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Maternity Leave and Sick Leave issue (need responses, driving myself mad!)

(15 Posts)
MrsHuxtable Tue 23-Aug-11 14:06:32

I've just come home from the CAB where I got printed off some information about Maternity Allowance and Sick Leave. I know the advisers there are only volunteers (worked there myself in the past), so I'm not expecting that much. I am however disagreeing with something the advisor said to me.

My situation: Have been off work sick due to pregnancy complications for 8 weeks now and will be for a while longer. Due to this, I won't qualify for SMP (only SSP in qualifying period) but will get MA. If the complications won't improve, I will most likely be off sick til I start maternity leave.
Obviously I would like to do this as late as possible so I have more time at home with the baby before I return to work.

This is were the CAB person and I disagree. He says that SSP will automatically switch to MA 11 weeks before the baby is due because I will not be working. I think because I am on sick leave, I still count as employed and therefore can only be made to start MA 4 weeks before the bay is due.

Here are the relevant paragraphs from advisor net:
(13) A woman has some choice as to when MAP starts. The earliest she can start receiving maternity allowance is from the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth. The latest she can start maternity allowance is from the day after the birth.

(14) A woman is treated as working if she is off work due to sickness and has not yet stopped work. However, if a woman is off work sick with a pregnancy-related illness from, and including, the 4th week before the expected week of childbirth, MA begins on the day following the first complete day she was off work sick for that reason in the four-week period.

(16) If a woman is not working at the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth, MA begins at the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth.

So I guess it all comes down to whether I still count as employed when off sick or whether I will count as not working.

I got the feeling CAB guy didn't really get what I was on about as he kept saying, you won't be working but in my opinion, for this purpose, I actually am.

Please!!! Can someone shed some light on this????

Misty9 Tue 23-Aug-11 14:09:52

I'm no expert but I would agree with you - you're counted as employed (but off sick) until 36 weeks, when SMP/MA would kick in due to sickness being preg-related. Why don't you qualify for SMP from your employer? Prob best to talk to the HR dept of your work?

MrsHuxtable Tue 23-Aug-11 14:15:14

Misty,
because I'm only on SSP (£81) during the qualifying period and the threshold you need to earn in that time is £102 a week.

Sargesaweyes Tue 23-Aug-11 14:18:01

I didn't think they could do this until 4 weeks before due date. Have a look on direct gov website for number and call up about your rights. My work told me they could start my maternity when I was off sick with drs note at 30 weeks. Turned out to be rubbish and maternity started today (40 weeks tomo) due to being a primary teacher and it being the holidays.

tigana Tue 23-Aug-11 14:19:55

Where I work (NHS) if I go off sick due to the pregnancy within a few weeks of due date ( can't recall exact) then it turns from sick leave to mat leave, whether I 'want' it to or not. So relates to para (14) of your OP.

Try direct.gov instead?

Misty9 Tue 23-Aug-11 14:32:49

ahh, I see. I work for NHS too and the cut-off is 36wks for sick leave to convert to mat pay - think it's the same wherever you are? Check out what benefits you're entitled to as well...

MrsHuxtable Tue 23-Aug-11 14:40:49

Yeah, that's what I'm thinking, 36wks. It was just the CAB guy that confused me. Tbh, he didn't seem to have a clue. All the information he relies on, is how he interprets what is written in his adviser net. So it's his interpretation against mine grin.

It's all so difficult because I work for a small company and my boss hates me ever since he found out I'm pregnant. He won't be of any help if he can avoid it...

RibenaBerry Tue 23-Aug-11 14:44:11

It is four weeks before the due date, and then only if the reason you are absent is a pregnancy related illness (not, for example, if you caught seasonal flu). You are an employee whilst off sick and still entitled to your holiday accrual too.

TimothyClaypoleLover Tue 23-Aug-11 14:45:24

My firm's policy is that if you are sick in the last 4 weeks before due date they can force you to take early maternity so 36 weeks is the time they will change sick pay into maternity allowance.

RibenaBerry Tue 23-Aug-11 14:48:25

Timothy - yes, that's the earliest they can legally do it.

MrsHuxtable Tue 23-Aug-11 14:50:13

I really have to get a grip on my dates. I'm still entitled to 2 weeks holidays this year, which I couldn't fit in if I stayed of sick the whole 28 weeks I get SSP. I wonder if I can take the holidays in between and then return to sickpay...

MrsHuxtable Tue 23-Aug-11 14:52:51

Btw, my due date is 11th Feb, so SSP wouldn't get me all the way to 36 weeks anyway. But then there is the holiday entitlement from this year. And what happens to the holiday entitlement next year???

Georgimama Tue 23-Aug-11 14:56:26

You're employed but off sick. The CAB man would be right if your employment had actually been terminated at some point but you qualified for MA.

I don't think you can be on annual leave when you're sick, but your employer will have to pay you for any untaken AL entitlement when the holiday year ends (which may be 31st December but some employers run their AL year with financial year). And you will be entitled to paid AL accrued during following AL year if you are still on maternity leave then.

CalmInsomniac Tue 23-Aug-11 16:21:59

Maybe the CAB man is confused because although it is now only at 36 weeks they can switch you to maternity leave if you're off with pregnancy related sickness, it used to be at 29 weeks. This changed sometime in 2007 or 2008 I think, because I knew it was at 36 weeks, having had my DD in 2009, but my SIL wasn't aware of the change and she'd had her DS in 2007.
Does that make any sense? [probably not]

MrsHuxtable Tue 23-Aug-11 16:31:00

CalmInsomniac,
yes, it does make sense and I will just assume from now on that that was the case until I go and speak to them again. I really need to relax about this...

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