They've given no reason. My guess is that they want to force me to use outstanding AL before maternity leave begins.
There is nothing in any policy about this and the plan (suggested by HR) was to use the leave on my return in the new leave year. I don't accrue leave on the career break. Based on policy I had expected to use this leave at the end of ML.
I'm surprised that they're forcing maternity leave to begin during the break - the policy seems to say that it would begin on the return to my standard contract, less the time since the birth, which is absolutely not a problem for me.
I'm trying to formulate an email as I want it all in writing, but wondered if I was missing something obvious about them being allowed to do this.
Maternity pay is based on pay during the run up to the qualifying week
"To calculate your average weekly earnings your employer will average your gross earnings over a period of at least eight weeks up to and including the last payday before the end of your qualifying week. The qualifying week is the 15th week before the week your baby is due"
So if they want you to use leave so you are on-pay in the qualifying period, they've mucked the dates up.