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To ask about maternity leave?

(112 Posts)
Nicebucket Tue 22-Dec-15 03:41:02

I am probably being unreasonable not to know this, but I've been wondering.

I know that UK allows one year maternity leave, but is it possible to take only 3 months or even less? Would employers force somebody to take more? I work in banking btw and literally every woman in my office took the entire year off.

Please no judgement and no patronising comments about how I will change when I have a baby and want to take a longer leave. Just practical, honest answers!

Dolly80 Tue 22-Dec-15 03:55:59

I think you only have to take two weeks off after baby is born and the rest is optional.

For lots of women, it depends on what maternity leave pay they are entitled too etc as to how long they will take. For example, I had a year with my first as I got good company mat leave but have since changed jobs and an only planning to take 8mths with this one when its born.

kate1516 Tue 22-Dec-15 04:04:11

You can go back after two weeks so long as you had no complications. For example if you have a caesaerean you need longer recovery. Three months shouldn't be an issue legally though. Just check your company policy for what notice of your return to work date you need to give. One other minor complication might be childcare. My nursery only takes children older than three months. Not sure if this is common or not but you probably would need to look in to this before you have the baby in case of waiting lists etc.

EasterRobin Tue 22-Dec-15 04:10:37

You need to take 2 weeks off (4 if you work in a factory) and the rest of the 52 weeks is optional and can be shared with/taken by your partner.

It will take you longer than 2 weeks to get back to full strength after the birth though, so bear that in mind for your planning. Three months is a much more reasonable period to consider.

araiba Tue 22-Dec-15 04:10:51

why not read your contract/ staff handbook/ hr policy?

Bodicea Tue 22-Dec-15 04:11:12

Yes minimum is 2 weeks. If you have a section you won't be able to drive for 6 weeks. It is worth taking at least your occupational pay if you qualify for that. For instance I receive 8 weeks full pay before dropping to 8 weeks half pay plus statutory pay which still works out rather good for me.
So if you receive something like that taking 8 weeks at least is a no brainer.

knobblyknee Tue 22-Dec-15 04:24:20

Its better for the baby if you take the year off. Actually its better if the primary carer looks after them for the first three years, because that helps prevent separation anxiety.
Its not unreasonable to take a year. It flies by anyway.

SweepTheHalls Tue 22-Dec-15 05:15:39

No way we could afford for me to take a full year as income plummets. I hardly know anyone who did take the full time 'allowed'.

44PumpLane Tue 22-Dec-15 06:29:22

Yes, minimum required is 2 weeks!

We've been looking at this too- my work is 90% salary for 6 weeks then stay pay thereafter- if I take 9 months off we lose £27k, we absolutely cannot afford that. My husband is newly self employed (within the last couple years) so I don't believe he would receive stat parental leave- so I would have to go back after 8 weeks (6weeks mat, 2 weeks holiday) as we're not in a position to throw away £27k!

44PumpLane Tue 22-Dec-15 06:29:54

*stat pay, not stay pay!

maybebabybee Tue 22-Dec-15 06:33:50

You'd struggle to find childcare for a baby less than three months, that's the only issue.

SaltySeaBird Tue 22-Dec-15 06:41:09

Its better for the baby if you take the year off.

Thanks, but what total rubbish. I didn't have a choice, I took 6 weeks off. My DD survived and I breast fed for a year (combination of boob and pump/bottle after the first 6 weeks).

She seems to have survived and me returning to work early hasn't damaged our bond or given her issues.

confusedandemployed Tue 22-Dec-15 06:44:06

What SaltySeaBird said with bells on.

Oh and I had no problems whatsoever finding a nursery that took DD at 6 weeks (and cared for her wonderfully).

Bearsinmotion Tue 22-Dec-15 06:44:48

DD went to full time nursery at 10 months. She was happy, I was happy, no separation anxiety there hmm

It totally depends on your family. I remember coming back and people saying, "Aww, don't you miss them?". Nope. I see them every morning, every evening and all weekend, and am far more engaged with them then than when I was with them 24/7.

