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Sick Leave after maternity

(6 Posts)
gem1jess Mon 13-Jul-09 14:42:26

Hi i am having a dilemma.....i work for the civil service & have been on a/l & maternity since Nov 2007! My 3rd baby was born in Jan 08 & ended up in intensive care,when he was 4 mths old i found out I was 2mths pregnant with my 4th baby!! So my partner, the family & i moved house last yr & she was born dec 2008! So x1 house move & x2 babies in 11mths. I had an aph before having the fourth baby & for the 1st four months was a walking zoombie due to the blood loss. Subsequently I got postnatal depression due to all the upheaval & am still on medication. My dilemma is this.....my paid maternity ends in aug & i cannot afford to take unpaid (as had to rent old house as couldnt sell it & highly mortgaged here!) as I will loose my wftc & ctc. Even if I add my leave on the end I would still have to go back in dec & i really dont want to leave them as I will never get this time again & daughter will only be 8mths in aug.My doctor has advised that I am not really fit to return yet & i have to say i agree with him as i really dont know how i will manage it all. He is prepared to sign me off for sick months, then put my leave on the end & return in april next year. Trouble is i will struggle with guilt. Also not sure if i will get sickpay as coming of maternity? Also my boss is new & doesnt know me, have got a meeting arranged with her & wanted to be totally honest with her. Anyone got any advice or been in the same situation please????

flowerybeanbag Mon 13-Jul-09 14:49:53

In terms of your sick pay you will need to check your contract. The fact that you have been on maternity leave should make no difference but you still need to check what you get.

If you mean your doctor is prepared to sign you off for six months I have to say I find that shocking tbh and unprofessional of him. I know the public sector can be very generous with sick pay but I can't imagine any employer just accepting a 6 month sick note without questioning it. If someone came in to me with a 6 month sick note I'd be sending them straight off to occupational health or another doctor to get a second opinion and to work out how to get you back sooner than that.

Both you and your doctor seem to be just accepting that you are going to be ill for the next 6 months and resigning yourselves to it, rather than trying to get you better as soon as possible! You don't feel up to going back to work now, fine, but how on earth can either you or your doctor say now whether or not you will be fit for work in a few months time?

If you want to change the day you go back from maternity leave you need to give 8 weeks' notice. What date have you arranged to return at the moment?

gem1jess Mon 13-Jul-09 14:54:40

He would do it month by month up until a max of 6mths as hopefully (& he feels i will) be ready to return & weaned off the meds by then. at the mo I still get good & bad days & am shattered!!!I was going to take the full 12mths (nov) but cannot afford to do so with no money coming in!!

gem1jess Mon 13-Jul-09 14:56:33

p.s -my boss is a doctor also!!

flowerybeanbag Mon 13-Jul-09 15:22:45

Well I may be reading this wrongly but you are coming across as though you wanted to take longer off for maternity leave but have decided you can't afford to do so therefore are planning to get signed off sick for as long as possible to extend your paid time off.

Apologies if that's not the case, but I think you have a moral obligation if you are going to be claiming sick pay from your employer, (paid for by the taxpayer) to be doing everything you can to get yourself better and back to work as soon as possible even if it's on reduced hours or something to start with.

You may fully intend to do this, but as I say you are coming across as someone who is hoping to take advantage of a very generous sick pay scheme to get extended time off and has no intention of going back to work sooner than you absolutely have to.

It may be that your employer doesn't take a very proactive approach to sick pay and will just pay you generously for extended periods of time with no consequences or further investigation, but it may not be that easy. I certainly don't think you should make your plans assuming you will just be signed off for six months no problem.

If you are at the moment supposed to be on maternity leave until November, you will need to give 8 weeks' notice that you want to return sooner than that, even if it is to go immediately off sick. If you bring your return date forward so that you can go off sick, and your doctor then decides by September/October that you are in fact much better and are now fit for work, then you will have to go back, you will no longer have the option of even unpaid maternity leave.

Again I personally think that if you are booked off on maternity leave until November, the fact that you don't feel well enough to go back to work yet is irrelevant because you weren't planning to anyway. I think if you are supposed to be on maternity leave until November, morally if you don't want to go back before then anyway you should wait until then, see how you are feeling and if at that point you don't feel up to going back to work, then get yourself signed off sick.

Yes technically you could probably bring forward your return to work date to, say, 8 weeks time, then the week before you are supposed to be back at work, then suddenly decide that actually you are not feeling well enough and get signed off sick instead. I think if you have no intention of going back early, then bringing your return date forward so that you can start claiming sick pay is a bit off.

As I say, I may be misreading or misjudging you, in which case I apologise. As well as having a generous sick pay scheme it's entirely likely that your employer is not as cynical as I am!

gem1jess Tue 14-Jul-09 08:54:22

Yes u are...but no worries I would prop. do the same if I was reading it!!!! Believe me if I felt up to it I would go back, as miss working & the adult interaction!!!Much as I love being at home it does have its downsides. Anyway got to see my boss, so will be total honest with her & go from there, (even if its on reduced hours). Also should I go sick occupational health will become involved, which I would welcome, then they can investigate fully & understand the reasons why. I am someone who has only had x1 month of sick in 6 years (glandular fever) & so they know that I am not the type to go sick unless I have to!!!!

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