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Paying back maternity pay?

(24 Posts)
theUrbanDryad Mon 02-Jul-07 11:51:56

I'm asking on behalf of a friend. her ds is 11mo, and the company she works for say she has to go back to work when he is 12m, otherwise she will have to pay back the maternity pay she received from them.

i've never heard of this being the case, but then i'm not planning on going back to work!!

her ds is quite poorly, and needs 2 more operations in the next fortnight. could she apply for compassionate leave or would that depend on the benevolence of the company?


Debbiethemum Mon 02-Jul-07 11:56:09

What did she get for Maternity pay?

If it was statuary, then she doesn't have to pay it back. If is was extra some companies do ask for the extra back if you don't return to work.

What about other types of leave as you do accrue annual leave (statuary 4 weeks though) during Maternity leave, also what about parental leave.

lisad123 Mon 02-Jul-07 11:59:50

My company does that too. You get 6 weeks 90% and then 33 weeks smp, neither which is pay backable. however, you can have 12 further weeks at half pay aswell as the smp, but have to pay it back if you dont return.
She should have got some Annual leave on the year off, cant she use that? She shouldnt lose any annual leave when on materity leave.

Good Luck


DominiConnor Mon 02-Jul-07 12:02:21

Does the contract say *how long* she has to return for ?

theUrbanDryad Mon 02-Jul-07 15:45:13

thanks for all your replies. unfortunately, i don't know the answers to your questions, but it seems like this isn't an abnormal thing, which was really what i was asking! unfortunately, it does seem like she'll have to go back, but we'll wait and see.

what's parental leave? how is that different from maternity leave?

Imawurzel Mon 02-Jul-07 15:52:46

parental leave is just for the fathers is'nt it?

MrsBadger Mon 02-Jul-07 15:56:10

yep, my employer does this.

We get 6m at full pay, 3m at stat, then 3m unpaid provided we go back to work for them for at least 3 months when we return.

If we don't go back we have to pay back 6m full pay minus the 6m stat the Govt stumped up during that time.

She will have accrued holiday so it's worth investigating that.

witchandchips Mon 02-Jul-07 15:59:58

no both parents are elegible for 13 weeks off in total during the first five years of a child life. This has to be negotiated with your employer and you can't have more that 4 weeks in any year
If the child is disabled that you can have 18 weeeks
see the direct gov website

Imawurzel Mon 02-Jul-07 16:01:18

ah interesting.
I will get the 6wks 90% the n33 wks smp. Can have another 3 months unpaid if i want to.

DominiConnor Mon 02-Jul-07 17:34:45

The reason I ask about how long she has to go back for, is that I reckon there is a good chance it says "unless the employee returns to work".
I am not a lawyer, but it's worth exploring how long she has to go back for. It might be a very short amount of time.

LIZS Mon 02-Jul-07 17:39:44

It would have to have been stated in the contract before she went on ML that they were making payments over and above SMP subject to her returning. She may be able to go back and resign straight away(ie work her notice period although she may have accrued holdiay to offset) or there may be a specific time clasue. Would n't her AML entitlement only have taken her to 9 months though(became 12 months only in April 2007 iirc) so perhaps she has already used up holiday etc?

LIZS Mon 02-Jul-07 17:40:54

Imawurzel AML is up to 6 months more now but yes , unpaid.

lisad123 Mon 02-Jul-07 18:37:18

both parents get parental leave. I know my company also do a paid family leave type thing in unusual situations. I had to take a week off with dd as she had chicken pox. they paid me as they were aware i could leave her with anyone else and it wasnt just a cold
Hope your friend works it out, i think most people have to go back for 3 months.

flowerybeanbag Wed 04-Jul-07 16:13:11

(first post on Mumsnet, scary!)

It is definitely usual to have to pay back any maternity pay over and above statutory - usually you have to go back for a certain length of time to avoid this.

However, if she can't go back because her ds is unwell, she could apply for parental leave, as has been mentioned, which is unpaid, or ask for compassionate leave or take annual leave. If she does any of those, she is technically 'back' from maternity leave, so she shouldn't then have to pay it back. However the organisation can refuse/delay requests for parental/compassionate/annual leave.

You say she has been told she must go back when her ds is 12 months but didn't mention when (or if) she actually wants to go back - if she just wants to delay it for a few weeks because her ds is ill, it would be v harsh of the organisation to penalise her.

If she wants to delay it for a significant period of time, or not go back at all, not a lot she can do about it.

Imawurzel Thu 05-Jul-07 06:54:45

So let me get this straight, if i use the last month before i'm due back as notice, i will have to pay back all mat pay even though it's smp??
I'll prob go back for 1-2 months if thats the case unless stated somewhere in staff handbook. (which i don't think it says anything about mat leave)

tribpot Thu 05-Jul-07 06:57:22

parental leave

Imawurzel Thu 05-Jul-07 07:07:32

so i dont pay it back.

theUrbanDryad Thu 05-Jul-07 18:06:57

don't have to pay back SMP as far as i know

thanks for all your replies, i'll let her know

SydneyB Mon 09-Jul-07 08:43:21

Sorry to hijack this thread but are there any experts out there who know what happens if you have no employment contract but your employer paid you over and above SMP and then you decide to leave very shortly after coming back? Surely, if there is NOTHING in writing referring to you having to pay anything back if you don't stay for a certain period and you don't have an actual contract, its yours to keep...?

LIZS Mon 09-Jul-07 08:52:16

Sydney I(not an expert btw!) think you are correct, any preconditions regarding payments have to be stated up front , but you should have had something in writing before you went on ML anyway confirming dates and payments. If you have no contract you may only get limited statutory rights though. SMP is not returnable afaik whether you decide to return or not, assuming you qualified for it in the first place. Imawurzel I'm sure you can give notice of non return during ML and not pay back SMP.

SydneyB Mon 09-Jul-07 08:55:08

Thanks LizS. Have always wondered whether in actual fact its legal for my employer to be employing me without a contract but that's another matter. In this instance, if I decide to go though, I guess its them who will wish there was one...

expatinscotland Mon 09-Jul-07 08:57:59

I got paid full whack for a number of weeks and if I didn't go back for at least 3 months, I'd have had to pay back the difference between what they paid me and SMP.

Pretty standard in many employment contracts.

RibenaBerry Tue 10-Jul-07 13:27:24

Syndey, unless there are upfront terms and conditions which state you have to pay it back if you leave, they can't make you (unless you are daft enough to agree to a request to do so when you leave).

However, those terms and conditions don't necessarily have to be in your contract. It would be good enough, for example, if they were set out in the letter which explained your maternity payments or in the policy that explains maternity payments. It would not be good enough if there is a document somewhere which you have never read (provided that's not just because you didn't read it when they gave it to you ).

Actually taking the repayment from other payments due to you is slightly different (e.g. if you have any untaken holiday pay due to you on termination). To make deductions from payments, a written permission has to be in place. If they don't have this, but have sent you a clear letter saying that you need to repay if you leave, they would need to sue you for the money.

BTW, there is no legal obligation to have a contract. But they are legally required to issue you a statment of certain key terms and conditions (which is basically a contract with a different name). Pretty measly penalties for breaking this law though.

SydneyB Tue 10-Jul-07 14:30:40

Ribena - thanks so much for clarifying this. Seems like I wouldn't have to pay it back. I also don't have a statement of key terms. Good to know all this and really appreciate your response.

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