Sickness after maternity leave

(5 Posts)
TalkativeDuck Mon 02-Jul-18 19:58:20

I could do with some advice about what to do for the best.

I’m due back in work after maternity leave and am too depressed to return. Several colleagues had babies at the same time as me so will be returning when I am due back. I see from Facebook they are enjoying family life. My baby died in SCBU and after all this time, I am still a mess. As well as everything I have been through, it is also the extra knowledge that I will have to work alongside them and constantly hear about their babies. I don’t think I can do this in a professional environment whilst doing my job.

My employer is not very sympathetic to sickness and whilst I have been there around 12 years and not had any time off sick that wasn’t pregnancy related since 2014, I think they will fire me if I stay off sick. This is assuming my doctor will sign me off.

If I resign, I cannot claim benefits and I don’t think I am well enough to go for another job right now. I also need to pay back my maternity pay if I don’t return for six months. I don’t have this money and I really need some form of an income coming in.

What would you suggest? If I am fired, I think I get a standard reference that would be the same as if I resigned but being dismissed for sickness wouldn’t help me get another job and I don’t want to explain the whole back story to a potential employer about why I was off sick. How quickly could they fire me for being off and if it was after three months, would I still have to pay back all of the enhanced maternity pay (if I leave before three months I have to pay back 100% and after three months but before six months it is 50%). Would they have to give me a payment plan for it? I have two months of holiday to take so would that also count towards time back after maternity pay?

OP’s posts: |
londonfeather Mon 02-Jul-18 20:07:54

So sorry to hear about your baby. I’m not surprised you’re feeling depressed - I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through. I don’t have any practical advice other than to suggest contacting ‘pregnant then screwed’ who are a charity that offer a legal helpline to employees that are having issues with their employer during and after pregnancy. The woman who runs it is amazing and incredibly compassionate and I am sure they would be able to advise you in terms of your legal standing in the situation, if you think that might help.

ClaraLane Mon 02-Jul-18 20:13:11

Oh sweetheart, that sounds awful. From an HR perspective your annual leave will count as part of your six months. Can you get signed off for 4 months then hand in your notice and take your 2 months of leave? Do you work somewhere you could request a transfer to another department/location? Have you looked in your maternity policy to see if it says anything about extenuating circumstances? I know we’ve had a couple of ladies who didn’t return to work for reasons similar to yours and they didn’t have to repay anything due to extenuating circumstances and managers discretion.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Mon 02-Jul-18 20:44:29

Are you receiving treatment for your depression? If not your first port of call is your GP.

TrippingTheVelvet Tue 03-Jul-18 00:01:43

Oh darling. My heart is sore after reading that. You could use whatever annual leave you accrued to delay your return and then go sick if you need. I have never advised someone to not give a shit if they fire you but if they do they're bastards who don't deserve good staff and I don't think a half decent employer in the country would be put off if you gave that as the reason. Whatever happens, put yourself first.

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