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Maternity leave and annual leave... can my company change the start dates?

(22 Posts)
ARV1981 Mon 06-Jul-15 07:29:56

Hi, I don't know if I should post this in employment section too...

Anyway my question is this:

I have three weeks left until my annual leave starts, then three weeks of annual leave, then maternity leave. The company has a policy that I take all my annual leave before my mat leave (fair enough, and suits me) so it can't roll over to the next year.

My manager is utterly useless and even though she's had since March to organize my replacement, interviews were only carried out last week - and the two candidates that passed the first round will need to come in for a second round with the company CEO. Neither candidate can start sooner than the end of August.

My husband keeps telling me that the company can cancel my holiday and that I'll have to work an extra three weeks and lose my entitlement to annual leave... can they do this? Or can they put back my maternity leave so everything gets put back three weeks? (That would put mat leave starting on the due date).

I understand from the ACAS website that employers can cancel annual leave but have to give the same length of notice that is the leave (so in my case, three weeks) - does this mean that unless they say anything today they can't do anything about it and have to let me have my annual leave and I can finish in three weeks as planned? I really can't wait to stop working - the heat and my general massive-ness is making it very difficult and for the last month or so I've been counting down the weeks as I'm so exhausted.

Appleblossom82 Mon 06-Jul-15 07:34:52

I think they may be able to cancel annual leave but not change mat leave.

I dont think they would date to mess you around but if they do you will just have to get yourself signed off!

Appleblossom82 Mon 06-Jul-15 07:35:13


AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 06-Jul-15 11:15:33

I'd keep a paper trail or email trail of this, as they should let you take the annual leave sometime.
Slightly different to you but I gave birth prematurely before I'd taken my annual leave (after being under pressure to stay due to no replacement hired) and lost it. I managed to get it tagged on the end of my maternity leave in the end but it was a whole lot of stress I didn't need. Luckily I had the emails saying 'I have low lying placenta and might have to deliver early, how's it going with hiring' etc

flowery Mon 06-Jul-15 11:29:51

Where is your husband getting the impression that your employer can just cancel your leave and that you'll then lose it altogether?

They can cancel it with notice as you have found, but that doesn't mean you'll lose it. If they don't let you take it they can't take it away from you altogether.

But have they actually said anything to indicate that they plan to cancel it?

lexyloub Mon 06-Jul-15 11:32:53

I think they probably could cancel your annual leave under normal circumstances but it would probably cause more problems for them as all you need to do is go off sick and bring your maternity leave forward also meaning they would owe you for the holidays you've not taken. If they haven't found a suitable replacement in time that's there problem not yours I wouldn't even consider worrying about it. When you walk out that door on your last day I can assure you you won't give work a second thought you've got more important things to concentrate on. Work places are very good at making us feel guilty for leaving I know mine did, I honestly couldn't give a hairy hoot how busy or understaffed they are whilst I'm off the company will still be standing when I get back.

hotcrossbun83 Mon 06-Jul-15 12:13:33

I would honestly be shocked if they even considered canceling your leave, HR are rightfully very wary of messing with pregnant employees. And you wouldn't lose it, they would have to pay you for it or tag it on to the end of your mat leave.

I had a pg employee recently and her replacement quit during the handover week. She offered to work an extra week as long as it could be from home - I told her absolutely not, it was time to concentrate on baby

OhEmGeee Mon 06-Jul-15 12:57:45

I didn't think you could lose, as far as I understand they have to pay you for it. They can't make you change your maternity leave date.

ARV1981 Mon 06-Jul-15 18:35:32

My husband is saying they can cancel my annual leave - I'm saying that would mean I'd lose it as my mat leave then kicks in and it's company policy that annual leave is taken before mat leave starts.

No one has suggested that my annual leave will be withdrawn at work. It's just my husband seems to think they can do it and the useless manager may try it on. But I think the notice period is up now so they can't do it even if they wanted to.

Just got me in a little bit of a panic this morning!

Thank you all for putting my mind at ease.

OhEmGeee Mon 06-Jul-15 19:29:00

Yes but if they cancel it and you then can't take it due to their policy they have to pay you for it.

Junosmum Mon 06-Jul-15 20:15:26

If they cancel your annual leave, and you don't have opportunity to take it then they can't just remove it from your entitlement. Similarly, if you went off sick in the 4 weeks before EDD they must make you take Mat leave from then, so you wouldn't be able to take your leave, but they couldn't just remove your entitlement.

