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Maternity Pay Length of Service/Qualifying Period

(23 Posts)
FreakingOutRightNow Tue 10-Dec-19 21:52:01

Hi all

The maternity policy at my company had an insane  qualifying period. 3 years of service by 25 weeks pregnant. So, essentially 3 years and 3 months service by the time you are full term. I think this is insane and want it changed, not just for me but for all women working there.

Having such a prolonged length of service requirement simply leads to women putting it off for longer, potentially impacting on their ability to conceive. I also worry that if a female colleague who fell pregnant with less than the qualifying period of service who was in an abusive or coercive relationship. She potentially wouldn't be able to leave with this ridiculous policy.

Has anyone heard of such a long service requirement before?

Has anyone any advice for me on trying to get this changed? I have already been told by colleagues that I will be labelled troublesome if I challenge the powers that be. I think we need to keep pushing these things to realise any progress.

OP’s posts: |
NamechangeoutedbyMIL Tue 10-Dec-19 21:59:07

I am assuming you are talking about an enhanced policy, i.e not SMP for which the qualifying period is much shorter.

If so, that is already very generous. I don't know of any company that still offers enhanced materbity pay anymore, all scrapped for SMP long ago so I wouldn't rock the boat.

Also, why would or should your employer care that its putting people off conceiving? They don't, quite frankly, give a shit. It's a business, to make money.

I actually agree with the qualifying period for enhanced pay.

FreakingOutRightNow Tue 10-Dec-19 22:00:47

Yes, sorry I forgot the word enhanced in the title. That is clearly what I mean. A company would be breaking the law if they refused to pay SMP for three years. Thank you for your contribution !

OP’s posts: |
Niki93 Tue 10-Dec-19 22:02:55

Yeah, im wondering if you misinterpreted the policy. Everyone qualifies for maternity leave as long as they’ve worked in the job 26 weeks.

For SMP, Again i think its 26 weeks. My policy suggests that if worked 3+ years service, the im entitled to 18 weeks full pay, the rest smp. So its actually generous and il get just under 5 months full pay. Is that maybe what the policy says? As in, if you worked for 3 years you get 3 months full pay then the rest at smp? I could be wrong x

Niki93 Tue 10-Dec-19 22:04:44

I mean some organisations dont offer any enhancements based on length of service...so it totally depends from company to company. I know nissan offers 6 months full pay for their staff (females). The males only get two weeks full pay. Its pretty inequal but god i would not complain with 6months full! X

cabbageking Tue 10-Dec-19 22:07:32

I think you find out why they settled on that amount? Was there a historical reason or actually is this the only way they will offer it? Is their workforce predominately women of child bearing age? Was it different before? Was the cost prohibitive and what is it now? Approach it from a business point of view, find out the costs and then list the benefits.

squee123 Tue 10-Dec-19 22:12:55

I think a lot depends on the industry and whether they are looking to increase the number of women in the workforce. In my line of work 6 months full pay after two years' service is pretty standard, but all the firms are looking to increase the number of women in senior roles so want people to stay when they have kids

xtinak Tue 10-Dec-19 22:13:18

* I don't know of any company that still offers enhanced materbity pay anymore, all scrapped for SMP long ago*

Interesting, because of my peers I feel like I'm the only person who didn't get an enhanced package so I have been feeling like the odd one out. I thought enhanced pay was common.

FreakingOutRightNow Tue 10-Dec-19 22:18:22

Agree with you @xtinak on this one. Perhaps in certain industries SMP is all women are getting? Regardless of length of service? Grim.

OP’s posts: |
FreakingOutRightNow Tue 10-Dec-19 22:20:04

Thanks @cabbageking. The management is mostly male and the staff is mostly female aged 25-40.

OP’s posts: |
wintertime6 Tue 10-Dec-19 22:20:18

I agree with you, but you'd be taking a risk that, by rocking the boat, the company may end up just deciding to scrap the current policy and only give SMP to everyone, which they'd be well within their rights to do. Which could end up with a lot of people being very angry with you. So I'd be very wary of taking a stand unless you knew you had full support from your colleagues.

wintertime6 Tue 10-Dec-19 22:21:37

I only got SMP and I think that's quite common unless you work in the NHS, teaching, civil service etc?

NamechangeoutedbyMIL Tue 10-Dec-19 22:22:21

To be fair, all my experience, and that of friends, colleagues etc is oil and gas based which has been in turmoil for years now so all enhanced benefits were stopped several years ago... I do kind of live in an oil and gas bubble.

