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Maternity leave if baby is early

(25 Posts)
RaindropsRoses Mon 20-Mar-17 23:19:54

My holiday year is 1st Jan-31st Dec. I'm due 1st June, my official maternity leave start date is my due date but finish 5 weeks before this using up annual leave.

What happens if baby comes early? Will they have to start my maternity leave and therefore SMP at 90% from that date or can I still use my annual leave as long as I am already off work?

If they do start maternity pay do they have to pay me for the unused annual leave I haven't been able to take if I do not return to work until the following year/holiday year or carry the days over? Is this their choice if they pay or carry over as long as they do one or the other?

How would they know baby was here early if I didn't tell them or am I obliged to? They already have MATb1 with due date so they just use that as latest maternity start date don't they?

Helpmybrainsmelting Mon 20-Mar-17 23:27:32

I think baby coming early triggers maternity leave from the date baby is born but you are still entitled to annual leave and any leave which accrues whilst you are on maternity leave. I would expect that you can arrange for this to be paid. You should speak to your HR department as they will be able to explain what will happen.

I had to inform my HR department of the date when baby was born. I would imagine that you would also have to inform your HR so that they can put in place the necessary arrangements with HMRC.

LookImAHooman Mon 20-Mar-17 23:29:26

Mat leave doesn't have to start by your due date, IIRC, but obv it's a gamble.

Yes, they are legally obliged to start your mat leave from the day the baby is born if it's not kicked in already. I've seen the question of how they'd know covered before and can't remember the outcome but I believe it's good old-fashioned honesty. I imagine the actual date wouldn't be the easiest thing to hide in practice.

Pregnancy is a protected characteristic so employers are obliged to make sure you don't miss AL etc. if it couldn't be avoided as this could be seen as putting you at disadvantage. Speak to your HR - will depend on whether they have policy in place to roll days over or pay in lieu, or whether it's case-by-case.

fuzzywuzzy Mon 20-Mar-17 23:31:24

As pp said you accrue holiday during your maternity leave.

And maternity leave is triggered once baby is born, you need to notify your hr of the babies birth.

You need to sit down and discuss your maternity leave with your hr to clarify things for you. I've opted to tack on my accrued annual leave after my mat leave is up just so I have a bit more time with baby. Or if I'm going crazy I'll take my annual leave a few days a week and return part time for a bit.

DuggeeHugs Mon 20-Mar-17 23:32:43

If your baby arrives before the date you plan to begin maternity leave then your maternity leave will change to begin the following day. I believe this is because employment law says women cannot work for two weeks after the birth. You are unlikely to be able to hide an early delivery from them as employers usually request a copy of the birth certificate to prove dates and entitlement.

Where a member of my staff gave birth during annual leave prior to maternity leave, maternity leave was brought forward and the outstanding annual leave kept on file for her to use before returning to work at the end of maternity leave.

All of the specifics should be detailed in your organisations maternity leave policy so I'd advise getting a copy straight away if you're concerned. Alternatively, ask to speak to your HR advisor as they will be able to go through it all with you.

LookImAHooman Mon 20-Mar-17 23:36:18

Oops, yes - kicks in on the day after birth, not day of. Soz.

I've not had to supply the birth certificate as proof of dates etc (neither has anyone I've known in recent years) but I imagine it would be standard practice in some orgs.

DuggeeHugs Mon 20-Mar-17 23:41:28

Standard practice where I work to provide a copy of the birth certificate - have just been reminded by staffing that I'll need to provide it, as well as letting then know immediately if I give birth before my EDD (which I've listed as beginning of maternity leave)!

LittleBearPad Mon 20-Mar-17 23:44:47

This happened to me twice.

Mat leave starts day after birth. Your employer will likely want a copy of birth certificate.

Your unused annual leave will accrue and you won't lose it

10storeylovesong Tue 21-Mar-17 07:38:30

My ds was born 13 weeks early and mat leave started the day after he was born. I had to supply a copy of his birth certificate to work. All my annual leave was carried over. I was perfectly happy with this as it made sense, but I've recently been contacted by my union to say this isn't right and I could have been out of pocket and they have just fought a case for a woman and won her compensation. I've sent them all my dates etc but not heard anything back yet.

shirleycartersaidso Tue 21-Mar-17 07:48:42

Dts were born at 31 weeks - ml kicked in straight away, the annual leave I had saved to have from 33 weeks was tagged on to the end of ML and holidays accrued as normal through ml. At the end of ML I had six weeks annual leave fully paid, it was great!

RaindropsRoses Tue 21-Mar-17 21:30:20

Thanks everyone. I don't have a HR! It's a small company. Nothing is detailed in the staff handbook either, it purely states what SMP is and that's all we get. I know I won't lose any annual leave I just wondered if they had to pay it or roll it over til the next year or if it's up to them which they do and if it would definately start early. Financially obviously it would be alot better to carry on annual leave at full pay than go straight on to maternity pay for those few weeks if baby is early. I know it works out the same overall in the end but I'd rather have the full pay at the beginning than the end. I'm convinced this baby is coming so we shall see what happens!

