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Mat leave - playing the system?

(58 Posts)
TheSleeperandTheSpindle Fri 21-Apr-17 11:16:27

I'm a FT teacher who is currently on maternity leave. My leave started in Oct and so I wasn't given a class this year (primary teacher) so my going back to work date doesn't really matter as my cover is employed until the end of the year. I'm also going back part time in Sept thanks to my DH's promotion which is due to start around Aug/Sept time.

I initially thought I'd need to go back around May however I have since applied for tax credits (I didn't know you could get them on mat leave - thanks MN! grin) and it turns out we can now afford for me to stay off until my SMP runs out.

My SMP runs out on 10th July. Would it be cheeky to go back full time from this date, work full time for the two weeks left of term and then get full pay over the summer? I could then start my part time contract in September, effectively giving me 11 months off. My MIL and DM will be covering my 3 days from Sept and have both said they are happy to cover the two weeks or so full time so childcare will not be a worry.

Will this be really frowned upon or is it the done thing? When I told my Head I was pregnant she did mention giving the first day of the holidays as my back to work date, if I was taking that long, in order to get paid over the summer but somehow this seems more obvious blush

NewIdeasToday Fri 21-Apr-17 11:23:04

Has your head teacher agreed to your request to go part time? It isn't an automatic right after maternity leave - you have to make a business case for it. So how could you possibly make a case for going part time but then turn round and say you'd like to be full time through the summer holidays? I think they'll see through that pretty quickly!!

HandbagCrab Fri 21-Apr-17 11:24:23

Everyone else accrues holidays whilst on mat leave so do not feel bad about going back for the summer.

ellesbellesxxx Fri 21-Apr-17 11:27:56

I think this is the expected thing! Some heads are funny about it but actually it's your right to go back whenever... as handbag says, in any other job you would accrue holiday so go for it!

3boys3dogshelp Fri 21-Apr-17 11:28:35

I see no problem with you returning to work just in time for the Summer holidays, but I thought you could only request a change to your work hours as you go back, so I think if you agree to go back full time initially you might struggle to get the hours you want longer term.

HandbagCrab Fri 21-Apr-17 11:34:14

I did full time summer then part time from September, it's common as the holidays are for what you've already 'worked' as mat leave not in advance of a new job going forward.

TheSleeperandTheSpindle Fri 21-Apr-17 11:34:55

Head has agreed my change of contract as of September. As flexible working applications are open to all employees you don't have to go part time straight after maternity, you can apply for it to change from any date just like any other employee smile

Thanks for the advice, I just didn't want people at work thinking I was playing the system and being workshy, although I'm sure they would all play it to their advantage!

RandomDent Fri 21-Apr-17 11:37:16

Just do it, nobody minds. I'm currently in a maternity leave post, I fully expect the job holder to put the first day of the holidays in as her return to work, I'll lose out but it's the way it works. I did it. smile also, as pp said, we miss out on AL/bank holiday accrual.

TheSleeperandTheSpindle Fri 21-Apr-17 11:46:10

The good thing Random is that my full time post was covered from within the school by two non-class based PT staff so no-one loses out on any money smile

RandomDent Fri 21-Apr-17 11:47:57

All the more reason to go for it. grin

rollonthesummer Fri 21-Apr-17 11:49:16

It depends what your head is like. Mine would have offered full time or part time, not a mixture of both so you could get paid full time over the holidays.

Going back in July is perfectly within your rights though.

beekeeper17 Fri 21-Apr-17 12:10:28

Nearly every teacher I know who plans on going back to work at the start of the new school year has worked for 1 or 2 weeks at the end of term so they get paid over the summer. Seems to just be the done thing, so you'd be mad not to and to lose out on money.

TheSleeperandTheSpindle Fri 21-Apr-17 12:35:38

Already discussed it with my Head, she even contacted HR to make sure I could do it.

I'm quite a stickler for rules so this all seems a bit 'naughty' somehow. Like you all say though, the extra money would be great....

CarrieBlue Fri 21-Apr-17 15:02:45

I might have planned an October baby so I could go on ML in July, return start of holidays full time then go pt from September. You'd be foolish not to take the best option for yourself.

fruityb Fri 21-Apr-17 15:08:21

Couldn't you name your return to work as the first day of the summer holidays?

DeliciouslyHella Fri 21-Apr-17 15:11:16

Urm, you should ABSOLUTELY do it. You're lucky enough to be in the position to do it, so go for it.

My HT told me first time round that TTC was best over Xmas to maximise maternity pay. I ended up having a September baby and doing very similar to you. No one batted an eyelid at it and several people said how lucky I was. My maternity cover was kept on permanently, so no stress there.

ScienceNut Fri 21-Apr-17 15:12:04

I did, started mat leave on the 28th sept, went back on 1st July.

Didn't have a teaching timetable for the Sept and July so just worked through the admin side of my job (head os Science secondary) so there is a lot of admin.

To me it felt like i had from mid July till the end of August but he following year as I only did 7 weeks and 5 kit days in that time!!

It was great

Iamcheeseman Fri 21-Apr-17 15:13:18

I started maternity leave on the first day of the January term so I got paid for Christmas holidays and I went back 2 weeks before the summer holidays so I got paid for the summer. Meant I was only technically on maternity for 6 months but I actually only worked 4 days in 8.5 months.

lorisparkle Fri 21-Apr-17 15:41:30

I did it too. I was full time head of department and went back for two weeks. My class and department were covered and they knew I was going part time in September so I did any supply work or extra ppa work for those two weeks. Having the full time 8 weeks pay really helped when I started part time.

TheSleeperandTheSpindle Fri 21-Apr-17 15:57:57

Thank you all so much, you've convinced me that it's ok to do. Plus as I won't be class based in July the hours won't be as full on as normal so it's a win-win.

fruityb I could put my return to work as the first day of the holidays but my last full SMP pay will be end of June. I was on the phone to the payroll woman and she said I would get around £140 as my July SMP as I will only be paid for the 5 working days. This plus the few days at the start of the holidays won't be enough money for my July pay. Whereas if I go back on 10th July I will get around 3 weeks full time pay by the end of July smile

fruityb Fri 21-Apr-17 16:03:22

Ahh I see! That makes sense. I'm going back in three weeks 😞

TheSleeperandTheSpindle Fri 21-Apr-17 16:36:44

Oh fruity I do feel for you 😳 I've been in a bubble of denial for the past few months, will certainly be a shock to the system. Are you going back FT or PT?

ApplePizza Fri 21-Apr-17 16:56:53

Definitely play the system- they would do so to use it against you.

My friend gave birth right at the start of the summer holiday having worked all year. Her maternity began that day - she 'lost' her summer holiday.

fruityb Fri 21-Apr-17 16:59:00

FT which I am half looking forward to as being around adults again will be nice but god I'll miss Ds and being with him! Plus I'm dreading the workload.....

ChickenBhuna Fri 21-Apr-17 17:02:31

What you're suggesting seems to be the done thing OP. I'll be doing it.

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