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Maternity Leave if you don't come back?(14 Posts)
I have been scouring the web for hours but don't seem to be able to find an answer to my question, so hoping someone out there has been there/done it.
I am currently employed and 12+5 pregnant. I have been employed for more than five years in the same job. I am thinking about leaving my job at about 37 weeks and not coming back. My due date is late July.
Am I right in thinking that provided I am working in the job 15 weeks prior to due date, I can leave my job and still be paid statutory maternity pay? Or do I have to go through the rigmerol of saying I will come back and then not actually coming back?
I am sure I remember a situation where an ex employee left but received SMP for the full maternity leave period and the company claimed it back from the government?
Any help would be great!
I went off on maternity leave knowing I wouldn't come back but didn't hand in my notice beforehand to keep my options open. I received SMP and my employers enhanced maternity benefits. I put the enhance bit into a savings account as in my job you had to go back for 3 months post mat leave or you had to repay some of you maternity pay.
But you only have to repay the enhanced bit. The 90% for 6 weeks then the remaining statutory weeks is not repayable - in any job. You also accrue annual leave which you are off. So when I decided I wasn't retiring I told my work and the calculated what they owed me for my accrued leave and what I owed them for my repayments. In the end the difference was only £200 and that all I had to repay! It was a managerial level public sector job.
So I wouldn't resign before you leave. It gives you no fall back in case a problem crops up during your leave (DP looses job et ). You can resign part way through.
In many jobs you have to return for 3 months in order not to have to repay the enhanced MP. However half of that you may have accrued as annual leave already, so it's worth considering resigning effective 3 months after the end of mat leave, and getting paid significantly (about 4 months worth) for about 1 month's work. Obviously check details of your own contract etc.
As long as it is just smp it would be payable to you regardless of whether you returned or resigned. If there is the slightest chance you may return don't resign yet as that protects your service for accrued leave, pension etc even if you were to negotiate fewer hours. Bear in mind you would also accrue annual leave while you are employed and keep any perks. You only have to give your contractual notice in advance of your return date to resign.
Once you've met the qualifying requirements for SMP you get it even if you then leave employment (unless you start a new job elsewhere).
Don't resign until a month (or whatever your notice period is) before your year maternity leave is up. Just in case. And you get holiday accrued throughout maternity leave anyway.
Ah, OK thanks all, that is really good to know. Didn't think of the holiday pay.
So just two more follow on questions then (sorry):
1. If I left after I became entitled to SMP (there is no enhanced) but before my maternity leave was due to start, would I still be entitled to maternity pay from the government?; and
2. Does the company still pay into my pension during maternity leave? We have a scheme where the company matches up to 5% of employee contributions, but if I am not contributing, how does that work? (does my contribution have to come from my maternity pay?)
Thanks millions ladies, much appreciated.
Why would you resign before your mat leave starts though? Maternity leave counts as employment so if you resign say, 6 months into your mat leave then you will have accrued 6 months of holiday pay etc. If you resign before your maternity leave then you won't get that holiday allowance as you won't be an employee. You will still get either stat maternity pay or stat maternity allowance (which are the same) - I'm not sure on the rules.
I was very doubtful I would return to my job but I decided to keep my options open and in the end I did go back so I would suggest keeping your options open as you don't know how you will feel in a year.
I don't see any benefit to you of resigning before your baby is born unless you are planning to start a new job when baby is 2 weeks old or something... While you are on maternity leave they can't ask you to do any work from home or anything if you're worried about that? So you spend the 52 weeks at home with your baby, just as you would if you left your job, you would just have more rights in case you decided to go back after all, and also holiday pay etc.
The only difference is if you get enhanced maternity pay but as the others said, just put it aside ready to pay back.
It's more that I am cursed with a horrific boss and none of us ever know when we are going to get the sack if she has a bad day, the wind is in the wrong direction etc...in the past someone has been here one day then an issue escalates and they are gone the next!
I know employment law exists to protect employees from this kind of behaviour, but frankly I don't have the will or strength to fight it if my day comes. There may also be a little bit of wanting to tell her to shove her job as well...and having that conversation that I have dreamed about for so long where I tell her exactly what I think of her behaviour!
But you are all right, it would be cutting off my nose to spite my face to go before - I shall take the long road to satisfaction of rinsing her company for all it is worth before handing in the towel!
A lot can happen in a year. You never know, your horrible boss might leave or change roles by the time you get back. I can't see what you have to lose by keeping your job while you're on maternity.
I believe they're not allowed to pay you any less than SMP, so the company takes over your pension contributions whilst that's all you're being paid. Certainly that was how it worked for me when I dropped down to SMP. Agree it's worth waiting until the end of mat leave before resigning. Of course your nightmare boss could leave (or be asked to!) in the interim.
You can still have that satisfying conversation with your boss at the end of maternity leave!
*"If I left after I became entitled to SMP (there is no enhanced) but before my maternity leave was due to start, would I still be entitled to maternity pay from the government?"8
As I said, once you've met the qualifying criteria for SMP you get it even if you leave employment, sorry was that not clear? And it doesn't come from the government, it comes from your employer (or ex-employer if you've left employment).
Pensions during maternity leave
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