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Policies changing while I'm on maternity leave?

(15 Posts)
puglife15 Mon 13-Jun-16 17:14:51

Just wondered if anyone knows the legal implications of policies changing on mat leave - e.g. childcare vouchers are no longer paid during mat leave by the employer. Can they change this for people already on mat leave? The recent court case on this issue I imagine has led to lots of companies now stopping paying it...

Julieb85 Mon 13-Jun-16 20:10:13

At the moment it's a very risky change for employers to make based on one case study. Also the details of the case are somewhat interesting - it's wasn't a straight forward case. In most cases employer can just change it without notice unless it's documented in your contract. I wouldn't worry too much though as all legal guidance is steering employers not to make any changes until there are more cases/legislative changes from govt.

puglife15 Mon 13-Jun-16 21:47:40

Thanks for that reply Julie. To my knowledge there's nothing in my contract either way and nothing in writing saying it's one way or the other but I know they've typically paid it previously but now aren't. If you could point me in the direction of any legal guidance or info on govt legislation since this recent case that would be really helpful as I can't seem to find anything decent through Googling and I think it's worth challenging if it still is the HMRC guideline (and my employer says it's "family friendly"...).

user1466199170 Mon 20-Jun-16 18:26:03

Hi Pug. I'm having the same problem too. Did you get anywhere with your employer?

puglife15 Mon 20-Jun-16 20:10:30

Not really. They said HMRC are planning to change their guidance as of last month, i complained that HMRC haven't actually put it in their guidance yet and they could have at least informed me of any changes made while I was on leave, they're basically giving me one months free vouchers as way of an apology/period of grace. Better than nothing but ultimately I'll be over £1000 worse off which is a lot on our tight budget. It's difficult because even though it was the official guidance and standard practice I don't feel entitled to the vouchers so didn't put up a fight.

user1466199170 Mon 20-Jun-16 20:57:09

I've had the same from my employer, they said HMRC had changed their guidance but they haven't. The HMRC website still says they have to be paid. I think HMRC might be reviewing their guidance but who knows how long that will take. They might decide we're entitled to SMP at the pre-sacrifice rate if we're not entitled to the vouchers during maternity leave. I know what you mean about not feeling entitled but my employer told me I would get them throughout maternity and I've planned for that, now this has come out of the blue and I'm stuffed.

Have you read this? There's loads of employment specialists online saying the tribunal judgment is wrong.

puglife15 Mon 20-Jun-16 21:00:54

All I've read is a statement from HMRC saying they are intending to change their guidance to reflect that CVs are not a non cash benefit.

When they will actually change it I don't know. I kind of expected my employer to wait until they actually changed it, they claim to be family friendly etc...

puglife15 Mon 20-Jun-16 21:02:09

That's a really good point re smp at pre sacrifice rate, that cost me a few hundred.

user1466199170 Mon 20-Jun-16 21:04:30

user1466199170 Mon 20-Jun-16 21:06:43

Do you know where I can find that statement form HMRC? I've not seen it.

By paying SMP at he lower rate it feels like eyre having it all ways. Plus they pay less NI too based on it being a non cash benefit.

puglife15 Mon 20-Jun-16 21:36:17

Littlegoat123 Thu 23-Jun-16 22:41:11

Genuine question....can I ask why, if you are at home on maternity leave you would need childcare vouchers, would you not be able to care for your other children if you are in the house anyway? Just curious and not meaning to offend

puglife15 Fri 24-Jun-16 04:30:58


Yes I would be able to but I think I would have lost the plot by now! ;)

It allows me some time just with baby and allows my older child some time with friends away from the baby. He loves nursery and is lucky to go to a fantastic one. Also it gives me a chance to have a slightly less hectic few hours and rest, which given I'm getting about 4 hours sleep a night is helpful.

I have quite a high needs, refluxy baby who will only nap on me, and will only tolerate 5-10 minutes at a time on a playmat or in bouncy chair maybe 4 times a day - the rest of the time I'm carrying him and he screams and cries a fair bit. I have no help or family within hundreds of miles and my partner works long hours.

When we are all at home I literally cannot focus on baby at all, my older son constantly demands my attention. I mean constantly, I know it's a new-baby-induced phase as he used to play by himself beautifully, and probably made a lot worse by the fact I'm juggling a crying baby most of the day, but I'm lucky to get 20 seconds without a request or demand.

on these days the baby's basic needs (feeds and nappy change) are met but that's it, and I have to leave him crying much more than I'd like to. Which isn't great. I can get away with it now with a four month old but in a few months it will be harder.

Written an essay there but it's all relevant! Obviously someone with an easier baby who napped in a pram or cot, or slept through the night or had an easy going less demanding older child, or perhaps someone who has family help, might not want or need to use childcare, but I don't know what I'd do without it!

Caramelsalt Fri 24-Jun-16 22:19:22

Ditto to everything pug said (I'm user 1466 by the way).

Also have to keep paying for my sons nursery place as if I pulled him out during maternity leave there'd be no guarantee there would be a space available for him to go back to when I go back to work. Nursery spaces especially decent ones are very hard to come by. If he ended up having to go to another nursery that would be really unsettling for him and something I really want to avoid.

puglife15 Fri 24-Jun-16 22:35:19

Yep that's another really good point Caramel.

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