Leave continues to accrue whilst you are on mat leave - regardless of company policy as this is actual law. If you can't comply with company policy (e.g. coz they cancel your leave) they have to allow you to either roll it over or pay you for it.

theaveragebear1983 Mon 06-Jul-15 20:44:25

I don't understand how they can insist you use all your leave so it doesn't roll over- you are allowed to take up to 52 weeks maternity leave, and accrue holiday/annual leave during this time, which you will be owed, and if you take a full year you'd have to roll it over. I don't see how you can use your holiday in the leave period if the entire leave period is your maternity leave. ( eg i am taking a year off on maternity leave, plus my accrued holiday for that period, which i will take at the end of my maternity leave - but it will technically be in the next year's leave period ). I would email someone in HR and ask them to reply in writing to get a paper trail of their responses. Often managers don't actually know because the arrangements are confidential, so unless they've done it themselves or someone has consulted them, they probably haven't got a clue! )

ARV1981 Mon 06-Jul-15 22:33:20

The way it seems to work is I have to take the annual leave for this year before mat leave starts, and can take next year's (what I accrue next year whilst on mat leave) either at the end of my mat leave or during the year like normal.

I think this is the way it works - at least this is what I was told.

ejclementine Mon 06-Jul-15 22:38:12

I know they can decline annual leave when a person is leaving if it doesn't suit the needs of the business (but it must be paid or given at a later date), but I don't think they can retract pre-agreed holiday based on their own inability to organise. What would they do if you had booked a holiday? Paid you your losses too?

ejclementine Mon 06-Jul-15 22:40:48

Your contract should detail holiday allowance. I have to take holiday during the year of maternity (it's a welcome income too). I can't roll it over because the policy is to take holiday in full over each calendar year.

Newtobecomingamum Tue 07-Jul-15 06:47:51

Contact Maternity Action (Google their number) they provide free legal advice and will be able to help.

theaveragebear1983 Tue 07-Jul-15 08:48:56

Ok that makes surely you work out when you want your maternity leave to start (eg. 36 weeks) and count back the number of days holiday you're owed, and then that's the day you leave. If they haven't found a replacement for you, that's their problem unfortunately. It's not your responsibility to hire someone. If you were going on holiday during those 3 weeks of annual leave (like any employee could surely be doing) then they wouldn't say you had to cancel your holiday due to staffing. Just because you're heavily pregnant and presumably staying at home doesn't mean they can take your leave from you.

flowery Tue 07-Jul-15 09:54:36

The law overrides their policy. They can cancel it with enough notice, but they would then have to let you take it (NOT pay you for it, actually take it) at a later date. Their "use it before mat leave" policy wouldn't be able to apply.

Sounds like it won't be an issue though.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Tue 07-Jul-15 11:41:11

flowery sorry to highjack the thread, but do you know where the law stands on holiday and premature birth? My work had a use it or lose it policy but my maternity leave started first. I did get the holiday back but after a lot of discussion and at my manager's discretion, just wondered if this was legal?

flowery Tue 07-Jul-15 12:17:40

Interesting one!

Well, an employer can apply their normal holiday rules but can't deny an employee the opportunity to take their holiday. So if, for example, they have a carry-over rule of no more than a week, but refuse holiday requests so that a woman going on maternity leave doesn't get the opportunity to take it, they should relax their carry-over rule to ensure she gets the opportunity later.

With maternity leave starting earlier than anticipated, which as you can imagine is not uncommon, I suppose it's not the employer denying the opportunity, it's the baby! However it would be a brave employer who said an employee should lose holiday as a result, and I certainly wouldn't advise it.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Tue 07-Jul-15 12:24:14

Thank you flowery
Luckily it was OK in the end, as I think it became clear I was going to go away quietly!

ARV1981 Tue 07-Jul-15 19:26:14

Thank youeveryone.

I think it's going to be ok. Work haven't said anything about cancelling my annual leave, and given that they have to give me three weeks notice, and they haven't got that even if they do I ccan refuse and they can't do anything to me.

To be honest I think I was just getting paranoid about it all as my manager isn't very good at her job (to put it mildly!) And my husband was worried because it is possible for an employer to cancel an employee's annual leave.

I was told when I booked the leave (in APRIL, btw, I haven't left this to last minute!) That if my baby came early they would add my annual leave accrued this year to next year's. But I've given myself 6 weeks before baby arrives (it's like school summer holiday) so baby has a bit of leeway if it does come early... I hope it doesn't!

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