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Anyone with experience of HR/maternity policy in schools please?

(21 Posts)
MinisterforCheekyFuckery Sat 15-Jun-19 07:00:02

Apologies if this isn't the appropriate board for this post. I did try Employment issues but my query is very specific to Education.

I work in a school (support staff, not a teacher) and am coming up to the end of my maternity leave. My school is an academy, I'm not sure if that's relevant.

I'm due to go back to work on July 1st but I've seen a job advertised today at another local (non academy) school that would be a step up for me, more money and is very well suited to my particular skill set and experience. The closing date for applications is Friday June 28th. I really want to apply for this new job as there is no opportunity for progression at my current school, but can I do that while I'm still on Maternity leave? Is there an obligation to go back to work for your current employer for a certain length of time after Mat leave ends and if I was lucky enough to be offered this new role and left, would I have to pay back my Maternity pay?

I have checked our Maternity policy (we're still using the local authority one) and it isn't very clear. It says you "may" have to repay "all or part" of your OMP "if you decide not to return to work after your Maternity leave". But the thing is technically I would be returning. It doesn't specify how long you have to return for. Even if they review applications for this new job and shortlist straight away, there's no way I could be interviewed, offered a position and accept before my return to work date.

Obviously, I realise there's no guarantee I'll even get an interview. But hypothetically, what happens if I apply for new job, go back to current job on July 1st and then was to interview for and be offered the new job let's say, a week later, but the new post didn't start until September? Would I still repay my OMP in that scenario? What happens to your notice period if it falls over the school holidays?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
Littlegoth Sat 15-Jun-19 07:06:24

As of July 1st you return to work. It’s unlikely the job will be shortlisted by then, so even if you get the job you would (I assume!) still work your notice period. This fulfils your contractual obligations.

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Sat 15-Jun-19 07:15:53

Thank you little goth. If the new job starts in September (I'm assuming) then when would I be expected to hand in my notice? Can you hand it in over the holidays even if the school is shut and there's technically no one there to hand it in to? Or would I be expected to hand it in straight away even though the new job wouldn't start until after the holidays?

Sorry for all the questions, this is my first job in a school and things are very different in my previous field.

OP’s posts: |
outofnothing Sat 15-Jun-19 07:20:42

You can definitely hand your notice in whenever you want. Surely someone will be monitoring emails?
Be careful that you do fulfil your contractual responsibilities - we had someone who got another job whilst on maternity leave and we had to ask her to pay some of her maternity leave money back. It was a huge blow to her and a hard financial hit but we had to follow policy.

Auntpetunia2015 Sat 15-Jun-19 07:22:28

If you get the job. Hand your notice in before end of term but state clearly that your last working day is 31/8 that way you get paid for August. You may loose a few days salary if new school doesn’t go back till 4 or so. Support staff always start on the first day back teachers on 1st September. Good luck.

gumbucket Sat 15-Jun-19 07:22:59

In my experience, they will ask for the pay back. It's not as bad as it sounds - it's not the stat mat pay, and only from 6 weeks onwards.
You have to work the equivalent of 13 weeks full time (so if you are part time it will take longer) to qualify for not having to pay anything back, but any days/weeks you do work is taken off the final amount. So if you go back in July and start a new job in September that's 8/9 weeks off the 13 weeks qualifying.
However, those are the general expectations of teaching staff and it might be different for support staff!
There will always be staff in over the holiday who can acknowledge the notice given, I would be up front about this application now so you know what to do when the time comes.
I changed jobs during Mat leave for career progression too, I don't regret the financial loss at all!

ellesbellesxxx Sat 15-Jun-19 07:23:09

Teachers have to return for 13 weeks in order to not pay back their OMP so double check how long you would have to go back for in order to not pay it back.

ellesbellesxxx Sat 15-Jun-19 07:25:28

Oh and I was told that it would all have to be paid back.. not just a percentage so just check carefully!

IrishMamaMia Sat 15-Jun-19 07:27:53

Find out what the minimum amount of weeks you have to return are. You might have to pay a portion of the maternity leave back.
Sometimes academies peg their maternity terms and conditions to the local council ones but sometimes they make their own. Is there someone at school that deals with HR that you could ask?
Put the job application in anyway and see what happens smile

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Sat 15-Jun-19 07:28:25

Teachers have to return for 13 weeks in order to not pay back their OMP so double check how long you would have to go back for in order to not pay it back

Thank you. If that's the case shouldn't it be clearly stated in the Maternity policy? It all seems very vague you "^may^" have to repay "all or part" of the OMP but no explanation as to how they decide if you do or don't and if it's the whole amount or not.

OP’s posts: |
outofnothing Sat 15-Jun-19 07:35:40

It says all or part because it depends on how long you return for.
Speak to HR and get a definitive response based on your own particular circumstances.

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Sat 15-Jun-19 07:42:27

Speak to HR and get a definitive response based on your own particular circumstances

Thank you. I will do this. Will the HR Manager be obliged to inform the Head that I've contacted her? I realise i'd have to inform the Head if I decided to apply for the job. But since theres no point in me even applying if actually getting the job would mean having to repay my Mat pay (can't afford it unfortunately) I'd rather the Head didn't hear about it at this stage.

OP’s posts: |
TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sat 15-Jun-19 07:45:38

How much notice do you have to give?

bookgirl1982 Sat 15-Jun-19 07:46:15

The 'green book' which was the standard support staff t&cs before academies, says that any occupational maternity pay would be repaid if you don't return for three months.

backfarblackcar Sat 15-Jun-19 07:47:50

Did they pay you anything? Or did you just receive statutory pay? If you received anything over smp after 6 weeks that's all they can ask for.

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Sat 15-Jun-19 07:50:49

Does the Green Book apply to support staff as well as Teachers? I've never heard any mention of it and I've been working in a school for three years!

Yes, I did receive OMP as well as SMP.

OP’s posts: |
MinisterforCheekyFuckery Sat 15-Jun-19 07:52:00

How much notice do you have to give?

I'm not sure, I would have to check with HR.

OP’s posts: |
outofnothing Sat 15-Jun-19 08:22:17

Burgundy book - teachers.
Green book - support staff.

FrankT Sat 15-Jun-19 08:24:31

Absolutely apply, no rules against it

Mammyloveswine Sat 15-Jun-19 08:41:02

Did you get paid enhanced pay on top of statutory maternity? If so yes you will either have to work a notice period or repay some or all if your notice period isn't long enough. Speak to hr. they won't tell your head.

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Sat 15-Jun-19 08:54:57

Thank you all so much for your replies.

My OMP was 6 weeks at 9/10ths of my salary, then 12 weeks at half pay then it was just SMP.

So from reading all your responses my understanding is that I wouldn't have to pay back the first 6 weeks OMP, just the 12 weeks half pay minus however many weeks I am back in my current job. So if my notice period is one month (I'm fairly sure it is but need to check) then I could officially hand in my notice at the beginning of August ready for a September start (although I would tell them earlier that I was going), then I would potentially only have to pay back a month at 1/2 pay. Does that sound about right?

Obviously I will double check all this with HR but it seems it's not as grim as I first thought and it may be worth me applying for the job afterall.

OP’s posts: |

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