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HR Gurus?! How does holiday entitlement accrue whilst on maternity leave??

(15 Posts)
PetraDish Fri 06-Jun-08 21:33:06

I'm confused as to what holiday I should have accrued whilst on maternity leave. I am taking the full 52 weeks maternity leave. I am due back at work end of June.

I usually get 26 days holiday per year, but my maternity leave started roughly half way through the leave year. Our leave year starts on 1st January.

For the latter half of 2007 (the first half of my maternity leave) how much leave should I have accrued? Should it be the pro rata amount for the latter 6 months of 2007? And then how much should I have accrued for the first half of 2008? (I suppose I am basically asking how much I should have accrued under OML and AML, where OML ends just before the beginning of a new leave year, and AML starts just after the beginning of a new leave year... at least I think that's what I'm asking...).

My contract states that normal arrangements for taking and carrying forward annual leave will apply. Under normal annual leave circumstances we can only carry over 5 days leave into a new annual leave year, BUT that must be taken by 31st March or you lose it. (However, I could not take the leave as I was on maternity leave at the time). The contract also states that if the date on which I return means that I am unable to take the annual leave I have accrued (which I don't believe applies to me), I will have the option of either converting the last period of unpaid maternity leave into paid annual leave (if I am taking the full 52 weeks); OR delaying my return to work in order to use up accrued leave (if I am returning before 52 weeks).

I am trying to arrange going back to work and how to take the leave I have accrued. However, they are being cagey about exactly how much leave I have accrued. They also seem to be suggesting that I have to take the leave I have accrued (whatever that may be) BEFORE the end of my 52 weeks, otherwise I will not be entitled to take that leave.

I am not sure if they are incompetent, trying to shaft me, or if I have misunderstood some technicality of the leave accrual and entitlement.

So what should I have accrued, that I am entitled to take during the entirety of my maternity leave?

Does anyone know anything about the finer details of HR policy?!

Hope I've made sense!

detoxdiva Fri 06-Jun-08 21:44:12

Ok, if we assume you accrue 2 days hol for every month of the year, if you went on mat leave in June, you would have accrued 12 days before your leave, and then accrued another 12 days whilst you were off in 2007. In my company, when you are on mat leave and the holiday year ends, then you get paid up whatever you have accrued and haven't taken.

For 2008, again you sound like you accrue 2 days a month, so if you return in June for example, you will have 12 days to take, eiher before return or during the remainder of the year - you will then of course have the rest of the years accrual (another 12 days!)

I would write to your HR/Payroll dept requesting the details of what exactly you accrued last year and didn't take (and will this be paid up), and your position for this year. Good Luck!

SlightlyMadSweet Fri 06-Jun-08 21:48:33

At my place you only accrue holiday whilst you are on paid maternity levave (6m), so you may not accrue holiday for the 2nd half. I think that depends on your contract.

However, I also accrue Bank holidays throughout the whole maternity leave. Don't forget to take this into account as I think this is based on UK policy and isn't company specific.

flowerybeanbag Fri 06-Jun-08 21:54:33

For OML you get whatever you get contractually. For AML you just accrue statutory basic, 24 days if you are full time.

So during your annual leave year 2007 you get your 26 days. How much of that did you take before your mat leave started? Your total number of days you have left to take is however many of your 26 days for 2007 were left, plus statutory basic accrued at 2 days a month for 2008.

You must have the opportunity to take the leave, but just being on maternity leave doesn't mean you didn't have the opportunity to take it and they don't have to let you carry over more than they normally would. I would have been encouraging you to take as much of 2007's entitlement as possible at the beginning of your maternity leave, and then arranging for you to carry over as much as possible as well. I would always always recommend people plan their annual leave well before going on mat leave for this reason.

I don't really get how they can be cagey tbh. They presumably know how many days you took in 2007, so will know how many you had left and should be able to work out how many you will accrue for the rest of your mat leave? They should be just giving you the figure and leaving you to work out when you will take it, presumably at the end of your mat leave or just after it.


flowerybeanbag Fri 06-Jun-08 21:55:48

SMS check your contract, you must now accrue statutory holiday during unpaid mat leave so if they are not allowing that they're breaking the law.

