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No maternity/parental leave policy at work. What to ask and negotiate?

(19 Posts)
txipi Fri 29-Apr-16 12:01:04


I work for a small company and I'm the first person that will be taking maternity leave. The problem is that at the moment we haven't really got a maternity policy so I will have to negociate and agree with my boss what my maternity leave rights etc will be. My boss is normally quite understanding and is the sort of company that offers perks. I'm not really sure what I need to bring to the table to negociate or clarify. ie so far I've got: maternity pay, discuss leftover holidays for this year and timescales to say when my last day at work will be. What else should I agree and discuss with my boss? Do you get any perks at your current company? I know my basic rights but if possible I would like my boss to enhance them a bit..

ColdAndGloomy Fri 29-Apr-16 12:11:33

They should probably do a risk assessment for you being pregnant.

What are your pension arrangements? I think the rules means you don't lose out pension wise for the first six months of mat leave, but after that you may want to get them to agree to contribute as if you were working as usual. Similarly for any other benefits you may have?

Talk about keeping in touch days?

Your right to return in the same role?

Do they provide childcare vouchers or could you persude them to? (Although I know the scheme will be changing before too long anyway.)

Thurlow Fri 29-Apr-16 12:13:05

I think a basic package would be 6 weeks at 90% pay, then SMP until 9 months, then another 3 months unpaid, and I believe that they have to offer you your exact job if you return within 6 months, and an equivalent job if you return within the second 6 months.

I've recently had a brief catch up about my maternity leave and some of the things covered were...

They want 28 days notice of intention to go on maternity leave (though within reason i.e. if you had planned to work up to 28 weeks but suddenly felt bad at 36 weeks, there might not be time to give 28 days notice)

Ideally a few months notice of intention to return, but I'm not sure on the statutory guidelines for this one. I suppose it would depend on how much you like your work and how open you think they will be about it. Also, they would prefer a few months notice to discuss a flexible working request.

Benefits - if you have any benefits from work i.e. season ticket loan, private healthcare, how will this be covered? (I think this has something to do with not being able to make deductions from SMP, but equally not being able to withdraw benefits)

Childcare vouchers - if you already claim these for a previous child, will they continue to pay during your maternity leave

Pension payments - again, how will they be paid during maternity leave?

Are your holidays accrued during leave, or paid, and if accrued, can you take add them on to the end of your maternity leave. Ditto bank holidays.

You're normally entitled to 10 Keeping in Touch (KIT) days at work, which are paid, so ask about them - will they only pay full days, or half days?

And just double check about your holidays before your leave date. I.e. if you have 25 days holiday in 2016 and were planning on leaving in mid-November, can you take all 25 days leave beforehand? (You should be able to).

If you want to PM me I work in law (though not employment law, as you can probably tell!) and can send you some step-by-step guidance that might help?

mouldycheesefan Fri 29-Apr-16 12:16:22

Keeping in touch days at pre not an entitlement that employers have to offer. Basically you can work up to 10 KIT days without your maternity benefits being affected, and be paid for those days. But your employer doesn't have to offer that. We never have people do KIT days where I work.

Thurlow Fri 29-Apr-16 12:18:07

There you go, you can negotiate KIT days if you'd like them grin

Thurlow Fri 29-Apr-16 12:21:08

Actually, thinking about this, it would be best to get some actual legal or HR advice before you went into a meeting about this. Do any of your friends work for larger organisations that have big HR departments they could ask for a quick favour?

Dollface136 Fri 29-Apr-16 16:33:22

It's also worth asking about your role and their plans to keep it for your return (should you intend to return). They are not legally obliged to give you the same job back, just to offer you the same salary for a role on the same hours (can discuss flexi but not legally obliged to give) and using your skillset. This was something that caught me off guard as it means I am not guaranteed to return to my team and clients when I finish maternity leave.

txipi Fri 29-Apr-16 16:51:23

Many thanks for all your answers, this is definitely big help! Thanks Trurlow for all the breakdown you’ve done, that should cover most of it

I have to say that the place were I work is quite informal and we don’t really follow strict rules, i.e we can arrive into the office anytime in the morning and leave when we like (as soon as we work 7.30 hours) or if we are sick even if it’s for a long time we just get paid normal wage even if that is not stated anywhere in our contract, it’s got some advantages but the main disadvantage that means is that we don’t really have any sort of formal policies…

Re pension arrangement, we haven’t got one, so I guess nothing to discuss there.

