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Mat leave question - discriminatory policy?

(14 Posts)
TheGreaterGood Tue 16-Feb-16 12:03:37

I've been told at work that I have to take a pro-rata'd amount of holiday prior to my mat leave starting and that I cannot tag holiday onto my mat leave i.e if my holiday entitlement is 30 days a year and my mat leave starts in July, I have to have taken 15 days of holiday in advance of mat leave starting and cannot save it up and add it on to extend my leave.

However, I've been told my other sources that this is not legal and is effectively discriminating against me because I am pregnant i.e. I should be able to take my leave whenever I want (within reason) the same as anyone else.

Anyone had any experience or know what's right? I don't want to create an issue at work but this is important to us since we cannot afford to go away before the baby comes and DH is working every hour to get new business set up so cannot be 'off' with me. Tagging my leave on would make the most sense for us financially.

Thanks wise ones! smile

LBOCS2 Tue 16-Feb-16 12:29:17

Will your maternity leave cross two holiday years? If your company has a policy of not carrying leave forward into the following year, then I doubt it would be discriminatory to say you have to take it in advance of your leave - because it won't be possible for you to take it afterwards.

My company won't accrue holiday into the following year so I've had to take almost a full year's worth before I go off - plus bank holidays which you're entitled to if they're not an ordinary working day.

DrWhy Tue 16-Feb-16 12:33:25

I'm in the situation above, my mat leave will go over year end and I can only carry forward a limited number of days, some of which I'll have accrued during the mat leave. My vague plan at the moment is to use whatever I have left immediately before my mat leave starts and then start official maternity leave at the latest possible moment they'll allow.

AmyLouKin Tue 16-Feb-16 12:33:35

I was allowed to add holiday on to my maternity leave. I chose to add some at the beginning and save some for after I go back, as I don't know what I'll be doing then and may need it!
Not sure if that helps. I guess they could refuse you holiday due to too many other staff being off at the same time. That has happened at my work before! However it sounds like they are saying this is their policy for all people going on maternity, which doesn't sound quite right to me!

PotteringAlong Tue 16-Feb-16 12:39:40

If you're not allowed to carry leave over into another year then they're allowed to say you have to take it or loose it.

TheGreaterGood Tue 16-Feb-16 12:46:15

I'm allowed to take 5 days over into the following holiday year but my issue is that I'm being told that I cannot take my current holiday year leave directly before my mat leave (effectively extending my mat leave period) but that I have to take it in advance...? Seems odd to me - reckon I could take my holiday, come back for 1 day and then start mat leave? grin

strawberrypenguin Tue 16-Feb-16 12:51:36

Don't know why you can't take it directly before mat leave. That's what I'm doing with mine - book ending my mat leave with 'normal' leave.
Do you have an HR department to take it through? Otherwise I'd be tempted to book leave ending a week/few days before mat leave and phone in sick for those couple of days!

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 16-Feb-16 13:06:46

If you tag it on to the beginning, so say three weeks before EDD, with ML to start on EDD, if baby comes early ML kicks in automatically and you lose the holiday. At least that's how it was when I had mine 10 years ago. So there are no guarantees extending like this will work anyway.

LBOCS2 Tue 16-Feb-16 13:37:53

Yep - I've taken 35 days (7 weeks) to take me up to 37 weeks, then I'm starting my maternity leave then. I had enough and could have waited to go until I was 33 weeks and have my mat leave start on my EDD - but my first came at 38+4 so I didn't think risking it was a great idea!

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 16-Feb-16 13:53:47

Also, if you carry over, watch out how long you can carry over for. At my company you could carry over 5 days to the next year, but it wasn't added to your next year's total as such, you had to use it by the end of Feb, so if you were still off then it was lost again.

TheGreaterGood Tue 16-Feb-16 14:03:26

Thanks all - I didn't know the bit about losing your holiday if the baby comes early...will think on. In the meantime it seems they are giving me the runaround about not being able to take holiday immediately before.

WhoKnows - when we carry over the total amount is valid for the full year so no probs there.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 16-Feb-16 14:19:46

My first baby did come 2.5 weeks early, luckily I had used my holiday up by then (due early Feb so I stopped at Christmas when we shut down till Jan 2nd, then one week from the previous year carried over and ML from about 10th Jan, baby born not long after).

So, if I had taken the whole year of ML I would have lost my holiday for that year, but I went back in October and used it to take a day or two off every week until the end of the year, saved a lot on childcare and eased myself back in gradually.

Junosmum Tue 16-Feb-16 17:31:27

The law is clear that you must accrue leave during maternity leave as you would if you were not on mat leave. It is up to the company how you take leave- I worked for a company where you had to take 2 consecutive weeks leave a year, whether you wanted to or not, and my husbands company makes them take 3 days over christmas, my current company do not allow you to take TOIL and annual leave straight after each other. I think being unable to take leave directly before mat leave is rubbish but not discriminatory.

Champagneformyrealfriends Tue 16-Feb-16 18:35:02

Couldn't you just tell them you want to start later than you do, book your holiday for when you actually want to start then get your doctor to sign you off onto mat leave whilst you're on holiday?

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