your colleagues are wrong and the law is what is stated above - if they cant find you suitable alternative work you could be suspended on full pay, or you could have your sick leave until maternity leave starts. The cant make you start maternity leave at 29 weeks. The laws are there to protect your rights as a pregnant woman and they may not be fully aware of them or are interpreting them wrongly.

BabyRoger Sat 16-Mar-13 13:29:49

Speak to your unison rep and hr on Monday. I'm sure you'll find they say they cannot start your leave until 4 weeks before due date. The law is clear about this.

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