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Advice on sick leave and handing notice in *please*(21 Posts)
I wasn't sure where to post but I'm really struggling with my employer. They really haven't been great with me since a few years ago when I miscarried and needed a week off due to complications with it. Since then they have treated me quite unfairly and different to a colleague. (We both went on maternity leave but she was made a fuss off and got a leaving do, I got nothing. She also gets paid more and given more praise.) I work my arse off and go above and beyond and quite frankly I can't do it anymore.
Due to a number of things going on in life ATM, I won't go into detail but I'm exhausted from it all and feel burnt out. I'm due to return to work very soon and as policy I need to "work off" my maternity pay for 3 months.
My doctor wants to sign me off sick but I don't feel like that will change anything but I do need the time to take some pressure off right now. (Apart from taking a week off after one of my miscarriages, I haven't been on sick leave)
But here's my question; can I go on sick leave then hand my notice in so that I never have to return, without it affecting the maternity pay I've received? They've worn me down so badly that I've lost all confidence and just can't bear to face them.
Sorry for the long post but I'm absolutely desperate.
Btw I have name changed as a colleague knew my username
I did this, was on long term sick leave and resigned , I didn’t go back and the relief was amazing.
Oh I can imagine the relief now! @Sofacat were you on maternity leave at all?
Get yourself signed off sick if you need it, first and foremost. Anything else can follow on from that.
You should check with CAB or ACAS about whether signed-off-sick time counts against your three months post-mat leave. I'd hope it would.
I'm sorry to hear about this OP, I know how you feel. I felt passed over, unappreciated and it effected my mental health big time. It's amazing how much work can effect you and it's hard to just quit.
Read your maternity leave policy.
At my work (NHS) I can't leave within 2 months after I'm back from mat leave, the 2 months includes annual leave. If I leave before it says I'll owe the trust part or all my maternity pay. Not sure about sick leave but if yours doesn't say you could call HR without giving your name and ask.
Also don't discount taking sick leave, I did and it meant I could just concentrate on myself for a bit. I did worry what was being said at work. I had to just put it out of my head.
Thank you all so much for replying and being so kind. It really is so hard to take, it's completely messed me up mentally. I've worked there for 7 years and feel stupid for staying there so long.
It will all depend upon what your work’s maternity policy says (and many of them don’t really seem to go into enough detail to specify which leaves it a bit of a grey area).
If you get full pay whilst you are sick, there is no reason for you to not be signed off for as long as you are not well enough to return and save that money so you can use it to repay your maternity pay if needed. Do remember though, all your statutory pay is yours regardless; it’s only the additional enhanced bit on top of SMP.
I hope you feel much better soon and get a kinder, better job.
You need to simply submit your return to work date. Then hand in your sicknote from that date. You can hand your resignation in at any point that is sufficient for the 3 months notice period re pay.
Thank you all so much. I feel better just for asking for help to be honest. Gutted though because I've been digging through the policy and finally found where it says that I cannot be on sickness absence for it to count towards me "working off maternity pay".
They're also trying to make out like they don't owe me a week's extra holiday.. ridiculous! I really don't have the fight in me anymore. I'm already going to struggle financially if I quit, let alone pay back maternity pay. I don't know what I'm going to do but I really feel at rock bottom.
Thank you all again for your advice.
I would take some sick leave, don't let worrying about work put you off. I know you don't want to but I honest think it's the best thing you can do. After you've had some leave go back and finish whatever's left of your payback period. At least after a break things might seem better to get through this period.
I don't no how enforceable the payback it, also it would rely on you manager having the time and being bothered to sort it out.
Alternatively look into unpaid leave or career break, it won't go towards your pay back but at least you won't be there.
Talk to/join a union for advice another option.
Apart from repaying your maternity pay, I see two main options :
1. If you are sure you need to leave, think about how to get through your notice period in the best way. If you can return part-time, would you still only have to complete two calendar months at work before you can resign /leave? Perhaps some responsibilities or processes or colleagues have changed while you were off, so the job won't be exactly the same anyway?
2. Give the job a second chance. The things that annoyed you before may not seem as important now. With your new priorities as a parent, perhaps you'll be able to just leave work and not bring the stresses home. If you can do this you may also regain some self-esteem, rather than feeling like you couldn't cope or aren't up to it. So for example, decide to try to make a go of the job, and say that you'll give it x months then decide what to do longer term.
Option 2 just wouldn't work... This feeling has been going on years and it's just getting worse there. I honestly don't know how they get away with some of the things they've done (like 8k pay difference even though we share jobs/tasks and do the same!)
The manager even said before I left I could change my hours but instead he's refusing to acknowledge he said that and gave the colleague the better hours even though we asked as the same time and to agree between us (his suggestion). I was too exhausted, mentally and physically stupid to record any of this to use against him so now I'm stuck.
Do you annual leave to take?
I would change to part time hours, take you annual leave and hand your notice in during this period. I've had several colleagues do this and they've only had to return for a few days. One then went off sick right at the end was came in for a day in total from memory.
@hmmimnotsure yeah I have some annual leave to take which thankfully counts towards repaying the maternity pay. But as you say I'd still have to go in for a few weeks and I really don't want to see them and let them make me feel even worse because I'm not sure my mental health can take it
Is it the sort of role where you could do some or any of your work from home?
One of my colleagues was signed off with PND for 6 months from the end of her mat leave, and was then supported to do a very gentle phased return over eight weeks so I think she started on 2 mornings a week and very gradually worked up to being full time again. Could you talk to your GP/occupational health and see if that would be possible? If that phased return counted towards your 3 months then you'd only have another month to get through before you could leave.
how much maternity pay did you get? it's only the extra that is over SMP that can be reclaimed - the standard minimum never has to be repaid even if you never intended to go back.
Being signed off sick doesn’t count towards paying off maternity pay? I’m really shocked by that. I would contact ACAS and ask their advice.
@LeglessGiraffe technically I can do my job from home (the colleague I mentioned regularly does this, but I'm not allowed to). Phased return could be an option but then it'd be dragging out the paying back of mat pay.
@TalaxuArmiuna I'm not sure off the top of my head but it was more than I could afford.
@Scarydinosaurs I know.. it seems wrong considering I get sick pay anyway - I would've thought it'd be ok as they allow annual leave to be used.
well for an example, of someone's normal full time salary is £30k, the minimum statutory maternity pay would be £7,906 (6 weeks at 90% then 33 weeks SMP rate) and the employer can't make someone repay that part - it is theirs for keeps.
a "typical" enhanced package might upgrade this to eg 8 weeks at 100%, 8 weeks at 50% then 23 weeks SMP - total £10,262. in this example if the employee didn't return to work the employer can only reclaim the extra ie £10,262 - £7,906 = £2,356.
Additionally they can't force you into hardship by demanding repayment that is beyond your means. They can certainly pocket the pay for the paid annual leave accrued during maternity leave. In the example above that would actually be more than the amount owed, so not a penny to pay. so get some figures and do the maths (I'm happy to help if needed) as you may be stressing about this unnecessarily, there may be nothing to worry about.