Re returning to the same role, that’s a good point, specially when my role has sometimes changed drastically over the years.

I believe that I don’t need a risk assessment sounds way formal for my company plus all what I do is to sit down in front of a computer so that should be fine.

I didn’t know about KIT days and that these will be paid. This sounds perfect to boost the maternity pay by a bit for a couple of months, specially when I should be able to work from home. I’m definitely negotiating this one!

The don’t provide childcare vouchers since nobody in the office has requested them, but I’m sure I can persuade them to do this. Again I didn’t know about this, but is definitely worth adding to the list! I can see that the scheme finishes by April 2018 so probably I will be able to use it by just some months

I haven’t got many friends that work on big corporate, I do know somebody working on the nhs so might be worth speaking to her I guess.

Many thanks for all your answers! Let me know if you can think of anything else, I think that I’ll be doing some serious research on maternity policies this bank holiday!

icklekid Fri 29-Apr-16 16:59:49

If you are claiming childcare vouchers before the scheme ends you will be able to continue just no one else can join (from the every changing date!) You can work out which is more cost effective for you and go with that so worth getting vouchers to give you the choice!

KayTee87 Fri 29-Apr-16 17:34:48

It seems like you know all the basics you're entitled to. I work for a large company, I will receive 4 months full pay before going onto stat pay, I then get my annual leave on top of this. I plan to have 11 months off, I'll receive full pay for 6 of these (inc annual leave) and stat pay for the other 5. I will still receive my 10% yearly bonus while on mat leave and any cost of living rise. When I go back to work I can request flexible working (pt, changed hours, phased return etc) and I can get child care vouchers

KayTee87 Fri 29-Apr-16 17:38:37

Forgot to add that of course everyone is entitled to 10 paid KIT days. I'm going to try to organise mine for 2 per month for the months I'm on stat pay to boost my pay those months.

txipi Fri 29-Apr-16 21:59:06

Good to know icklekid thanks!

Sounds like you have a really good deal KayTee87 something like that would be ideal. I hope that my boss is up for enhanced maternity pay. It will definitely make my life easier.

Unthoughtknown Fri 29-Apr-16 22:06:42

Most of what is being discussed here they are legally obliged to do by law, and it's really up to them to familiarise themselves with it.

KayTee87 Sat 30-Apr-16 09:44:47

It is pretty good, previous workplaces have always just been government standard. Would be good to have full pay the whole time but you can't have everything wink
Good luck sorting it with your boss.

Sanch1 Sat 30-Apr-16 10:43:05

Why don't you have a pension? I thought all workplaces had to provide one now?

txipi Sun 01-May-16 08:26:45

Sanch1 the biggest companies had to start offering the pensions first, as far as I know the government has assigned dates to every employer to join the scheme and I believe that not everyone will be enrolled on the pensions scheme until April 2017.

LillyBugg Sun 01-May-16 08:30:20

The basica have been well explained here. I would definitely have a discussion about enhanced maternity pay if you have a generous employer. It's different everywhere but most have a rule about returning for a certain period to retain the enhanced pay. Where I work we get an additional 12 weeks half pay after the 6 weeks at 90%. This is paid on top of the statutory pay. I work in public sector, the 12 weeks is pretty standard across the public sector.

txipi Sun 01-May-16 08:52:51

Thanks LilliBugg is good to know that 12 weeks half pay is standard on the public sector. I will try to suggest something like that. Fingers crossed that I get it!

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Sun 01-May-16 09:06:33

Hi OP, I'm prison service and I am on mat leave at the min for the second time. I e had full pay for 6 months, SMP for a further 3 and then last 3 as unpaid. I need to return for a month in order to not have to pay back the 6 months of enhanced pay, and have to be back 26 weeks to be entitled to paid mat leave again (I literally should just make this!)

I carried over 2015 leave and am taking this at the end of my unpaid leave, along with 2 weeks of this year (our leave is march-feb). Definitely check how your accrued al is handled!

I am not automatically entitled to go back to the exact same job as I've taken over 9 months off, but they must find me a similar job with the same t&c to return to, so factor this into your thinking of how long to take off.

Ensure that they keep you up to date with any significant changes and give you the opportunity to apply for internal promotions etc that come up, so thst ypu aren't discriminated against for being off.

And as they are informal, make sure that whatever you ultimately agree is minuted and you get a signed copy so that there isn't any forgetting/backtracking.

Congratulations on your pregnancy OP smile

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