I'm due 2nd July with my first baby. I'm currently due to finish work 15th June. I need to decide this week if I want to finish a week earlier by using a weeks holiday. I did want to keep the holiday to add to the end of my mat leave and have more time with the baby. I will be taking a full year plus 3-4 weeks holiday at the end not including the extra week that I'm not sure when to take. I get 6 weeks holiday a year and I'll be going back 4 days a week. My dilemma is that work aren't very flexible and there is no option to reduce my days in the last few weeks by using holiday if I'm struggling. I will have to do 5 days a week 9 hours a day (desk work). I might be able to do the odd 8 hour day and I'll get time off for any ante natal appts but that's about it. I've been feeling really well this pregnancy with no complications. I have plenty of holiday so I'm lucky but I'm worried that if the baby comes late I'll be off for a month and feel like I wasted my holiday. I'd really appreciate any advice - sorry for the long post but I wanted to get all the facts in!
Would your holiday still be available at the end if maternity leave? Mine's a calendar year and can't be carried over, so I'd either take it or get paid for it. My 1st baby was 10 days late so I was waiting but not sure I'don't have wanted to be at work. Will finish 2-3 weeks before this time round
You could not take the holiday and then, if you're struggling get the gp to sign you off? If you get signed off for a pregnancy related reason after 36 weeks your employer can force you to start mat leave but that might be ok with you?
For what it's worth I stopped work at 36 weeks (two weeks holiday then mat leave at 38 weeks) and I was ready to stop as I was knackered and sore! Different for everyone though!
I would take it before. Honestly mat leave gets quite old by the end. I was itching to get back to work, as much as I loved spending time with DS I was craving intelligent conversation and I found the last month pretty difficult and lonely. But I went back part time so it might be different.
Life becomes pretty difficult in those last few weeks and you probably wouldn't notice the difference if you tag it on the end but you'll almost definitely be very grateful for an easier life before. There's also so much you can do before baby comes and it all becomes almost impossible after!
I think that a week or two off extra before your baby is born gives you time to rest and prepare for your delivery and those exhausting first few weeks. Working and commuting really takes it out of you in those last few weeks. A week or two extra off after 52 will or course be nice but not have quite the same tangible benefit
For each of mine I only started my maternity leave the week the baby was due. I used my accrued holiday prior to my maternity leave so had a few weeks off before the due date. Why can't you just push back your SML by a week and use the week's holiday to leave at the same time?
Admittedly DC3 was premature and so I had about 12 hours off after finishing work before he was born.
With DC1 I planned to finish 4 weeks before due date and also tagged 3 weeks' annual leave since I wasn't allowed to carry it over to the end of mat leave (remember that you still accrue annual leave while on mat leave and can take it before you return).
I don't regret a minute of it. I got the chance to do loads of things (practical and leisurely) that I wasn't going to be able to do for a long time after motherhood kicked in.
You never get the chance to do this with subsequent babies either since there is another child(ren) in the house and you just don't get this time to yourself again.
I stopped work at 38 weeks and then took 2 weeks of annual leave. Officially my mat leave didn't start until I gave birth. It worked fine for me but then again I was really lucky with my pregnancy. I also took the odd day off when I couldn't face the commute.
Thanks everyone that's really helpful. Work are really strict about there being spaces for holiday, it's a real nightmare so I think I'll take the extra leave while I can before mat leave and just relax. My commute is quite short but busy so I'm sure I'll be glad to see the back of it. I also have low Papp a and am having extra growth scans towards the end so I think the chances of going much over my due date are fairly slim!