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When to go on mat leave?

(27 Posts)
EnglishRain Tue 21-Apr-20 18:03:08

I know these threads have been done but I've had a scroll and can't see a recent one with covid mentioned. And I'm feeling lonely in lockdown so it would be nice to 'talk' to people even if it's on MN!

I'm 27 weeks pregnant. At the moment I've told work I'll go at 37+5. I am supposed to have an elective section, which I gather would be sometime during my 39th week. Crossing my fingers and toes that can go ahead.

This is my first and probably only baby, so no idea what to expect. I've got annual leave to use but am not sure how much I should push on to save the time for when she is here? Depending on what happens with lockdown, I don't want to use too much annual leave up beforehand if all I can do is sit at home...

MrsL2016 Tue 21-Apr-20 18:09:07

I went at 36+5 and I was ready. He didn't make an appearance until 41 weeks so had a month of Mat Leave without the baby. 2 weeks were annual leave and mat leave started at 39 weeks. I took 9 months mat leave and then 3 weeks annual leave at the other side. It was perfect for me, although if it hadn't been Xmas when my 9 months were up I would have gone back instead of using leave until the new year.

MissingMo Tue 21-Apr-20 18:09:56

For my dd I used my 4 weeks annual leave to take me to a week before my due date then maternity kicked in then. She arrived a week early so on the day maternity started. I did work in a standing for long hours environment though.

N12345625 Tue 21-Apr-20 18:13:02

I worked until the day before my induction. Finished work at 5pm on Friday, had her on the Saturday!! Definitely a big mistake, I had no time to rest before the baby. I'd say give yourself 2 weeks before.

user1493413286 Tue 21-Apr-20 18:14:18

It depends how tiring your work is; I went at 37 weeks as I had a planned c section at 39 and a half weeks so knew I’d then have 2 and a half weeks. It was the right amount of time to be off and I was lucky that in my last couple of weeks my boss let me leave early to avoid traffic as sitting in traffic aggravated my hips and I also got to work from home once a week. It’s probably better to say 37 weeks and then go earlier if you need to.

Mc3209 Tue 21-Apr-20 18:42:56

I am planning to start mat leave at 38 weeks and take 2 weeks of annual leave prior to that. Hopefully it will work out that way.

Elmo230885 Tue 21-Apr-20 18:54:18

My first I started mat leave on my due date, but had two weeks AL before. I didn't have her until 42 weeks and in all honesty could have worked until the day I had her . Its an office based job and aside from having to allow twice as long to waddle from the train station I was fine.
My second I planned the same but ended up going two weeks earlier as I was exhausted. Having a two year old at home and working full time was too much. It was nice to have the extra time with DD before DS arrived on his due date.
A lot depends on your job and how you feel.

Ginger1982 Tue 21-Apr-20 19:10:55

I went at 35 weeks. My work was very tiring though, there had been no risk assessments done for my pregnancy and I was putting myself in potentially dangerous situations on a daily basis so I'd had enough by that point.
I enjoyed the time off I had beforehand.

lustforlife Tue 21-Apr-20 20:16:57

I'm also 27 weeks. I've planned to go off at 36w for 2 weeks of annual leave and then start maternity leave at 38w. I work for the NHS so thought it'd be nice to have a bit of a rest first!

lettersbyowl Tue 21-Apr-20 20:23:22

I'm 35 weeks now, and had planned to go at 38 weeks. I work for the NHS, currently from home, so easier than it would be normally. I've still reduced my hours this week down to part time. I'm very tired, physically stuff is harder now and I'm having a lot of difficulty with thinking straight! So I wish I could go already!!! You can't predict how you will be smile

xxxemzyxxx Tue 21-Apr-20 20:35:04

It’s down to personal circumstance and how you think you will cope.
I’m only 16 weeks so a while away yet but personally I am planning to start mat leave a week before my due date, but then take my remaining 2-3 weeks annual leave prior to that, so I will have 3-4 weeks of resting and possibly seeing friends and family before everything gets turned upside down!
A lot of people tell me the last month leading up to birth they really struggled. I’m office based and half my team are really close friends so I enjoy working in General, but Considering my drive to work is 45 mins-1 hour each way (which before lockdown I was already finding exhausting) I’ve based my plan on that, because I am certain I will get too tired to deal with it.

JKD1982 Tue 21-Apr-20 22:43:06

Hi @EnglishRain
I am having a similar dilemma. 32 weeks and hopefully having elective c section week 39.

I was going to start Mat leave 2 weeks prior but now as I’m WFH it seems silly as I can easily get from my bed to the laptop in the kitchen! I might save the annual leave for later...

Let us know what you decide

toomuchteaandcake Tue 21-Apr-20 23:50:42

I'm going at 39 weeks. But I'm working from home and will be then too so I don't feel the need to go early, especially now I can't do anything anyway

Lotsalotsagiggles Wed 22-Apr-20 00:06:20

Think it all depends on your job?

