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Dd and mat pay

(28 Posts)
kansasmum Wed 24-Feb-16 21:02:01

Dd has just returned to her job after mat leave.
I'll try to briefly summarise and see if anyone can advise:
Dd did NHS apprenticeship and got full time role in non hosp based job at the end.
After 2 years moved to hosp based NHS role.
Gets pregnant ( total shock - was told would never be able to have children) after being in new role a couple of months.
Manager and colleagues generally pretty horrible to Dd from Day 1- things improved after Dd involved HR but very up and down and Dd miserable in job.
Goes in mat leave. No one from work contacts her after her Ds is born etc, but Dd just gets on with being mum etc.
As time to return gets close Dd in tears at prospect of returning to the job, very stressed etc. Another non hosp job comes up. She speaks in confidence to HR who confirm that as long as its with an NHS employer she will not have to repay mat pay when she leaves, counts as continuous service.
So Dd applies and gets new job. Hands in her notice,manager pretty moody about it but Dd expected this and understood.

Manager says Dd will have to repay money. Dd speaks to HR who speak to new employer who confirm they are NHS employer therefore mat pay does not need to be repaid.
Today on dd's last day HR have now said that she should not have been paid Occupational Maternity pay ( OMP) as she didn't have continuous service from other job. So she will need to repay it. She has it in writing from HR that she is entitled to OMP and breaking down how she will be paid.

Dd's new employer have offered " proof" of NHS employer status but HR won't accept this and when Dd asks then what proof they require they refuse to tell her.

Dd phoned me almost hysterical saying she has NO WAY of paying back several thousand pounds. She is not earning a lot and neither does her dh. They've used up their savings while in mat leave with baby stuff etc.
So it would appear they have paid her in error which has only come to light cos she is leaving and now want the money back.
Seems totally unfair to me but wondered legally where she stood. She has served her notice and starts new job on Monday. Obviously this hanging over her will stress her out.

Sorry this is so long - thank you for reading.

Whataboutnodetox Wed 24-Feb-16 21:29:40

Is the issue due to her previous employment, that she hadn't completed X number of weeks before her date of confinement? Her NHS service started how long before she got pregnant? If this is the issue she may well need to repay it but they should come to an agreement with her for how much per week to pay. Is she in s Union?

kansasmum Wed 24-Feb-16 21:36:58

Yes she's going to speak to her union rep tmw. And she thought of contacting ACAS too.
Because she had more than 52 weeks continuous service in the NHS by a certain point in her pregnancy( can't remember what month/week but she met requirement) HR told her she was entitled to OMP.
Now they are saying she wasn't entitled despite the fact that she has it in writing signed by HR person saying she has enough continuous service.
The Head of HR said it was 'unfortunate' but tough luck she'd have to repaysad

kansasmum Wed 24-Feb-16 21:38:27

Will they agree to a small amount per month? IF she is forced to repay. She will struggle to pay more than £50 a month backsad

RandomMess Wed 24-Feb-16 21:45:51

If forced then I would be only offering £5 per month tbh as she just cannot afford to repay it.

I have no idea what happens if HR made a mistake whether they can force her to repay. Hope the union helps sort it out.

kansasmum Wed 24-Feb-16 21:59:27

It just seems unfair that they can move the goalposts at will. They make a mistake and my Dd suddenly owes thousandssad

Yes i will suggest to get she offers a very small monthly amount to them.
Dh has reminded me he knows an employment lawyer ( he checked dh's redundancy package deal last year) so if things don't get sorted we might see what he says. But he is £250 an hour so might wait and see first!!

kansasmum Wed 24-Feb-16 22:02:37

The really annoying thing is I bet they have only realised cos she is leaving. If she had stayed on they would never have looked at her mat pay.
The thing that annoys Dd most is she went and clarified with them before applying for the job! If she'd known this would happen she would have stick at the horrible old job for a while til something else came along.

FuzzyOwl Wed 24-Feb-16 22:13:08

If your DD is a union member, as your posts imply, they will give her free legal advice regarding this and, if they believe she has a valid issue, take the matter further on her behalf.

kansasmum Wed 24-Feb-16 22:16:55

Oh Fuzzy Owl thank you that's very helpful. Yes she is a member of Unison.

Fizrim Wed 24-Feb-16 22:21:14

As Whatabout said, I think it's the move to the hospital-based NHS job that is causing the issue - I suspect it was a new contract and not continuous service from the non-hospital based role. Also, if she doesn't return to work (which is what will happen if the new role is not continuous service) then she may well be liable to repay any additional maternity pay that she received - has she checked her ML policy?

Whataboutnodetox Wed 24-Feb-16 23:23:07

You basically need to have been working in the NHS for 12 months before you are 29 weeks pregnant, so around 5/6 months before getting pregnant. If she was in this job for that period and is intending to go back to the NHS for three months then I can't see how they can expect her to pay it back. If, however she started the job she is now leaving less than that and hadn't been working for them for 52 weeks by the point she was 11 weeks from expected date of birth she wasn't entitled. They will claw the money back from her pay packet. I have worked for the NHS and known quite a few instances of this happening.

If she is leaving this role and not immediately taking up the new one she has three months to start so as not to have a break in service.

ASAS Wed 24-Feb-16 23:35:18

Firstly, congrats on becoming a gran.