PetraDish Fri 06-Jun-08 21:58:31

I've asked them what I've accrued and they've said 14 days. In total.

Doesn't sound right to me.

On the phone they originally said I had accrued a full leave years entitlement (26 days); then they backtracked and on email said they were in the process of 'changing the policy', and now they say I only have 14 days... and I have to take it before the end of my 52 weeks. They haven't stated the new policy and as far as I can tell it remains the same as I've explained in the email above.

Sounds fishy.

I like them as people... I just think they're incompetent and I want to know my exact entitlement and give them a chance to get their shit in order before... calling in ... the union!

SlightlyMadSweet Fri 06-Jun-08 22:00:55

My last mat leave ended in 2006, and TBH I only took 6m paid leave so I accrued all the time I was entitled to.

I may have misread the policy or I may be thinking back 7yrs to when I had DTDs.

PetraDish Fri 06-Jun-08 22:09:06

I took all the leave I already accrued up to going on mat leave before my mat leave started. At that point I hadn't thought what would happen to the leave that accrued whilst I was actually ON mat leave. And I wasn't prompted to think about it. To be honest, at the time, I had other things on my mind... like having a baby!

I actually think they're incompetent.

It's the carry over from 2007 to 2008 I don't understand. Even if I have accrued leave in 2007, if my contract says I can't carry it over to a new leave year, is that enforceable legally?

Also, its the issue that even if I have accrued leave, that I have to take it BEFORE the end of my maternity leave. Surely I'm entitled to 52 weeks and to take annual leave before this is in effect forcing me to cut my mat leave short.

flowerybeanbag Fri 06-Jun-08 22:42:31

Petra it is lawful to subject you to the normal holiday leave rules, including carry over. This means that, if you cannot carry holiday over from one year to another, you need to take it at the start of the maternity leave period if your leave will go over a year end as yours has. There's no right to have an exception made to normal holiday rules because you have been on maternity leave.

There is also the issue that the employer is not actually allowed to let you carry over statutory holiday under the working time regulations, which complicates it slightly and means that not allowing employees to carry over more than 5 days isn't just a policy decision.

It's only if you have been prevented from taking your holiday that there is a problem, and it doesn't sound as though anyone prevented you taking it, you didn't request it, and neither did they draw it to your attention that you probably ought to take it.

In terms of how much holiday, assuming you took 13 of your 26 days for 2007 before you went, then you have 13 left for the remainder of 2007 and 2 a month for 2008. So you can work out how many it is, the problem is then getting them to let you take it. I would suggest a good option would be to go 'back' from maternity leave early but be on annual leave instead, being obviously paid full pay.

I think everyone needs to take some responsibility here. Neither you or presumably your line manager when arranging your maternity leave thought about you taking a chunk of annual leave at the beginning, which most people do when planning their leave - apart from anything else to maximise the length of their time off - if you go on mat leave at (say) 36 weeks, but take 3 weeks annual leave at the beginning, then obviously your maternity leave will end later. That doesn't seem to have been part of the discussion between you and your manager. When HR were notified of your dates, if they were on the ball and not too busy you would hope they would raise an eyebrow at the lack of holiday and drop a line or give you a ring to make sure you didn't want to take some of it before your leave, as you might end up losing it.

But I don't think that their failure to chase you up is incompentence on their part. Not saying they are not incompetent, but details like maternity leave dates, if it's not done online anyway, will be processed by an administrator I expect, depending on the type of organisation you work for. Thinking about the dates they are processing and the implications of those dates, may well not be something that is expected of them, I don't know.

So I think there is responsibility all round, and your best bet is to work it out for yourself, (with our help as you have done), speak to your line manager and explain the problem, get him/her onside, come up with a proposed solution to present jointly to HR and get it sorted that way.

