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36+7, still working, just found out not getting mat pay! Help!

(27 Posts)
windsurf74 Wed 17-Oct-12 13:30:34

That's it really.

I'm a teacher. I was given a letter first week back in September to say that my contract was being terminated come January. I asked then about mat pay and was told that because I had worked through the qualifying period etc, I would receive 2 weeks full pay and then 12 weeks at half pay - with the remainder being the standard £130 a week. They even sent me out a maternity pack to explain my entitlements.

NOW they are saying that because my contract has been terminated (I was on a temporary fixed contract that kept getting extended) and thus I cannot go back to work for 13 weeks after having the baby, that I'm not entitled to anything other than the standard £130 a week. shock

It's bad enough having my first baby and losing my job!!!! But this has just tipped me over the edge. My husband is on a low wage, takes home only £900 a month. I have literally no idea how the hell we will manage without the 2 weeks full pay and 12 weeks half pay. Our bills alone are £1300 a month, that's before we eat!!!

Can they do this?!

Any legal experts out there?! Help!

abigboydidit Wed 17-Oct-12 13:42:45

Oh that sounds awful. I haven't a clue am afraid but wondered if you had tried posting in the legal section? You could report your own post and ask MN to move it? Good luck!

popsypie Wed 17-Oct-12 13:44:21

I would phone HR and also your union. They will be the experts - good luck.

alison222 Wed 17-Oct-12 13:54:48

I haven't read it all and it will depend on your exact circumstances which you didn't give here, but have you looked at the DWP guide? [ here]] or the way of calculating your pay if your are only paid term time - inland revenue site
then there is this site which says that if you are being terminated on a fixed contract while on maternity leave what your rights are.

I think that they have to pay SMP anyway - but ame not sure of your rights as they depend on specifics, but SMP is 90% of your salary for the first 6 weeks then £130 per week thereafter so I don't know how they got the 2 weeks at full pay then the 12 weeks at half pay.

Ring ACAS for advice

girlgonemild Wed 17-Oct-12 14:02:44

In terms of finances in general. You will get £20 per week child benefit and possibly hundreds per month in child tax credits. DH was on a low income and we had one child and got around £300 per month child tax credits. You might also be eligible for housing benefit one baby arrives again depending on your income.
You can enter what your details will be on here and it will give a good estimate.

Londonmrss Wed 17-Oct-12 14:06:12

Agree- check with union. If you have worked through qualifying period, I don't think they can do it.

I've just started maternity leave. My current fixed-term contract runs from Jan 2012 to Jan 2013. However my company are legally obliged to pay me until next July because that is what smp requires, meaning they have no choice but to extend my contract and ensure there is a job available to me next October. They also have to pay me the 6 weeks at 90% minimum (which is pretty crap, but I wouldn't want to be without it).

terilou87 Wed 17-Oct-12 14:08:42

aww hun.. how awful, i would go to citizens advice, it doesn't seem right that they can do that. have you thought about benefits you may be entitled to, working tax ect you mite be able to top up your o/h wages to help with the bills or at least get a bit of housing/ council tax benefit. the advice alison222 gave is simlar to what i thought, good luck smile

BonaDea Wed 17-Oct-12 14:37:07

Hi there - I'm an employment lawyer.

Have you seen a copy of their actual policy yet? Obviously you are entitled to statutory maternity pay if you meet the qualifying conditions (which is 90% for the first 2 weeks, then SMP for 37 weeks after that), but whether or not you are entitled to their enhanced benefits depends on what their policy says and it might be they are now trying to argue you were never entitled to that.

HOWEVER, the reality is you were told, IN WRITING, that you were entitled to their enhanced benefit. It is extremely shoddy practice for them now to withdraw that at this late stage and possibly unlawful. You could potentially go after them for some sort of breach of contract / misrepresentation claim.

You also potentially have them for treating you less favourably because of your fixed term status which is also unlawful.

I suggest you get on the phone to them asap asking for a a copy of their policy by email TODAY, a full explanation from them as to how this has happened, explaining that you intend to take legal advice and that you have planned your maternity leave and financial commitments around their written representations. You may as well throw in mention of breach of contract and the "Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002"

Good luck and PM me if you want.

BonaDea Wed 17-Oct-12 14:38:39

p.s. my post above should have said 90% for 6 weeks, not two weeks.

p.p.s my assumption is that the 2 weeks 100% and 12 weeks at 50% is their contractual enhanced policy that they offer to their employees, but correct me if I'm wrong.

naturalbaby Wed 17-Oct-12 14:42:01

I was not entitled to mat pay through my employer but got it through the job centre as I had been working and earned enough to qualify. I can't remember the exact details and the paperwork was not fun but I did get paid in the end. Good luck!

windsurf74 Wed 17-Oct-12 14:50:38

Thank you so much for all your replies. thanks

I have contacted HR again today and apparently something has been sent out to me (in writing) in the post to clarify their position. Obviously would make sense to see what that says before I totally lose the plot! The lady who is dealing with it has conveniently gone home early today, and no one else knows where she is up to with this. Hmm!

BonaDea Thank you so much for the info. There was absolutely no mention whatsoever of fixed term temp contracts employees in their maternity information. When I raised this with HR they said it was an 'oversight' ! Your assumption is correct btw about the pay. I may well PM you if that's ok once I get more information through from the HR department? smile

Could really do without this stress at this late stage of pregnancy! Thank you everyone for replying - makes me feel not quite so alone!