If it's admin from home you could work easily for longer than manual and out and about

Amichelle84 Wed 22-Apr-20 06:39:52

I guess it depends what you do and how far you have to travel etc. A lot of ladies want to work up to the last moment so they get longer with their baby. You wont know how you feel but I would say having seen friends they really start struggling about 2 weeks before due date.

I'm currently working from home due to Covid. I have under lying heath issues and am preg.

HR called to discuss my plan and they said they cant see me coming back to work before baby arrives (august). Although up in the air I'm going to start my mat leave the week I'm due as I will be able to work from home anyway so doesnt make any odds. I wouldnt be able to take a full year off so was planning on finishing early, but I'll be able to use all my accumulated leave so actually it's worked out really well.

Plans can always change too so worth remembering that.

mamamiaow Wed 22-Apr-20 06:54:24

Hi EnglishRain, hope you are doing ok. Too much time to think. I had 4 weeks off before my baby came (she arrived on her due date - mid July). It was a brilliant 4 weeks, I just pottered about, relaxed, sat in the garden, weather was great. I had a good pregnancy and felt a bit selfish doing this because all the other mothers said they'd keep the time to spend with their child. After you have a baby all that relaxation time is gone! I'd make the most of the peace while you can get it. Parenting is brilliant but exhausting. Take some time for yourself (and that applies afterwards too). Good luck!

Indigogirl88 Wed 22-Apr-20 07:45:59

Literally the same story as @xxxemzyxxx
16w this week and was driving 45 mins either way to work before lock down, so I've been grateful for the rest during the rest of 1st trimester

I havent told work yet due to a variety of reasons but plan on telling them after my 20w scan. Then as I'm not entitled to SMP I'll probably work as long as I can and take 2 weeks annual leave, they've said due to lock down we can carry more days over so as I'm due October I'll add days onto next year which will be full paid annual leave days, every penny counts!

Pippinsqueak Wed 22-Apr-20 08:00:52

I found two weeks before plenty of time for rest, preparation etc, any more I and I think it would have been wasted. Also I saved my annual leave to do short weeks but on full pay when I returned to work

mummyje20 Wed 22-Apr-20 08:17:07

I'm now working from home so I've pushed my mat leave back to a couple of days before due date. Before i was going to stop at 38 weeks

WutheringShites86 Wed 22-Apr-20 15:10:57

You'll need to check what your employer's policy is about annual leave as well, for me I have to use the whole years annual leave before mat leave starts as my mat leave will straddle 2 leave years, however they have now said I can carry 2 weeks over to the next year because of coronavirus. So now I'm taking 3 weeks leave before mat leave starts on my due date then adding 2 weeks leave on the end of mat leave.

Historyofeverything1 Wed 22-Apr-20 15:48:05

With my first I finished at 38 weeks, with the four weeks prior being 4 day weeks using annual leave. Had ds at 39+6.
I then used annual leave to take a month off after maternity leave. Then worked slightly reduced hours for 6 months which saved money on childcare but also gave me quality time with dc.
Dt I finished at 36 weeks and had at 37. Again tagged on annual leave for a few weeks then worked reduced hours for a while.
Definitely would recommend a small rest period before birth and using most of your annual leave afterwards.

Snufkins Wed 22-Apr-20 15:57:12

I’m 37+4 and because of Covid I left at 33 weeks and went off with a sick note, I work in a patient facing role in NHS and didn’t feel happy being there anymore. That was 3 weeks earlier than I was supposed to but tbh I don’t feel I could’ve worked that long anyway as have been very achy and breathless.
I am taking a years worth of annual leave at end of my mat leave. But obviously if you were to get maternity related sickness after 36 weeks you’d have to start mat leave anyway regardless of when baby is due.

Sunshine8920 Wed 22-Apr-20 19:23:40

@Snufkins I'm 32 +2 weeks currently, work in a school but haven't been to work for the last month; I don't think it's right to go back once this extended three week lockdown is over so I think I will have to start my maternity earlier than I had hoped which is a bit frustrating. It's what my employer has advised I do.
I'm hoping to have a year off anyway so I guess it's more than others.

mouse1234567 Wed 22-Apr-20 20:41:22

@Sunshine8920 I’m a fellow teacher too and have been off like you. I’m 32+ 3 so nearly same as you. At the moment I’m working till 39 weeks, I’m imagining the schools won’t go back till after half term at least in which case that’s 38 weeks. I’m not sure your school are allowed to force you to start maternity early are they? I agree with you we can’t go back in but feel they can’t necessarily force us to take leave early just because we aren’t in school?

Sunshine8920 Thu 23-Apr-20 07:18:39

Wow we are really
Similar.
Yes I was thinking that I should be the one giving them a date. I think I will write a later date down and if the lockdown ends on the 11th May then I will have a day of work sick and that will start my maternity anyway. I'm in two minds over it all it's driving me bonkers!!!!

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