2mammabear Mon 16-Jun-08 12:40:48

hi, I've just seen this and it's the same situation as myself (having a look to see if I can find some more info for my situation), but here's what I've got for holidays (so hope it helps)
If your company would only let you take "accrued" holidays before you went on mat leave - your entitled to carry over your whole entitlement to the follwoing year ONLY (2008)
your entitlement is as follows -
Jan - June 6 months x 2.16 = 13 days
July - Dec OML 6 months x 2.16 = 13 days
4 bank holidays (may & dec) = 4 days
Jan - June 08 AML 6 months @ statuatory minimum = 12 days
July - Dec 08 return to work normal holidays apply = 13 days
your total entitlement is 55 days(TAKE OFF THE HOLIDAYS YOU TOOK BEFORE GOING OFF ON MAT LEAVE) and you are left with your entitlement
If you have any problems refer to the below case
Land Brandenburg v Sass ECJ 2005
the land mark case decided our maternity leave rights - if in doubt check you house insurance policy to see if you have legal cover (if you have contact your legal team and they will advise) if not contact acas who will confirm your holiday entitlement.
Don't fear challenging your work - this is your holiday entitlement and your money!!
My multimillion pound company tried to do it to me and by stating the law they've given me my entitlement (begrudingly) from May 07 - Dec 08 is 38 days - I've got written confirmation that I will be paid for any holidays that I'm unable to take this year (I offered a compromise as I only work 3 days a week this year and I'd have to take 11 weeks off in 6 months!!)
I hope this helps

cisco Thu 30-Oct-08 16:03:37

I am due on 4th Jan 2009 (hence unable to take any holiday prior to start of MAT leave) - I have already taken all my holiday entitlement up to the end of 2008 (holiday entitlement runs from 01/01/ to 31/12 at my company). If I want to take 52 weeks MAT leave I have been told I will be unable to carry over any holiday (as per company policy and WTD) or Bank Holiday. The only thing they have offered me is to cut my MAT leave short so that I can take it before the end of 2009 - I think this is outrageous and am very annoyed. Essentially I am missing out on 25 extra paid holidays and 8 days of accrued Bank HOlidays which I would have liked to tag on to the end of MAT leave (meaning you actually end up with almost 14 months off rather than 12). I feel hard done by as if my baby were due at the beginning of Feb or March say I would be able to take the full 13-14 months so I feel like I am being discriminated against just because of the birth day of my baby. which you obvioulsy have very little control over.

cisco Thu 30-Oct-08 16:07:42

I am struggling to find out the definitive legal view on this issue before I take action - can anyone help me or point me in the right direction please? I have tried the ACAS Helpline (provided by DirectGov) but even they are unsure...

flowerybeanbag Thu 30-Oct-08 16:08:10

I'm confused as to why that's outrageous cisco? What it means is that instead of not being paid for the last part of your 52 weeks maternity leave, you'd be paid instead. Is it just because you want to take as long as possible off, longer than a year?

It's tricky I know, but they can't allow you to carry it all over, as you've been informed, so what they've offered is the best they can do, and sounds ok to me tbh.

flowerybeanbag Thu 30-Oct-08 16:08:43

If you want more time off, why don't you take some unpaid parental leave to extend it a bit?

LoveBeingAMummy Fri 31-Oct-08 06:30:56

Cisco - Another idea would be unpaid leave, eg career break?

Pretra - Whilst some things are protected under law, some things are still down to the company and what they are able to do. Are you in the union? You don't say what size your company is some have HR depts staff can talk too.

I would suggest that the company needs to sort this out in a better way in futre. For example, where I work you complete a proforma before leaving stating when you would like to take yourannual leave. I took may last week of 2007 half way through feb 08 then went on mat leave, gave birth on march 19th and 'return' from mat leave three quarters through nov and start my holiday and return to work on jan 2nd, carrying over 1 week which will be taken in the last week of feb, following my re-hab hours back into work.grin

Do you get re-hab hours? maybe they would be willing to give you 1-2 days a week off for this holiday when you return?

The best thing to do is to put into writing what you want and await a reply and then deal with it. hth

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