Secondly, NHS employee and Unison rep here. I suggest after she meets her own rep tomorrow she submits a copy (keeping original for her records) of the signed doc stating she'll get OMP, plus any other record including her own hand written notes/calendars relating to contact with HR re enquiries about the new post to the board's/trust's Chief Exec (Scotland/reUK respectively) raising this as a formal concern of governance.

Tell her they can whistle for their money.

She'll have accrued annual leave on mat leave, make sure she takes it.

ASAS Wed 24-Feb-16 23:36:27

Also if her timings are correct she IS entitled to OMP.

ASAS Wed 24-Feb-16 23:41:21

Don't let her think about what she can afford to pay back. If she was one of my cases I'd be looking for s grievance pay out for her. They sound like a bunch of swines.

ClaraLane Thu 25-Feb-16 00:11:44

Has she actually gone back to work between end of mat leave and leaving to start her new job? If so, how long was she back for? In our hospital you have to return for 3 months after taking mat leave before you can leave without having to pay it back. Did she take all the annual leave she'd accrued while off on mat leave? If not she may be able to use that to stretch her time with them to whatever their minimum service is following mat leave. Definitely agree she should speak to the union though.

Whataboutnodetox Thu 25-Feb-16 09:27:24

You only have to repay if you don't go back to the NHS within three months, if she is going back to another NHS trust within three months it still counts. They'd have to have a very good reason to say that's not the case.

kansasmum Thu 25-Feb-16 12:09:33

She finished her job yesterday and starts the new one Monday so no break in service. Both jobs are with NHS employers - new one is GP practice who have confirmed they are NHS employer but HR won't accept this despite speaking to their finance manager!
HR told her she DID qualify for OMP due to continuous service for 2 years prior to getting pregnant. Will pass all this info on to Dd. Thank you very much x

Whataboutnodetox Thu 25-Feb-16 12:45:45

Ah, as it is a GP surgery they don't have to adhere to NHS maternity packages therefore I can sort of see where they are coming from. She definitely needs to speak to her Union as she would not have resigned if the HR department hadn't told her she could.

Musicaltheatremum Thu 25-Feb-16 13:40:40

GP surgeries don't have to adhere to the NHS packages but I think it is the former employer (hospital) who is being difficult and wanting money paid back. It used to be in England (not scotland) that GP trainees were paid directly on the practice payroll (the practice then got the money back) but because the Gps were independent contractors any work done with them was not eligible to comply for continuous service.
I do think that has changed now but I think this is why the hospital (health authority) is being difficult. Keep fighting and hope your daughter is happier in her new role.

Fizrim Thu 25-Feb-16 13:49:49

I wouldn't expect to count a GP practice as an NHS employer, although they may use the pay scales and pension scheme, possibly. Did she return at all to the job she took maternity leave from?

Fizrim Thu 25-Feb-16 13:49:57

I wouldn't expect to count a GP practice as an NHS employer, although they may use the pay scales and pension scheme, possibly. Did she return at all to the job she took maternity leave from?

kansasmum Thu 25-Feb-16 14:26:38

The thing is she probably wouldn't have applied for the job if she had asked HR and they had told her it wouldn't count as NHS employer.

There are 2 issues really
A) HR have told her in writing that she IS entitled to OMP but are now saying that was a mistake and she should not have received it so they want it back.

B) Despite the GP practice saying they ARE an NHS employer, HR at current job say they are not and therefore she has to repay her mat pay as she has not returned for 3 months. But when she asked HR about it before applying for job they said as long as was NHS employer it was fine!

Director of Finance has the power to waive the repayment of the mat pay in special circumstances. Dd has said she will speak to her union rep today ( think she only has email details at present) but will consider a grievance complaint to Finance Director if necessary.
Poor Dd is still really upset and worried.

In worst case scenario and she is required to repay it ( about 4K) does anyone know how they get the money back? Will they have to accept a small ( very small) monthly payment until it's paid back or are they likely to try and take her to court for the full amount immediately.
Dd is careful with money but their joint income prior to baby was only about 27K and less now obviously as she is part time. They manage but there is very little spare.
I do feel sorry for her as it seems they are just moving the goalposts unfairly. ( Aware that I am biased towards Dd!)

Whataboutnodetox Thu 25-Feb-16 14:35:49

Why are they saying she wasn't entitled to it in the first place? Why wasn't she eligible?

If they said "if you are going to another NHS employer you don't have to pay it back" that's very different to "you are going to work for XX GP practice, that's fine you won't have to pay it back"

If she isn't working there any more I am not sure how they will claw it back.

kansasmum Thu 25-Feb-16 14:59:40

They are now saying she wasn't entitled to OMP because her previous job in a different GP practice ( where she did her NHS apprenticeship and then they kept her on as f/t employee) doesn't count as continuous service despite saying in writing that it DID. It looks like they've realised they've ballsed up and now just want Dd to pay for their mistake.

Whataboutnodetox Thu 25-Feb-16 15:24:45

Ah, it does sound like they may have made a mistake in paying her then. She needs to get good advice on her reckonable service to see if they are correct. Unfortunately just because it was their mistake doesn't mean she won't have to pay it back. Hopefully her Union will be able to help her negotiate a repayment (or try and argue that she shouldn't pay it back) schedule that is reasonable.

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