ThatsNotMyHouseItIsTooClean Tue 22-Dec-15 06:47:53

Maternity leave in the US and several other developed countries (Singapore being one) is only 12-16 weeks so YADNBU.
Our nursery takes children from 3 months although prefer to take then from 16w once they have had all jabs. In the five years I have used the nursery, there have probably been two or three babies start at that age. I think they spend a fair portion of the day in a sling but that isn't unusual for a child that age. I have also seen a local cm with DC that age but she only had the baby for a couple of short periods a week to give the mother a break.
I am glad I didn't have to go back at 12w as DD was feeding every two hours, was a bottle refuser etc BUT we could afford it. If we hadn't been able to pay the mortgage etc, I would have been back to work like a shot. With no other source of food, I'm sure DD would have accepted a bottle and she may have also started sleeping a lot better.

delilabell Tue 22-Dec-15 06:50:03

knobbly op specifically asked for no comments like yours.
also you're talking rubbish

LadyDeirdreWaggon Tue 22-Dec-15 06:50:14

I went back when DS was 5m and it was fine. I would have gone back earlier but changed jobs during mat leave. He has an amazing childminder and no separation anxiety whatsoever. I was by myself as DH was deployed abroad until DS was 9m and I coped fine.

Blankiefan Tue 22-Dec-15 06:50:53

SMP is 90% for the first 6 or 8 weeks (sorry - csnt remember which) then about £160ish a week to 9 months. You're as well taking at least six weeks

I went back at 6 months but was ready at 3 - my work paid full salary for 6 months so it seemed silly to go back earlier.

treacledan71 Tue 22-Dec-15 06:53:49

Remember you can claim tax credits too when off. I did not know this until half way through. Thought it was only when went back. My husband was self employed then. . They will go by this years money if eligible as your money drastically reduced. They take off SMP off figure too. Think max to be eligible ia a yearly salary of 26k for a couple with one child at mo.. I found I spent less ie. No travel. Generally spending. Also will your mortgage let you have a break for couple months.

treacledan71 Tue 22-Dec-15 06:55:57

Sorry shld have said may be able to claim tax credits not can

MsMermaid Tue 22-Dec-15 07:03:01

I took a full year with dd1, purely due to timings as I started uni when she was 11.5 months. I was ready to do something a lot earlier than that but didn't have a job to go back to.

With dd2 I took 4 months mat leave but had a few weeks holiday at the end of that (holiday pay being so much more than mat pay). I found a fab childminder, she was brilliant with dd2. I even managed to continue to ebf til 6 months and bf a lot longer than that. Dd2 is now 5 and shows absolutely no I'll effect from being in childcare that early.

FishWithABicycle Tue 22-Dec-15 07:03:38

If it would work for you financially, remember that you can transfer the rights and statutory pay to the baby's father if you go back to work before a year.

ExitStageLeft Tue 22-Dec-15 07:09:48

Ooh Knobbly what a sanctimonious post.

My sister went back to work at 6 weeks with her DD, for absolutely no other reason than she bloody well wanted to. Her daughter and her are FINE and she's a fantastic Mum. DN was also EBF until 6 months, my sister was a pumping legend!

FannyTheChampionOfTheWorld Tue 22-Dec-15 07:11:31

You need to take at least two weeks off after the birth, four if you work in a factory, but it doesn't actually have to be maternity leave. It could be annual leave, or unpaid leave, the key point is that you physically can't be in the workplace. You can do whatever you want if you're self employed.

Maternity pay/leave itself can be split with the baby's father as you wish, except that you have to do the first six weeks yourself. Otherwise the ratios are entirely your choice. It all goes to you by default unless you sign some over though.

If you wanted to take three months then transfer the rest, there's no legal problem with this. If you want to take minimal time out yourself, you'd presumably try and work until late pregnancy, then take whatever time you needed after the birth, then transfer the remainder of the leave at 12 weeks after the birth or whatever.

PotteringAlong Tue 22-Dec-15 07:15:23

As others have said, you have to take 2 weeks, the rest is entirely optional.

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