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Is this weird - work colleague had baby but not allowed to tell anyone?

(132 Posts)
coffeelover3 Wed 25-Nov-20 15:45:55

So my colleague left last week to have a baby - I say left, as there was no 'going away' present or card for her, because, according to our manager, she wasn't on maternity yet - she took 2 weeks holiday before her official maternity leave starts... I felt bad at the last teams meeting, and she privately said to me she felt disappointed there was no 'going away', I know she meant IRL, but I felt bad there was no online card or collection or anything at all. So at the end of last week manager sent round an email to about 50 people, our department, and any others she might have friends in, with an online card and collection, but said she wouldn't be collecting it until 7 December as that is when she officialy starts 'mat leave'.

So roll on and yesterday I got a text from her, (pregnant colleague) saying she had had the baby yesterday, it was a girl, blah blah, so I sent a text congratulating her. I mentioned it to manager today and she hadn't heard. I said to her should "we" or "her" change the card/collection to be sooner, and telling everyone she had had a baby girl etc, but she said no, that she wasn't "allowed" to tell anyone as colleague is on ANNUAL leave not MATERNITY leave.

I never heard of this before - I already told another colleague on our team - I didn't think it was a secret...?

I'm also slightly embarrassed that we're not doing anything until 7th December. I feel like we should send flowers at least, in the next few days.


OP’s posts: |
Angeldust747 Wed 25-Nov-20 15:48:11

That sounds absolutely ridiculous, YANBU

RunningWaterfall Wed 25-Nov-20 15:49:02

Yes, that’s weird. I agree - I’d send flowers and a card sooner than 7 December.

Also, I thought maternity leave automatically started once baby was here...

Saz12 Wed 25-Nov-20 15:49:23

I assume manager means what colleague gets up to on holiday isn’t anyone’s business so she’s not really meant to share news of birth yet?

Though it does seem odd.

1990shopefulftm Wed 25-Nov-20 15:49:53

Mat leave automatically kicks in once the baby is born I thought so what your manager says isn't right.

User27aw Wed 25-Nov-20 15:50:03

That's very weird behaviour from your manager. Anyway i thought if you had your baby early the your maternity leave starts the day the baby is born. That's what happened with mine.

LouHotel Wed 25-Nov-20 15:50:20

Your managers response is a bit clunky but maybe she cant do anything because the new mum hasn't officially told work shes had the baby, if which if she does then her annual leave stops and she immediately goes on to maternity leave.

This may be your Managers clunky way of protecting her time off.

Twizbe Wed 25-Nov-20 15:50:22

The moment her baby came her maternity leave started.

Check that your colleague is happy to share the news and then sort out the collection sooner

JoJoSM2 Wed 25-Nov-20 15:50:25

I thought maternity leave kicks in when a baby is born anyway? It’s all a bit weird.

MedusasBadHairDay Wed 25-Nov-20 15:50:45

That's really weird, does the manager not get on with the colleague?

PTW1234 Wed 25-Nov-20 15:51:12

I can understand manager not wanting to share information she hasn’t heard first hand, eg hasn’t been told by colleague of the birth direct

But the rest is batshit!! Are they usually a stickler for “rules” (even fabricated ones)

KrisAkabusi Wed 25-Nov-20 15:51:36

GDPR. Having a baby is medical information, so I assume that's why your manager says it's not allowed to be discussed.

coffeelover3 Wed 25-Nov-20 15:51:54

yeah I know it happened to me, I was on leave when I had ds and mat leave started the day I had him I think. I just think it's weird for people to be signing the card and they are all saying 'good luck' and stuff like that, when she's already had the baby...???!!! And it's another 2 weeks before it's even being 'closed' IUKWIM.

OP’s posts: |
iwantavuvezela Wed 25-Nov-20 15:52:11

Well you can presumably have a baby on annual leave - was she meant to cross her legs until her maternity leave started and then “let” the baby out!

Fedupalways Wed 25-Nov-20 15:52:33


Mat leave automatically kicks in once the baby is born I thought so what your manager says isn't right.

No it doesn't... I was still on AL when I had my DC

HotSince63 Wed 25-Nov-20 15:52:55

I would cut the manager out and arrange a card, flowers and a collection for your friend/colleague.

You don't need your managers permission to do that.

Fedupalways Wed 25-Nov-20 15:52:57

And ML started after

liveitwell Wed 25-Nov-20 15:53:20

Your manager is 100% wrong. Maternity leave starts the date you have the baby so she isn't on annual leave anymore.

I would reply saying "from experience, Maternity leave kicks in from the date you have your baby. So I think someone needs to inform HR. What shall we do about her collection?"

Your manager sounds like a knob.

BecomeStronger Wed 25-Nov-20 15:54:41

Is it possible boss is misguidedly trying to do colleague a favour? If when she "left" she planned to use holiday for the first couple of weeks, her maternity leave needs to start the day the baby is born so by pretending she doesn't know baby has arrived, she can avoid making it official iyswim

maxelly Wed 25-Nov-20 15:54:41

What the hell, that's really weird. Aside from anything else, if she's had the baby she is (by law, there is no choice on either side) on maternity leave not annual leave anyway, as if that made any difference - there are no rules whatsoever of course about when you can do a collection/sign a card/congratulate someone, regardless of what kind of leave they are on confused.

The only thing I can think of is that there's some kind of medical/personal/emotional reason why your colleague has asked for people to hold off sending cards, presents or congratulations messages for a while, and your manager just doesn't want to say or explain as it's private? Possibly if there were expected to be some health issues with her or the baby at or soon after birth your colleague might have asked people to wait, if you or your baby was seriously ill you might not want a flood of stuff coming in? Or in some cultures it's considered deeply unlucky to 'recognise' or give things to the baby until a certain time after the birth (possibly to do with infant mortality being very high historically) so again better to wait? If one of these apply it does seem weird your colleague would have told your manager and not you if you are good friends but who knows what goes on? Or maybe your manager has experienced something like this herself and is projecting onto your colleague?

Either way I guess if there is a definite plan to do something (flowers, card or whatever) in a few weeks then I'd just send your own congratulations privately to her for now and then also join in the officially sanctioned celebration later??

Oregano20 Wed 25-Nov-20 15:55:01

It's weird. So what if she left on a/l not mat leave, this is pretty common.

They should of given her the gifts on her last day

coffeelover3 Wed 25-Nov-20 15:55:27

maybe my colleague told me so I could 'pass the word' though, and tbh I don't see how manager can be 'protecting' her annual leave as surely the baby's date of birth won't be a secret to HR??

I haven't told anyone else, except manager and one other colleague, but I'm thinking my friend-colleague might be wondering why nobody from work has congratulated her - well maybe not today, but in the next couple of days?

When I had my dc work always sent a bouquet in the first couple of days, I thought that was what we would do, I never heard 'protecting' annual leave before,

OP’s posts: |
nosswith Wed 25-Nov-20 15:56:09

Presumably not allowed to say 'Happy Christmas' before December 25th either?

HotSince63 Wed 25-Nov-20 15:56:52

The only thing I can think of is that there's some kind of medical/personal/emotional reason why your colleague has asked for people to hold off sending cards, presents or congratulations messages for a while

But that's not the case because the colleague expressed to the OP that she was disappointed that there was no 'going away' thing arranged.

WhereverIGoddamnLike Wed 25-Nov-20 15:57:09

Your manager sounds really odd. This is such a strange way for them to behave.

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