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AIBU to think that paternity leave policy is unfair…

(144 Posts)
Wombat12 Mon 01-Apr-19 17:41:54

I’m currently a full-time student and my DH works full-time. We’d like to start a family after I graduate. I’d have 2-3 months between the end of my course and the start of my job contract (guaranteed) so we’d aim to have the baby in that period/just before (as much as you can ever plan these things!) and our plan was then for me to start working full-time and my DH to take on the role of primary caregiver. So we looked into shared parental leave…

It seems that unless I am working for the required amount prior to my due date (26 weeks in the 66 weeks before earning at least £390 in total across 13 of those weeks) my DH won’t be entitled to any leave beyond the minimum 2 weeks. If I was working I could transfer my leave entitlement to DH. I might be being unreasonable but it seems unfair to me that my DH’s ability to take leave depends on my working status not on his own. If the situation was reversed my leave wouldn’t depend on his working status and I’d not be impressed if it did!

I appreciate this wouldn’t normally be a problem and I could just get a part-time job. However, unfortunately the course I’m studying doesn’t really allow any time for a job and it’s strongly recommended we don't have one, especially in our final year. Any suggestions of possible part-time jobs that would meet the minimum criteria and not be too time intensive really appreciated.

Sorry if I’ve explained this poorly!

Tunnockswafer Mon 01-Apr-19 17:45:10

I’m ignoring most of your post and just remaining gobsmacked that you expect to time the delivery of your as yet unconceived baby to a three month window. shock

PolarBearDisguisedAsAPenguin Mon 01-Apr-19 17:46:34

You need a part time job between weeks 17 and 25 that pays more than the minimum requirement to be entitled to SMP but you need to have started it at least the week before you get pregnant (although you could start off on fewer hours and being paid less as long as you earn the required amount during the qualifying period).

Jessgalinda Mon 01-Apr-19 17:48:38

If you arent working g you wont qualify for SMP either.

This is a shared leave policy.but you arent working so you cant share it.

Paternity leave is different and he will be entitled to that.

NannyRed Mon 01-Apr-19 17:49:12

Honestly, wait until you’re pregnant before you start looking for issues with paternity leave. It could be 6 months, 60 months or anywhere in between before you conceive, and even then you’re not guaranteed anything.

PianoVigilante Mon 01-Apr-19 17:56:10

I’d have 2-3 months between the end of my course and the start of my job contract (guaranteed) so we’d aim to have the baby in that period/just before (as much as you can ever plan these things!)

And you think that your major challenge with this castle in the air is financial? Honestly, OP.

pastabest Mon 01-Apr-19 17:56:30

So much naivety in one post grin

Why not hold off starting a family for a year of so and get some work experience built up and some maternity entitlements?

elliejjtiny Mon 01-Apr-19 18:00:16

I don't think your plan to have a baby within a 3 month window is going to work. We tried that and we have one child born a year later than we planned and one a year earlier. With the shared parental leave it would be your leave that you would be giving dh. If you aren't entitled to leave you can't give it to him.

AlwaysCheddar Mon 01-Apr-19 18:01:48

Oh bless....

sleepylittlebunnies Mon 01-Apr-19 18:02:13

It is unfair yes as if the roles were reversed and you were working full time with DH a full time student you would be entitled to SMP but not sure even then that you could transfer it to him. I’ve not looked into it tbh.

It sounds quite complicated to pull off. Your course doesn’t allow for having a part time job alongside studying. If you manage to get pregnant within the 2-3 month window that is needed what if you have a difficult pregnancy or even really bad morning sickness? Are you going to manage study and work.

It took me 9 months to conceive DC1, was mostly smooth sailing but signed off work from 34 weeks withpre eclampsia. Is there a reason you need to have the baby in that short time span, could you start the job and work first. If you don’t want to inconvenience a new employer you can always tell them you once pregnant that you are planning the legal minimum time off for mat leave before returning.

Cornettoninja Mon 01-Apr-19 18:02:40

I’m another aghast at the idea that you think you can time a pregnancy like that. I mean some women can but I don’t think that’s the average story tbh. I think it would be much wiser to wait and build up maternity rights in the job you’re planning to start and then go ahead with your plan.

I would say you may want to have a plan b,c and just for good measure a d in there somewhere. So much depends on you and the kind of baby you get. I was going to go and work nights but got a clingy non-sleeper that dp just couldn’t deal with overnight (still can’t but that’s another story). I’m sure she would have settled eventually but judging by the two months it took settle her in with the childminder it wasn’t a feat any of us fancied chancing.

