rights regarding maternity leave on a fixed-term contract

(6 Posts)
spritesoright Fri 30-Aug-13 14:43:59

I am currently on a fixed term contract (18 months) which was meant to finish in November 2014. I have just informed work that I will be on maternity leave from February 2014, which would be a little over halfway through my contract.
I've been informed that should I choose to take maternity leave lasting longer than 8 months (so coming back after November 2014) that I won't have a job to come back to. Admittedly the project I am working on would be finished but I assumed they would be able to find other work for me to do in the department.
I'm a bit shocked. It's not as though they'll be paying me over maternity leave (I will only get SMP). I just wanted a job to come back to after maternity leave instead of having to go through the whole arranging nursery, making applications, attending interviews whilst trying to care for a baby (and toddler as this is my second).
Does anyone know if I'm entitled to the additional work or what my rights are? I am extremely disappointed.

Rockchick1984 Sat 31-Aug-13 07:39:36

If you can prove you would have had a job at that stage without maternity leave, then they have to honour that. Unfortunately however if your project would be finished it would be virtually impossible to prove this so unfortunately you don't have much hope of sorting anything.

If they know you are hardworking, and worth having on the team, can you not just start applying for jobs with them when you are ready to return?

spritesoright Mon 02-Sep-13 14:13:57

Thanks RockChick. The thing is, the post would have been finished at that point because the project I am working on is fixed term and with specifically allocated funding.
I will try to apply for jobs with them on return but to be honest they are few and far between within the department so I doubt anything would come up. I am currently discussing this with my line manager. It looks like I might be able to renegotiate a longer contract if they don't hire maternity cover over the period I'm gone so I'm hoping they can delay the project.
It just seems to unfair that I am under pressure to return from maternity leave asap if I want a job back.

Rockchick1984 Mon 02-Sep-13 14:19:24

But you wouldn't have a job after Nov 14 anyway, so why would you be pressured to return from maternity? Hopefully you can negotiate with them, but if jobs are few and far between then chances are even if you weren't going on maternity leave you would only be working there until the same time.

ArabellaBeaumaris Thu 05-Sep-13 18:33:04

I was recently looking into this. As far as I understand maternity leave doesn't 'pause' a fixed term contract although I had assumed it would. I'm left trying to decide whether to get pregnant on a 2 year fixed term contract smile

chanie44 Fri 06-Sep-13 07:10:54

Employers can pause your fixed term contract during mat leave if they wish. In my experience this isn't always possible.

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