TestingTestingWonTooFree Tue 21-Mar-17 21:59:32

My employer (gov dept) didn't ask for a birth certificate.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Tue 21-Mar-17 22:05:49

DS was premature so I was still at work and as others have said maternity leave just starts.
I nearly lost my holiday as I hadn't used it as I was planning to start maternity leave by using 4 weeks holiday but as DS was born maternity leave kicked in. It's a legal grey area as I got some legal advice on here. Depends what your employers policy is on carrying over annual leave. Anyway I eventually was allowed to carry it over

EpoxyResin Wed 22-Mar-17 15:10:37

I had ds at 37 weeks and was planning to start 2 weeks holiday at 38 weeks and maternity leave at 40 weeks. So I was looking at losing 2 weeks holiday due to the holiday year resetting whilst I was away.

When dp called my boss to tell him I'd just had a c section so wouldn't be in that day (Monday morning) my boss kindly suggested we mention nothing to HR (who we wouldn't be expected to contact directly anyway - only my direct manager) and that he wouldn't either. They never requested birth certificates or any suchlike - I'd be surprised if most do - and this is a big professional multinational. Although if they had my good old boss said he'd just say he forgot to mention I'd had the baby earlier smile

Helpmybrainsmelting Wed 22-Mar-17 21:51:52

Really surprised that you could possibly lose the annual leave. I can understand businesses not allowing annual leave but if you have booked annual leave but are prevented from using it because baby unexpectedly comes along then surely that could be maternity discrimination? Has anyone actually checked the situation out with ACAS or similar?

AbbeyRoadCrossing Wed 22-Mar-17 22:18:54

I posted on the legal / employment part of here I'll see if I can find it.
It was a grey area because the employer hasn't prevented you from taking the holiday. It's more of a goodwill thing that most employers will let you carry over annual leave in the event of a premature birth.
Like I said up thread my employer did back down when I challenged it.

Blueroses99 Sat 25-Mar-17 17:07:51

You can't lose annual leave, it will either be paid out or carried over - not sure why cancelling annual leave and replacing it with maternity leave would be maternity discrimination hmm

If I don't get to use this years annual leave before maternity leave (I'm currently on sick leave), it will be paid out to me and I will have all of next years annual leave to tag onto the end of maternity leave or I can ask for that to be paid out instead.

armsandtheman Sat 25-Mar-17 17:13:33

This happened to me - I went on leave from 36-38 weeks, then booked maternity leave from 38 week, but baby arrived at 36+4. I was immediately put on mat leave but they added my lost holiday leave onto the end plus the leave I'd accrued while on maternity. I do work for an excellent employer though!

dippypanda Sat 25-Mar-17 18:03:33

I work in HR and I've never asked for birth certificate. It's usually been on trust based on MatB1 and the dates given by mother. Usually mat leave would be triggered early if mother is still at work and baby is born early or if we were told, you often find out anyway if baby comes early.

dippypanda Sat 25-Mar-17 18:05:33

Plus legally you wouldn't lose the holiday, it would either be carried over or paid in that holiday year, depending on the holiday policy for your company and what is agreed between you and the employer. Otherwise it's discrimination.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Sat 25-Mar-17 18:25:06

The law entitles you to 20 days annual plus 8 bank holidays making 28 days total.
If your employer offers more than this then the law is very grey. Especially if they have a 'use it or lose it' policy.

From experience it's easier to get it confirmed on an email from HR what happens in the event of an early birth.

There's only 3 months to bring a discrimination case I think so hardly anyone does.

NerrSnerr Sat 25-Mar-17 18:33:05

I work for the NHS and haven't had to show a birth certificate. All our annual leave carries over.

ethelfleda Sun 26-Mar-17 09:42:59

Can I ask a question please? I get 20 days annual leave plus bank holidays. My baby isn't due until November. Our holidays run from Jan - dec. Our employer doesn't allow holidays to run over, nor do they pay for holiday not taken. I was planning on using all of this year's annual leave before I go (all being well) should that include the bank holidays I would have had at Xmas? If the baby is early, do the employers legally have to either pay holiday or allow you to carry it over? Even if that is normally not their policy? And what about next year? Do they have to let me use outstanding holiday at the end of mat leave, including bank holidays? What if they say their policy is you can't have more than two weeks off in a row eta?
I'm expecting them to be difficult, even though I've worked there for nearly a decade!

Blueroses99 Sun 26-Mar-17 09:50:37

Regardless of their holiday policy they have to allow you to carry over or pay you for unused annual leave - you can't lose it due to maternity leave even if that the standard policy.

ethelfleda Sun 26-Mar-17 10:11:19

Thank you Blueroses

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