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NHS, maternity pay and sickness.

(11 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Wed 17-May-17 20:43:32

I'm 26 weeks pregnant, currently signed off sick and it's looking very likely that I am going to be signed off for the remainder of my pregnancy.

In the NHS you can be signed off until you are 36 weeks pregnant but then Maternity leave must start.

However, I have 4 weeks of annual leave that I still have to take, do you know if these 4 weeks can be taken after the sick note runs out at 36 weeks to take me up to 40 weeks until my Maternity kicks in?

I don't know if this is allowed or whether annual leave can't be used in that way when dealing with Maternity sickness?

Just wondered if anyone had been in a similar situation?

nerdsville Wed 17-May-17 22:34:06

Maternity leave will kick in automatically at 36 weeks if you're still signed off with pregnancy related sickness - they won't let you just swap it to holiday, but with some careful date planning (and a willing manager) then you might be able to work round it...

If you agree with your manager/employer now that you will use your 4 weeks holiday from the day before the 36 week rule would kick in (you can check the exact dates on the .gov website with your EWC) and make sure your final fit note ends on the day before your annual leave is due to start, then it should work.

As an example - the 36 week rule would kick in if you were still absent on 1st August, but you have holiday booked from 31st July to 27th August and your mat leave is starting on 28th August. Your last fit note ends on 30th July so you are technically due back at work on 31st July but you've already booked holiday to start on that date so you're not actually due to turn up anyway (so it essentially doesn't matter if you're not fit to physically go in - you're on holiday so no one is going to ask).

The 36 week rule should kick in on 1st August, but you're now not actually off sick on that date, you're already on annual leave so the rule isn't triggered.

The key to this will be to get your dates exactly right so you're already on annual leave and not signed off sick at the point where the rule should be enforced. Happy to work out necessary dates for you if you can confirm the date on your matb1.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 17-May-17 23:11:25

That sounds like a good plan - but will my GP/Managers/HR allow me to do that? It sounds legitimate but also sounds a bit manipulative for my own financial gain?

My EDD is August 20th.

MattAffleck Wed 17-May-17 23:14:08

I'm almost certain your four weeks A/L will get added on to the end of your maternity leave, added to the A/L you'll accrue while on mat leave. You can't take it if you're signed off or on mat leave and HR at my trust wouldn't allow you to lose it.

Spam88 Wed 17-May-17 23:23:20

Unsure about whether you can take it if you're signed off, but as Matt says, it should just be added on to the leave you accrue when you're on leave and you can take it all at the end of your mat leave.

nerdsville Thu 18-May-17 00:49:44

You can definitely carry over the holiday if it's not used before your mat leave so if you were only considering this because you don't want to lose holiday then you don't need to worry about that.

Due to this, you're not actually gaining anything financially by doing what I've suggested above - you'll get to take that holiday after maternity (or get paid for it if you don't go back after maternity) regardless of when your mat leave starts or if you're off sick or whatever so it ultimately makes no difference when you use it.

What they won't let you do is get to 36 weeks still off sick and hit the trigger for automatic mat leave, and then decide you want to use holiday instead as that would be against the mat rules.

If your manager knows you're unlikely to come back to work before mat leave anyway, it's in their interest for you to use up all/as much of your holiday as poss before you go off so that you don't have 50 million days holiday left when you come back next year! You're not coming in anyway so from a staffing point of view it makes no difference to them for this year, but it reduces the amount of holiday they have to accommodate next year.

If you're due 20th Aug (congrats by the way!) then your mat will kick in if you're signed off from Sun 23rd July onwards. If you book holiday starting from Fri 21st July, then you don't have to hand in any fit notes covering after Thurs 20th, so once the trigger date of 23rd July comes around then you're just happily on annual leave and no one's going to ask for a fit note so no automatic mat leave.

If you've got exactly 4 weeks holiday to use then your mat leave would then start on Fri 18th August.

I honestly wouldn't overthink it - just say to your manager that as you've got 4 weeks holiday to use and it doesn't look like you'll be back, you'd like to get your holidays used up before you go on mat leave so that you don't come back next year with 2 years worth of holiday still to use. Don't mention the 36 weeks thing, suggest the dates I've given, see what they say. No harm in asking!

Writerwannabe83 Thu 18-May-17 07:35:40

That's great nerdsville

I would definitely prefer to use up my A/L before baby comes so that I'm not triggering Maternity Pay at 36 weeks - I don't want that to start until as near as possible as baby arriving.

I will speak to my GP then about being signed off until approx week 35 and then use my 4 weeks of A/L to carry me up until 39 weeks and then start my Maternity Pay then.

RedSandYellowSand Thu 18-May-17 07:44:05

Just be careful. If baby comes before your AL has all been used, again Mat leave is triggered - so if you are induced at 37 weeks, you will still have the 3 weeks of AL to deal with.

Writerwannabe83 Thu 18-May-17 07:56:44

I'm not bothered about losing annual leave if the baby arrives early. All I'm trying to avoid doing is starting Maternity at 36 weeks and looking for ways to do it grin

flowery Thu 18-May-17 09:43:32

No harm in asking your manager. It seems to make sense for you to use up your holiday now rather than having to deal with it when you come back, but obviously he/she isn't obliged to agree any holiday request.

Writerwannabe83 Fri 19-May-17 07:30:23

Well the GP signed me off yesterday for the remainder of the pregnancy which is what I was expecting.

I've got to ring my Manager today to let her know so I will tell her my intention is to be signed off until week 35 and then take A/L up to week 39. She's lovely so I'm sure she'll be fine.

Because I've had a lot of time off my maternity payments are already going to be lower than anticipated so hopefully she'll understand that I'm doing it to help myself financially.

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