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Can you look for work on maternity leave?

(10 Posts)
elmo1980 Tue 15-Nov-16 14:24:14

I'm 29+5 and due to go on maternity leave in 5 weeks time. After an incident at work today I have pretty much decided not to come back after my leave (this incident was the last straw in a number of things that have done to make me feel completely undervalued in this place). Originally I was thinking, I'm on a good salary, been here for years I would be stupid to leave etc but I really don't think I can do it.

So, what I'm interested in hearing about are people's experiences of looking for work/interviewing whilst on maternity leave and how successful it has been. Do you find companies are reluctant to hire new mothers? Are there any rules against doing this whilst taking SMP? Any advice gratefully received. Thanks.

Monkeyandthebear Tue 15-Nov-16 14:41:32

I would be really interested in this too. Lots of changes at work mean if I wasn't pregnant I would be looking for a new job. Only 8 weeks so got to tough it out for a few months but reckon I won't come back. I don't see how there can be any comeback if you interview during maternity.

I reckon I would still have to give my notice (currently 3 months).

Scrowy Tue 15-Nov-16 14:45:37

There isn't anything to stop you legally, just make sure your current employer isn't going to want you to pay back any maternity pay they might pay on top of SMP if you don't return (or more easily don't take it in the first place if you know you definitely aren't returning)

Thatwaslulu Tue 15-Nov-16 14:49:06

SMP is paid by your employer even if you don't return to work, as long as you meet the qualifying criteria:
1) have worked for the employer for at least 26 weeks by the 15th week before the baby is due
2) in the eight weeks preceding the 15th week, have had average earnings of at least £112 per week
3) by the 15th week, have given the employer medical evidence of the pregnancy and told them when you intend to stop work and start claiming SMP
4) have stopped working.

Your employer may have an enhanced contractual maternity package, over and above SMP. These payments can be conditional upon returning to work and if you don't they may want to reclaim the additional money. SMP is not repayable.

elmo1980 Tue 15-Nov-16 14:57:25

They do offer an enhanced package which is repayable if you leave the firm after 1 year so I was originally tempted to take it then, worst case scenario, pay it back if I decided not to return (equates to around £2.5k). Now I'm thinking just take statutory and then I won't feel any guilt whilst looking for work elsewhere and live on a tighter budget.

panad317 Tue 15-Nov-16 15:07:20

With DC 1 the school I was in let me go when my leave started because --they didn't want to pay maternity leave--"my contract came to an end" so I had to apply for maternity allowance. When DC was 5 months old I tried and got a part time job in another school. They can't decide whether you're fit for the job based on the fact that you're a new mother.

KP86 Tue 15-Nov-16 15:11:56

Nothing wrong with applying for jobs while on mat leave but experience tells me it is harder to be successful in actually getting the position as a new mum, or particularly, as a mum of a toddler. Lots of employers seem concerned you will start then leave to have another child soon after, or will need to take lots of leave for illnesses etc. It shouldn't be the case but has happened to me for few jobs both while pregnant and on leave.

I would hedge my bets, don't quit your first job so you have a fall back and apply like mad. You can always give notice while on leave.

Jojo13 Tue 15-Nov-16 15:27:40

I was in the same position as you with my first baby.
I decided I couldn't face going back to my workplace so first I checked my contract to make sure I didn't have to pay back any additional maternity pay and my notice requirements.
I started looking around 3 months before I was due to go back. In my experience, I found people were generally fine with me being a new mum, it was more about finding a job which paid enough to cover the childcare costs. I guess it depends what area you work in, I was very lucky and got offered three different jobs, but all with reasonably flexible working hours etc. I went on interviews in my maternity leave and then just gave my one months notice to my existing employer exactly a month before I was due back.
Good luck in whatever you decide.

WidowWadman Tue 15-Nov-16 15:29:43

I've done it twice, both times ended up with a better job, first time external, second time internal promotion. There's no need to even mention your child in your CV or application, as mat leave counts as continuous employment

TerriB84 Tue 15-Nov-16 18:37:18

My company hired someone in January who was 8 months pregnant at the time of interview. After hiring her they immediately recruited for her maternity cover. She starts in January 2017. I realise this is probably not representative but goes to show it's possible!

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