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Extending maternity leave - can I? and what is the best way to approach my manager?

(12 Posts)
Spink Tue 10-Jul-07 18:11:20

I originally agreed 26 weeks off, but now want to extend my mat leave for another couple of months. DS was born before April 07 so I'm only entitled to the first 26 weeks off paid. I have worked long enough with my employer (the NHS) to be able to take another 26 unpaid, but I'm not sure if I had to request this at the start, or if I can ask for it now. My manager can be difficult and was a bit annoyed that I was pregnant anyway, so I'd appreciate advice on how best to bring it up with her. I've looked at the mat policy but can't find anything about asking for an extension to the agreed period of leave..
any ideas??
Ta muchly

daisyandbabybootoo Tue 10-Jul-07 18:18:28

as far as i know you only need to give 28 days notice of your return and your employer should expect you to take your full entitlement unless you tell them otherwise. If you didn't put it in writing then you should be ok. can you check with your hr dept or union rep if you have one?

lots of advice here

daisyandbabybootoo Tue 10-Jul-07 18:21:46

and you don't need to talk to her if you don't want to....you can do it all in writing.

daisyandbabybootoo Tue 10-Jul-07 18:24:17

i should add that i did this 5 years ago with my ds...i had told them i would be back after my oml of 18 weeks (as it was then), but during my leave felt this was too soon, so just told them in writing i had changed my mind and was exercising my right to aml. there was no issue with this at all.

flowerybeanbag Tue 10-Jul-07 18:24:56

daisy is right, your employer should always work on the assumption you will come back on the latest date, i.e. after 52 weeks, and it's only if you want to come back earlier you need to tell them.

People change their minds after having their baby all the time.

Having said that, it would be courteous as you have previously said you will take 26 weeks to drop her a line, just saying you are letting her know that although you originally said you would take 26 weeks, you have now decided you would like to take a further couple of months, and will be back to work on x date.

callmeovercautious Tue 10-Jul-07 18:25:59

Did you agree in writing your return date?
If you did you need to write and let them know you intend to take additional leave.

Basically you need to give them 28 days notice to change an agreed return date. If you have not agreed anything formally you technically don't have to do anything. They should have written to you to tell you your latest date for returning to work (ie 52 weeks). If you want to return before the end of additional leave then you need to write giving 28 days notice, if not just return to work on the date they gave you (ie at the end of 52 weeks).

Make sense? if not let me know.

lemonaid Tue 10-Jul-07 18:29:32

Yes, if you originally told them you'd come back at 26 weeks you just need to give them 28 days' notice of the fact that you want to change your return date (AFAIK if you hadn't originally told them a return date at all you could just stay off for the whole year and only need to give them notice if you wanted to come back before that, but if you've already given them a planned return date at the start of your pregnancy you'll probably need to give them the 28 days' notice that you want to change that now). Do you have 28 days before your planned return date? (I see your DS, who is gorgeous by the way, was born 20 Feb, so you might be cutting it a bit fine)

Spink Tue 10-Jul-07 18:41:49

Thank you ladies!!
lemonaid - my maternity leave started on the 19th Feb (DS was a couple of weeks early!) so I am due back at work on the 3rd Sept (my mat leave ends on the 19th aug but I arranged to take annual leave at the end of it). I did let them know in writing, and then they confirmed, also in writing. My manager made a point at the time of being very clear when I would be back, and pointedly saying 'the sooner the better'.
So, is it right that I am entitled to 52 weeks, and it is a case of informing them that I am changing my mind rather than requesting an extension? I want to know how to word the letter. So far I've stayed on the right side of her, and want to be polite but not bendy over backwards.

lemonaid Tue 10-Jul-07 18:44:58

Yes, put something like "On [date] I informed you that my intended end of maternity leave was [date] and that I would be returning to work on [date]. I am writing to give you the required 28 days' notice that I shall be changing this date and will now be finishing my maternity leave on [date] and returning to work on [date]."

You are not requesting, you are informing (politely informing, but still). They have no say in whether you can or cannot take the additional maternity leave.

Send the letter recorded delivery, though...

daisyandbabybootoo Tue 10-Jul-07 18:47:45

one thing to bear in mind spink is thst there is no statutory right to return to your job after additional maternity leave, but there is the right to return to a job at an equal grade.

lemonaid Tue 10-Jul-07 18:53:58

Up to a point, anyway.

Where it is "not reasonably practicable", for a reason other than redundancy (i.e. your old job still exists), for you to return to your previous job, our yemployer must offer you another job which is "suitable for you and appropriate for you to do in the circumstances". Your terms and conditions must not be less favourable and your seniority and other similar rights must be preserved.

But if it is "reasonably practicable" to allow you to return to your old job but they just don't (e.g. they prefer your maternity cover) and make you take another job, this would be sex discrimination, together with detriment or automatic unfair dismissal. There have been cases on this.

Spink Tue 10-Jul-07 19:12:55

Brilliant. I will send it tomorrow. Thanks again. You are all fab.

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