I'm 8 weeks pregnant and have had morning sickness on and off for the last 3 weeks. I have worked for part of it but also been off 2 times for a week each time (doctors notes) My doctors note is about to run out and I am still feeling sick, I'm going to see the doctor on Wednesday. I'm worried because someone at work has told me that they can make me take my maternity leave early if I'm off sick more than 3 seperate occasions. I worry that if my sickness passes and I go back to work and then it returns again and I have to have more time off I'll be penalised but theres not much I can do about it.
Does anyone know what my rights are and if I can be penalised?
Your colleague has got it wrong sugarplumb. Your employer can start your maternity leave at 36 weeks if you are off sick at that point with a pregnancy-related illness, not before, and the number of occasions makes no difference.
I don't know whether you get full pay during your sickness, but if you don't do be careful. Your maternity pay is worked out based on your average weekly earnings during the 8 week period up to and including the 15th week before your due date. So that would be when you are between 17 and 25 weeks pregnant.
Other than that, don't worry about being off sick if you need to. Might be worth talking to your manager about how you can work round it a bit if you are going to be feeling sick a lot and if you feel you can't go to work when you are feeling like this. Maybe taking lots of holiday during this part of the pregnancy, or seeing if you can work from home a bit, or whatever works for you.