FreakingOutRightNow Tue 10-Dec-19 22:34:04

I agree with you *@wintertime6*. I am not going to take this forward alone. I need colleagues to rally.

@wintertime6 and @NamechangeoutedbyMIL in graduate level roles and professional service firms, enhanced maternity pay is very common. All female staff in my company are entitled to it, after three+ years of service.

OP’s posts: |
wintertime6 Tue 10-Dec-19 22:39:26

@FreakingOutRightNow I'm in a professional role, was earning around 50k when I went on mat leave, and our company didn't offer enhanced maternity pay. That's quite normal here unless you're in the NHS etc, but maybe it's a regional thing too.

wellhellohi Tue 10-Dec-19 22:40:05

You haven't said what the enhanced package is? If it is generous that may be why they state 3 years. If they reduce the length of service you may find they reduce the package.

FreakingOutRightNow Tue 10-Dec-19 22:43:22

I think what annoys me @wintertime6 is that they offer it, like a carrot dangling in front of you, but you have to give us 3+ years before you pop one off. There are a whole host of reasons why women might want to get on with it before then (i.e. age, health conditions, etc). What if a woman waited and then discovered she couldnt get pregnant? She will always wonder could she have gotten pregnant 1.5 to 2 years previous. Offer it or don't offer it, it is the halfway house that frustrates me.

Do let me know if you dont agree.

OP’s posts: |
FreakingOutRightNow Tue 10-Dec-19 22:44:58

@wellhellohi it is 15 weeks pay (with a clawback provision for ¼ of that for mums who dont come back to work. I dont think that is anything to write home about.

OP’s posts: |
DesMartinsPetCat Tue 10-Dec-19 22:54:13

There are a whole host of reasons why women might want to get on with it before then

And none of those reasons are a concern of the employer.

I also worry that if a female colleague who fell pregnant with less than the qualifying period of service who was in an abusive or coercive relationship. She potentially wouldn't be able to leave with this ridiculous policy

Again, that’s a ridiculous thing to lay at the door of an employer.
What if an employee in an abusive relationship was coerced to stay to maintain health insurance or pension benefits?
What if a woman with 4 years of service was coerced in to getting pregnant to take advantage of the enhanced pay? Would you argue that SMP only should apply?

OP, I think you need to disclose your own circumstance here. How long have you been with the company? Are you currently pregnant? If not, are you planning on becoming pregnant?

Enhanced maternity pay is a benefit. There has to be a reasonable return for the employer.

jelly79 Tue 10-Dec-19 23:08:47

Most places don't offer anything other than SMP now or enhanced packages aren't that much so this is a benefit that is at the discretion of the company.

I'd suggest you would need to make a commercial justification rather than attempt an emotional one to get them to listen.

FreakingOutRightNow Wed 11-Dec-19 08:21:56

@jelly79 honestly, there is no commercial justification. Looking at it commercially, if I was in charge and it wasn't against the law, I would ditch all the pregnant and part time mums and train up the male juniors to their roles. Guaranteed they won't be asking for maternity leave or flexible working.

OP’s posts: |
Booberella9 Wed 11-Dec-19 08:30:12

You might be able to take the angle that competitors firms are using a shorter qualifying period e.g. 2 years.

Otherwise they're not going to give a shit.

My employer has a 2y period. I've been working there over 3 years but because it was across more than 1 role I was denied due to starting a new contract and not having continous employment. Even rang my union and they said this was legal.

Just for you to think about. Firms can and do find ways to screw women out of even the pitiful enhanced packages on offer.

These days I'd find it odd for a woman of age 20-30 to stay in a role for more than 1.5-2 years. To progress one has to change role and usually employer. So a period of 3y might just be cynical on the firm's part, the typical employee might not stay there that length of time and they know that.

shadyzadie Wed 11-Dec-19 08:33:19

Higher education here. After 1 year of service maternity pay is 18 weeks at full pay, followed by 21 weeks at SMP, which is pretty standard across the sector, at least in Russell Group universities. Some universities offer more (22-26 weeks full pay). There is a huge drive across the sector to recruit and retain female academics and to increase our proportion of senior staff who are female though. And we're unionised!

Having said that, I know quite a few private sector professionals who have similarly generous arrangements (lawyers, accountants), but not sure what their length of service criteria is.

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