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Advice re resigning after maternity leave and paying money back

(42 Posts)
DrinkingCocktailsInTheSunshine Wed 04-Jan-17 16:32:46

I've recently found out that I am pregnant again, despite currently being on maternity leave. My company has given me an enhanced pay but I won't be be returning to work now after my second lot of maternity leave ends (childcare costs don't make it feasible). I need to return to work for three months or else I have to pay back all of the enhanced pay. However, I will have three months of annual leave and bank holidays to take when I return. Will this count as being back at work so effectively mean I don't have to pay anything back whilst not actually physically returning to the office?

minipie Wed 04-Jan-17 17:10:17

Depends on the exact wording I think - can you type out the clause in the contract/policy which talks about repaying if you're not back for 3 months?

GrumpySausage Wed 04-Jan-17 17:11:54

My company asks for you to return for a month but does allow you to use your annual leave etc.
However as PP said I'd check your maternity policy. The wording might be very specific.

minipie Wed 04-Jan-17 17:48:00

Mine says return for 6 months but you can't give notice until the end of the 6 months, and it's a 3 month notice period, so in fact it's a return for 9 months.

DrinkingCocktailsInTheSunshine Wed 04-Jan-17 18:16:02

The exact wording is:

All payments made by the company which exceed SMP are conditional upon the employee returning to work for a minimum of three months. If she does not return to work for a period of at least three months she will be required to refund all gross payments made in excess of those provided for by statue.

DrinkingCocktailsInTheSunshine Thu 05-Jan-17 19:22:45

Does anyone know for certain?

minipie Thu 05-Jan-17 19:44:32

I believe that annual leave time should be counted as returning to work (as you will return to full pay etc at that point) but I don't know for certain sorry.

minipie Thu 05-Jan-17 19:46:18

this govt advice page says "You are also counted as back at work if you are on annual leave or sick leave."

Newtssuitcase Thu 05-Jan-17 19:47:51

How do you have three months of annual leave to take?

But yes technically you are back at work if you are on leave.

Shadow1986 Thu 05-Jan-17 19:51:55

I worked for the civil service. My terms were that I had to return to work for 6 weeks. But I had accrued this in holiday and bank When I resigned, I had to return to work but took the whole 6 weeks off!!

My work were quite strict on how many holidays you could carry over so my only thought would be, would you definitely have acrued enough holiday?

DrinkingCocktailsInTheSunshine Thu 05-Jan-17 20:01:15

New I get 30 days per year of annual leave. I had 10 days (plus over a day of flexi) when my maternity leave began. I then accured 30 days during my first lot of maternity leave and another eight days for bank holidays. I will then accure another 30 days, plus eight for my second maternity leave. In total it is 86 days of you include the bank holidays.

It's only because I am taking two lots of maternity leave back to back that I will have the annual leave.

DrinkingCocktailsInTheSunshine Thu 05-Jan-17 20:01:49

Thanks for the link mini and I will have a read.

Newtssuitcase Fri 06-Jan-17 08:40:18

so you took two complete years off work back to back with no break whatsoever?

empirerecordsrocked Fri 06-Jan-17 08:42:20

I'm fairly sure you wouldn't get enhanced at my company for the second Mat leave if it went back to back - might be worth double checking that clause.

flowery Fri 06-Jan-17 09:53:49

Whether being on annual leave counts as 'returning to work' for the purposes of the terms and conditions of the employers enhanced maternity pay scheme is a matter for them. If they are not clear about this in the terms and conditions of the scheme there are arguments both ways.

But even if they would count being on leave as being back at work, you are relying on them allowing you to take that leave when you want to. You would need to give notice that you are returning to work (or if you intend to take the full year, just continue as if you are returning to work) and put in an annual leave request to take all the leave in one block immediately after your maternity leave finishes. They could refuse that request. As long as they don't prevent you from taking your leave there is no reason they have to allow you to take it on the days you choose.

Lugeeta Fri 06-Jan-17 10:02:15

Are you going back at all after dc1 before the new baby is born? You won't get EMP for a 2nd time if you don't surely?

Check that your annual leave carries over-it's unusual to let it carry over for 2 years.

You might be better going back for the minimum time, the nursery costs can't be more than what you would have to pay back?

mirokarikovo Fri 06-Jan-17 10:07:13

Your employers have no obligation to allow you to take annual leave exactly when you want it. They have to give you the leave but they do not have to agree to you tagging it onto the end of your maternity leave, so you may be obliged to actually return to work or repay the money. Perhaps don't spend the extra, put it in an ISA and then if it turns out you have to return it there is no harm done, and if you are lucky you may have a nice savings pot to keep.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 06-Jan-17 10:08:58

As flowery mentions - they can turn down your AL request. It happened where I used to work (but tbf that particular manager was known to be a bastard). Check your AL policy too - many places only allow a maximum of 2 weeks in any one block.

PetraDelphiki Fri 06-Jan-17 10:14:06

Surely it's worth coping with the childcare cost for 3 months so that you don't have to pay it back (if you can't take it as leave)?

DrinkingCocktailsInTheSunshine Fri 06-Jan-17 10:39:06

I got pregnant so soon after my baby being born that I will get the enhanced pay. My babies will be born so close together that I will qualify because I will earn over the threshold during the qualifying weeks (my employer has confirmed this).

My employer also has a policy of making employees take all their accrued annual leave and bank holidays on the end of maternity leave. It is so that you cannot change your hours to part time and then have many weeks of leave to take. Therefore, I have no choice other than to take maternity leave and then a further 86 days off, plus they will also tell me to take the days already accrued from that holiday year before I am due to physically be in the office.

NapQueen Fri 06-Jan-17 10:41:10

Gosh I know you are well within the legal right to do this but how morally wrong it all is.

DrinkingCocktailsInTheSunshine Fri 06-Jan-17 11:39:47

I fully intended to go back after my first Nap and I have worked there for almost 20 years. My enhanced maternity pay isn't very much but if I say I am not returning I won't get the holiday pay either and I could really do with that money.

mirokarikovo Fri 06-Jan-17 12:25:50

My employer also has a policy of making employees take all their accrued annual leave and bank holidays on the end of maternity leave.

Well that seems pretty cut and dried then. The outstanding question is whether their rule book for how long you need to return to work for in order to keep the extra money refers to days actually in the office performing work vs days when technically in paid employment but on annual leave. That isn't a matter of law but of company policy. They aren't under any obligation to offer this extra money but just need to have a policy that is applied equally to all.

ToastieRoastie Fri 06-Jan-17 12:42:23

How long is your notice period? If it is only a month I would hand it in at the end of your extended leave period, and bear that one months childcare cost (can you ask family or friends to step in, can you partner take leave, etc)

CotswoldStrife Fri 06-Jan-17 12:50:14

Won't you take the holidays of the first period of maternity leave before starting the second?

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