Cornettoninja Mon 01-Apr-19 18:03:37

Oh and my dd was almost four weeks over her due date. The little tyrants just don’t run to plan.

Rtmhwales Mon 01-Apr-19 18:06:54

Ignoring the unlikelihood of planning a baby for that window (mine came two months early unexpectedly and there's zero way I would've been able to go back to work as you've planned), I agree.

I've moved back to Canada now and the maternity leave is way more generous. You get 52 weeks - the first fifteen mum has to take, but the remaining 37 are "shared parental leave" as whoever wants to take it can. A few of my friend's husbands have taken six months as it's based on a percentage of your wage and theirs was higher so on a balance it worked out well.

Does your partner not work at all? Not sure if I missed that in the OP.

Wallsbangers Mon 01-Apr-19 18:07:15

Do you know how babies work?

HattieRabbit Mon 01-Apr-19 18:15:00

I don’t think it’s unfair in the slightest, whilst they might not fit with what you want, the guidelines are clearly set out and available for you to base your decisions around.

Shared parental leave is a wonderful step forward for ft working parents and it’s right that rules/requirements are put in place to stop that being abused. You don’t have to like it- but you do have to accept/ get on with it!

As a 26 year old student (about to graduate and TTC) DH and I were in your situation, which is why I took a job with a large multinat during second year and worked my ass off so that I would qualify for all the benefits when DH/ I started a family. (So yeah... it can be done if you plan ahead)

Given that you’ve only just become aware of this I would suggest you either delay starting your family or accept that you’ll have to stay home.

(Which is exactly the decision I would have faced had I not killed muself to hold down the job/degree over the past 2 years)

OneDayillSleep Mon 01-Apr-19 18:15:57

As you are not working you have no maternity leave to share. I don’t see how you’d assume you’d get paid leave when you are unemployed?

I’m finishing a PhD, I’d really like to have another child soon, I can’t though, until I have at least started a job. Wouldn’t it be excellent if I could get pregnant now and get maternity pay one month after I hand in, before I’ve actually started my job. I don’t think that’s going to happen now is it.

BetsyBigNose Mon 01-Apr-19 18:19:18

Oh, you sweet summer child... grin

PCohle Mon 01-Apr-19 18:19:35

Well you have to have something to be able to be able to share it...

So unless you are entitled to paid mat leave your DH can't share it with you. It makes sense to me tbh.

I'm sure you've got the message from previous posters but I don't think this is likely to be the biggest issue with your plan grin

PurpleDaisies Mon 01-Apr-19 18:19:49


AnneLovesGilbert Mon 01-Apr-19 18:21:12

Bless. I’m currently on maternity with a newborn that’s arrived more than 3 years after we started ttc. I wish you much better luck than we’ve had but others are right that you might want to be a bit more realistic about how it could actually work.

Flamingnora123 Mon 01-Apr-19 18:28:23

This seems very optimistic! I absolutely thought I could carry on as normal throughout my first pregnancy, take a week off and crack on. Ha!
If your course leaders think it's a bad idea to have a part time job, it's a much worse idea to have a baby. The first 12 weeks are exhausting, and the last 12 weeks are even more exhausting. So during your final year and later on through exams/coursework you'll be suffering a selection of the following (not an exhaustive list):

Restless legs
Weight gain
Hormonal fluctuations
Did I mention exhaustion??

Enjoy your final year, concentrate on that and have a baby once you're done.

But good luck to you if you pull it off!!

Jessgalinda Mon 01-Apr-19 18:29:46

It is unfair yes as if the roles were reversed and you were working full time with DH a full time student you would be entitled to SMP but not sure even then that you could transfer it to him. I’ve not looked into it tbh.

Yes she would be entitled because she would be working. That's not unfair.

She couldnt share her leave with him if he didn't work. She cant go back full time and her dh get paid SMP to study.

VladmirsPoutine Mon 01-Apr-19 18:32:02

I don't think paternity leave is the most concerning aspect of your post. Good luck grin

You sound absolutely ridiculous.

Sparklesocks Mon 01-Apr-19 18:35:51

You can’t really plan pregnancies to that level of detail, there’s no guarantee you’ll conceive when you want to and then there’s a chance baby will be early or late. Is it not worth a little bit longer so you’re in a battery position?

Sparklesocks Mon 01-Apr-19 18:36:01

*better not battery!

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