Can you start a new job on Maternity Leave?

(18 Posts)
LupiPie Thu 02-Aug-18 07:03:18

I'm not due back to my current position until October. It stopped being paid leave last month, so unpaid from nowish to October.

I have been offered a new job, I'm just waiting for a contract before I resign.

When I do resign, my notice period is 4 weeks.

It is to my understanding that I don't have to go back to work for those 4 weeks, I just stay on maternity leave. And, at the end of those 4 weeks, I would be owed whatever holiday I haven't taken.

My question is, is there a way I can start the new job sooner than the 4 weeks having to be up first?

I don't see why not, practically, since my employer won't be seeing me again. I'd just be at home twiddling my thumbs for those 4 weeks and very skint

Does anyone know if I can start the new job during the notice period?

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LupiPie Thu 02-Aug-18 15:50:07


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PotteringAlong Thu 02-Aug-18 15:51:54

You’d have to ask HR. Also check your contract that you don’t have any maternity pay to pay back if you don’t return.

LupiPie Thu 02-Aug-18 15:56:28

The maternity pay I received was Maternity Allowance (government one and not given by work as wasn't there long enough)

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Ohladedah Thu 02-Aug-18 16:05:14

Legally they can hold you to your 4 weeks notice, but it's not really in their interest too do it - only of they want to make a point. If you handle everything with your resignation well, they should agree.

DunesOfSand Thu 02-Aug-18 16:08:41

I think I'd ask to have notice of 0 weeks, allowing you to start the new job.
I think being on the role at 2 places might cause issues, but no idea what, that's a feeling not based on any knowledge.
Congrats on the baby and new job

LupiPie Thu 02-Aug-18 16:09:15

But they can't legally make me work that 4 weeks so what's the point of keeping me off a new job?

I won't be working for them again anyway

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whiskeysourpuss Thu 02-Aug-18 16:17:20

It might be better to discuss this face to face with your employer.

Explain that as you'd be on maternity leave & therefore not in the office anyway you'd like to reduce your notice period to zero. Due to you not being due in the office anyway the reduced notice should have minimal impact on the business & actually could save them money as that's 4 weeks less time for you to accrue holiday & they won't have to pay you for the four week notice period as it's being waived at your request.

LupiPie Thu 02-Aug-18 16:26:43

whiskey I think having a chat is a very good idea

I won't do it because I'm a wimp and much too PC, but what would happen if I just started a new job straight away and didn't tell them?

Would they know?

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Ohladedah Thu 02-Aug-18 16:38:16

Legally you're employed though, so the terms of your employment contract stand, ie 4 wks notice. Being on maternity leave doesn't change your employment status. Most reasonable employers would agree, unless they want to make a point- eg if someone demanded to terminate employment early because it suited them, an employer might say no, simply because of the way they asked.

And no you can't have 2 employment contracts at the same time, if they have the same hours or have a clause preventing it.

I'd hand in your notice, thank them for what they've given you in the time you've been there. I'd say that you know your notice is 4 weeks, but given the circumstances, you'd appreciate it if they would consider ending employment immediately.

Ohladedah Thu 02-Aug-18 16:41:32

If you had 2 jobs/ contracts at the same time, you could be sued for breach of contract. Because you have 2 legal arrangements and couldn't fill both (ie if the both covered the same hours of the day) or if 1 had a clause saying you couldn't do similar work elsewhere at the same time without prior approval, which is a common clause.

NapQueen Thu 02-Aug-18 16:45:08

If you werent there long enough to qualify for mat pay then realistically they cant legally hold you to any notice period longer than one week.

Call them on receipt of contract and say something like "I have accrued 5 days leave whilst on leave so would like to use that as my notice period"

LupiPie Thu 02-Aug-18 16:47:19

Does anyone know how much leave I would've earned roughly?

My entitlement is 27 days.

I went on Maternity in October 2017. Was off sick with pregnancy related illness for a few months before that but didn't take holiday in that time

Took a few days holiday I believe between June and August 2017

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mrs2468 Thu 02-Aug-18 16:56:14

Assume you work full time if you do then rule of thumb is divide your entitlement by 12 months then multiply by how many months you will have been employed by then for then minus what you have taken. Not sure when your holiday year starts but as an example.

27/12 is 2.25 days a month
2.25x7 to end of July is 15.75 days assume your holiday year starts in jan.
May add on bank holidays if entitled to them.

weekfour Thu 02-Aug-18 17:11:00

I have to say that what they don’t know, they don’t know. Ring and say you’ll not be coming back. Don’t mention new job or what you’ll be doing. They’ll probably make you an immediate leaver.

I work in HR and I’ve done this for exactly the circumstances you’ve described.

LupiPie Thu 02-Aug-18 17:11:44

Thank you mrs

I think the best thing to do is hand in my notice, and then request for my resignation to take immediate effect?

Or should I say something like this in my resignation letter...

"Although my notice period is 4 weeks, would it be possible to have no notice period and resign with immediate effect?"

I just thought I'd add that my manager is extremely difficult, and didn't know much about employment law when I was there before going on mat leave.

For example, she didn't know pregnancy related illness wasn't recorded in the same way as normal sickness, and didn't go on sickness records. She also didn't know she must give me time off to attend my antenatal appointment and that I was not required to make the time up

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LupiPie Thu 02-Aug-18 17:12:13

So naturally, I'm worried about complicating things too much.

Our HR department is ridiculously slow.

I work for the NHS

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flowery Thu 02-Aug-18 20:49:34

Lot of misinformation here. It's perfectly possible to be employed by two employers at the same time, and as the OP is not required to be available for work at her current employment during that 4 week period, and can do whatever she wants, the hours of the new job conflicting is irrelevant.

The only issue is if there is a specific clause in her contract restricting her from taking up other employment. Which of course there may be. But OP I can't see any reason why you'd need to reduce your notice period to zero unless there is a clause restricting you, and if there is such a clause, I would suggest you speak to HR and say can you be released from the restriction as it makes no difference anyway.

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