BonaDea Wed 17-Oct-12 15:22:41

windsurf - please do feel free to PM me when you have the information and I will try to help. Someone in the HR department has obviously fecked up big time, but I am really not sure why that should mean you lose out. Let's see what they say... If their policy is silent about fixed term employees I don't see how they can justify treating you differently.

Jammother Wed 17-Oct-12 16:55:22

This also happened to me. I was on a temporary contract and my maternity leave was due to start after my contract finished. I explained all this in my meeting with HR was told I would qualify for the full enhanced package. I couldn't believe my luck and made sure I had it in email form exactly what I would receive. I wanted it in writing.

A couple of months before maternity leave, I was called into HR and they said they had made a mistake and I would only get SMP. They were willing to let me go on maternity leave immediately and pay me the 18 weeks at full pay. I said that I would be paid full pay atm anyway as I was at work. They said that they had made a mistake. I just sat there and said it was a good job I had it in writing and that their mistake would make me financially destitute.

This was a university and they extended my contract to give me the full 18 weeks and as there was no appropriate role to which I could return, I didn't have to complete the three month period where I wouldn't have to pay the enhanced package back. I also qualified for holiday pay for the period I was on maternity leave.

But my agreement was in writing and detailed exactly that to which I was entitled. I even asked the HR person with whom I was dealing if this had been agreed with a manager. I don't know where you would stand with just a maternity benefits leaflet.

Indigo8 Wed 17-Oct-12 19:05:40

Windsurf Are you in a union? If so contact them about it too. I wasn't on a temp contract, but when teaching at my last school, they tried to change the maternity policy midway through my pregnancy. I had started in September, they hadn't given me a contract, but I had worked the qualifying week for the maternity pay. They were going to give me the maternity policy when i asked for it, then they conveniently lost it and said it was being rewritten. The NUT solicitors were really good and I eventually got the full teacher's benefits (and didn't have to return there afterwards) based on the fact they were trying to change the maternity policy after I was pregnant. It took a whole year to get it though, which may not help you in the short term. I think these things can be difficult and can go either way, but if you're with a union they can give you free advice/legal help as part of your subscription.

Indigo8 Wed 17-Oct-12 19:08:06

Or contact Bonadea as sounds like she will be v helpful! Sorry just read the rest of the thread!

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 17-Oct-12 21:23:45

Hi there
We have moved this
Hope you can get it sorted out
Best of luck with the impending arrival

RedHelenB Thu 18-Oct-12 07:48:58

Thing is, with the enhanced package you have to go back to work for 26 weeks which obviously you can't or pay the money back. So you would be better off not having the extra money as you may not be able to pay it back. But you WILL get your 26 weeks of SMP or whatever it is nowadays.

BonaDea Thu 18-Oct-12 10:28:33

redhelen that is not necessarily the case. Enhanced packages are contractual and the terms and conditions vary from scheme to scheme - some employers require you to pay them back and some don't (for example, my employer doesn't).

RedHelenB Thu 18-Oct-12 16:53:25

The teachers scheme does though.

PandaNot Thu 18-Oct-12 16:59:34

The teachers scheme isn't always set in stone though. I didn't have a job to go back to after my first maternity leave because they closed the school! I got all my contractual (Burgundy Book) pay and my redundancy money as one giant lump sum when I was 'made redundant' and I didn't have to go back to work.

windsurf74 Mon 22-Oct-12 11:15:35

Right. So I have just spoken to HR on the telephone. Was apparently given incorrect information when I last phoned. The letter has yet to be drafted - it will be sent by the end of today.

However, the short of it is, because I"m on a temporary contract, and the contract finishes in January, I am not entitled to anything other than SMP (ie 6 weeks 90% pay and then the standard £130 odd quid a week). She also mentioned that apparently I'm supposed to have been employed a year by the 11th week before my due date. I miss this by FOUR days!

I'm trying to chill out about this until the letter arrives, as I can't really do anything til I see exactly what is put in writing. It may well be that I have to wait until after the baby is born before I fight this further.

Doesn't help though that I was diagnosed with OC on Friday - seeing the consultant again tomorrow for induction at the end of this week at the latest. I really have enough going on with all this!

Thanks for all the advice/support!

sicutlilium Mon 22-Oct-12 13:02:36

OP sorry to hear about the diagnosis of Obstetric Cholestasis. Have you seen the OC Support website? There is also a facebook group and a helpline if you need someone to talk to - they are knowledgeable and helpful.

windsurf74 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:36:43

Thanks sicutilium, will check it out! The itching is a b*tch!!!

windsurf74 Thu 25-Oct-12 11:08:27

Ok. So I finally have a letter from them. Interestingly, not much mention of my temp contract status.

Focuses on the following:

Unfortunately you do not meet the criteria to qualify for OMP as you commenced employment on 1st Sept 2011 and 11 wks before your EWC is 26th August 2012. Therefore you do not have 1 year complete service at that point.

I actually want to RAGE! The hosp put my due date as the 14.11.11 off the scan, but I have ALWAYS maintained that it should be the 19.11.11 because of my period dates and ermm ummm...ha...I KNOW when she was conceived! If they had listened to me, I WOULD be within 11 weeks of the EWC. I can't believe they're saying because I miss it by 6 days, they won't pay up!

I can't do anything about this...can I?! sad

BobbiFleckmann Thu 25-Oct-12 11:17:24

are those dates on your MATB1? I was in a sort of similar position adn my very kind midwife nudged the due date by 3 days. Ended up 2 weeks over which helped with suspicious HR

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