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Do you have to go back to work after maternity leave to get maternity pay?

(11 Posts)
Catsofa Sat 18-Jan-14 14:44:45

I've been in the same job for 13 years, part-time.

My partner lives in a different city, and we're thinking of ttc.

If I left my current job to find something closer to DP then I guess I'd lose part of my entitlement to maternity pay, is that right?

So would we be better off, at least while we begin trying, with me staying in the job I have length of service in, at least until I get pregnant and start maternity leave?

Would I then absolutely have to return to work in the same job after maternity leave? That would obviously be difficult once I'd spent a year in a different city with my new family, but potentially not impossible for a short time for various reasons.

Is there a certain amount of time you have to stay in your old job again for it to "count" as leave rather than as you having left? And is it ok to basically go back for that amount of time while blatantly planning to resign straight after minimum time, or would I have to really convince my employers that I was planning to go back and stay indefinitely?

What happens if you just leave a job to have a baby?

DP has other kids in the other city so him coming here isn't a long-term option.

PotteringAlong Sat 18-Jan-14 14:50:40

If you get higher rate maternity pay, ie not just smp, you need to work for 13 weeks when you go back otherwise you need to repay your maternity pay.

RicStar Sat 18-Jan-14 14:52:14

SMP you dont have to repay if you dont return. If your employer offers enhanced mat pay then you may have to repay some / all of this if you dont return that depends on the employer. if you leave job in current city & get new job you most likely be entitled to smp (if start new job before concieving) or maternity allowance if new job after conceiving you may not get any enhanced maternity pay your employer offers unless you have worked there e.g. 12 months before getting pregnant (that will depend on employer). Ttc is very uncertain business so unless current maternity pay is awesome I wouldnt base decision on that alone.

Debs75 Sat 18-Jan-14 14:56:07

IIRC you have to go back to your job after mat leave before you can give it up. So you wold come off mat leave go back to work and tell them that week you were handing your notice in.

your're not even pregnant yet so if you gave your job up, got a new one then I think you have to be in that job so long before being entitled to SMP

CrispyCrochet Sat 18-Jan-14 14:57:51

You probably need to read your company's maternity policy as a safe bet. In theory you don't have to go back but as the other poster said you'll need to check your company's policy to be sure.

Would you search for a new job before leaving the current one? If so you could ask for information about other benefits they offer, ie maternity.

IMO it seems like it makes sense to stay at current job while TTC & then once you fall pregnant you can take your maternity leave with no real intention of going back. Then you can use your time off to search for a new job. You don't have to tell your current job about your intentions to return or otherwise until 8 weeks (I think) before you are due to return.

However, there are a lot of "what ifs" and little nuances about your situation that I have no clue about!

sleeplessbunny Sat 18-Jan-14 14:58:45

AFAIK, you can't be made to repay SMP but you do have to have been working in the job when you get pregnant to be entitled to receive it. If your employer gives enhanced maternity pay, they can put their own conditions on it, which may include returning to work for a minimum time or having to have worked a minimum amount of time before conceiving to be entitled.

CrispyCrochet Sat 18-Jan-14 15:00:22

Also, my advice sort of assumes you'd fall pregnant quickly which of course is not guaranteed.

So maybe you should move cities, get new job, get settled, find out about new mat policy THEN start TTC.

RicStar Sat 18-Jan-14 15:04:11

You dont have to come back fron mat leave you can give notice while in mat leave. you only need to be employed about 2 weeks before conceiving to get smp. the only way you wont get smp is if you are pregnant when you take on a job or resign a job / are fired for misconduct (but not made redundant) when pregnant. in those last 3 scenarios you can apply for maternity allowance from govt (which is same as smp without the 6 weeks @90% salary) provided you have 26 weeks work in the 66 weeks before having a baby.

Catsofa Sat 18-Jan-14 20:21:24

Thank you, all this gives me a few sort of "vague plan" options that I just couldn't get my head around before.

I have my contract in front of me but maternity arrangements aren't in it, so I'll have to surreptitiously find and print them at work on Monday and hope to god that no one catches me!

Obviously I would prefer to up sticks and settle somewhere new in a new job with time to accrue full benefits etc before ttc, but unfortunately I'm getting on a bit in fertility terms, so it may well make sense at least at first to stay here, hang on to the job and just see if I happen to get pregnant really quickly.

Will have a rethink in a bit if I don't, especially if living in different cities is making it difficult to DTD enough...

flowery Sun 19-Jan-14 10:57:01

There's an awful lot of misinformation on this thread.

No one here is able to tell you whether you have to return to work to pay back maternity pay. If you get enhanced pay, your employer can put whatever terms they like on it, which may involve returning for a period. These will be in your maternity policy.

You don't have to repay SMP ever.

Once you've met the qualifying requirements for SMP, which include being employed for 26 weeks continuously by the 15th week before your due date, and earning over a certain amount, you can then leave employment for any reason and will still get SMP from that employer. You don't have to stay employed once you've qualified, you still get it.

catsofa Mon 27-Jan-14 01:23:53

Thanks flowery, I didn't expect 100% accuracy from an internet forum anyway so it's ok for me if some of the above is a bit off. I guess what I wanted was just an informal run through of some of the points to consider, rather than full legal explanations which make sure to cover every exact circumstance. This thread has nicely helped me to just get thinking about it all, since there are quite a few other things to consider about my situation anyway.

I obviously need to see my company's policy, I hadn't thought of the fact that I could look for another job while on mat leave, and at the very very beginning of even contemplating any of it this has been really useful.

I promise to get proper advice before doing anything drastic! smile

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