Why am I so confused everytime I speak to HR about my maternity leave?(13 Posts)
When I phone HR I get a slightly different answer depending on who I speak to, even for a simple question like 'If I take a whole year off for my maternity leave then when will I have to return to work?'
But here is the thing. I am trying to work out how long I have to return to work for before I would be entitled to full maternity leave again?
I am a teacher who works for the council.
If you can help I would be really grateful, there are so many variables to this and it is driving me crazy!
If you are on ML for longer than 26 weeks they have no obligation to give you back the same hours/ shifts ect they just have to give you a job.if you return by 26 weeks everything has to be the same as before you left.
Now I could be wrong on this and if I am someone will correct me but I'm pretty sure if you take a year off then once you have returned even if its only a day then everything goes back to your original conditions but what your paid for your next ML may be different if its the same tax year but that's a guess.
Thanks heaps, it is so complicated and it is driving me crazy because there are so many possibilities. Not least because planning something for an, as yet unconceived baby, when we have a beautiful baby here to adore seems ridiculous. But missing out on loads of money for the sake of trying to be a bit organised seems a bit silly too.
The direct.gov.uk website used to have a very useful calculator.
You're effectively still an employee while on maternity leave so you're entitled to go on maternity leave again as soon as you get back!
The reason you are getting different answers is probably because the hr bods are just not entirely familiar with the rules. You should do two things - 1) ask for a copy of the council's maternity policy in writing; and 2) ask for the answer to your particular questions in writing. That should ensure you are all singing from the same hymn sheet as it were.
The problem is that there is a relatively complex (but hardly mind blowing!) legal structure in place then on top of that many employers have their own policies - particularly relating to maternity pay - which sits on top.
As an employee, the legal situation is that you could go on maternity leave again straight away and your right to a year off and the right to return would be protected still. However, your employer's own policy could quite legitimately have rules in it about having to return to work for a certain period or risk having to pay back maternity pay or rules around payments offered if you get pregnant again in a particular time frame (the latter are not common but not unheard of).
That NUT guidance is national only and says at the start it doesn't take into account local arrangements. It sets out the legal framework but don't think it sets out rules around pay etc.
Ask for a copy of your employer's maternity policy, this should tell you. I think it's common for you to need to be back for 3 months to be entitled to full maternity benefits, but you would still get the minimum legal requirement if you were back less than that.
As far as leave (as opposed to pay) is concerned - you are entitled to a full 52 weeks maternity leave regardless of when you came back to work from the last one, you could have two years off back to back if your timings ended up working.
However, as far as statutory minimum maternity pay is concerned during that leave - you only get smp based upon what you earned in (basically) weeks 18-25 of your pregnancy. So if you haven't earned enough in that period (because you were on unpaid maternity leave, for example) you won't be entitled to SMP whilst you are on leave. Your entitlement to Maternity Allowance may also be affected - it's complicated.
What your employer pays by way of contractual maternity pay, and the conditions attached to it, is entirely up to them. You need to ask them for a copy of their policy, or email any questions you've got so it's clear.
We have moved this thread over to our Employment issues topic now.
You don't have to return to work at all to be entitled to full maternity leave, as you remain employed throughout.
What pay you are entitled to if you go on a second maternity leave may depend on
a) how much you are earning during weeks 17 - 25 of the second pregnancy (which will depend whether you are back at work or are still receiving some kind of maternity pay from first maternity leave)
b) what your employer's rules about enhanced maternity pay are, which should be clear in your maternity policy. Have you not seen that?
In terms of your first question about when you have to return to work if you take a year off, er, a year later. Of course as a teacher if your year happens to be up in the middle of a set holiday, you won't physically be at work at that time, but you'll still be 'back'.
The link provided by lougle above seems pretty comprehensive, have you read that?
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