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Covid-19 - Maternity leave, when to take it?

9 replies

ChickenDipper28 · 04/07/2020 10:23


I was just wondering when everyone was beginning their maternity leave? I was told at my 16 week appointment that the advice is to start maternity leave at 28 weeks due to the risk of Covid-19. I'm now 26 weeks and off work at the moment, but no idea how much longer for. I haven't seen the midwife since my 16 week appointment so I have no idea if the advice has changed now?
I want maternity leave to start as late as possible but I don't mind taking it early if there's a higher risk of anything happening to my baby as I'd rather be safer than sorry. Any advice will be much appreciated!

Thank you ☺️

OP posts:
PurpleGoose · 04/07/2020 10:34

Quick reply as wrangling children, more details can be found via

My understanding is that your employer must complete a risk assessment for each pregnant staff member, which should be reviewed throughout pregnancy (regardless of Covid). Based on this risk assessment your duties should be amended and changed where necessary to keep you safe and well, if this isn't possible then you shouldn't be at work, but even if working from home isn't possible you should still receive full pay.

You can't be forced to take early maternity leave because of Covid or any other health and safety risk in the workplace. Not sure why your midwife was suggesting early maternity leave purely because of Covid - this shouldn't be necessary.

There are other rules around pregnancy and sickness triggering early maternity leave, but that doesn't seem to be what you're talking about.

islandislandisland · 04/07/2020 10:39

I'm 27 weeks and taking mine from my due date with a couple weeks holiday before. I think as long as you aren't doing something for work where you're customer facing/work with a high volume of people and your workplace is either able to set you up at home or has their office set up for social distancing then I would stay on. Anticipating childcare struggles the other side of maternity leave so I don't want to start it ages before the baby is even here myself. Neither my midwife or consultant have advised any different.

1990shopefulftm · 04/07/2020 10:46

Have you spoken to your work about when you might be back?
For me I felt that a risk assessment would likely say I would be safe as they could provide the 2m distance despite me being pregnant and asthmatic but I felt for the sake of my mental health (I can't imagine how I would fully concentrate on my job for 8 hours a day whilst making sure that I didn't get too close into contact with anybody and baring in mind at best I ll have to use the toilet twice in that time) that since there was no date in sight as to when we would return and no guarantee it d be more than a few days notice, I ve put in my request to start leave at 28 weeks.

The advice to be more careful at 28 weeks still stands I believe at the moment but the studies showing that it's more dangerous at that point didn't have that many participants so it's not set in stone in the government guidelines yet.

ChickenDipper28 · 04/07/2020 11:16

@PurpleGoose @islandislandisland @1990shopefulftm

Thank you all for your replies! I've had no contact from work regarding the situation or any updates so I'm just unsure of the whole thing! I've been off since the first trimester, but that started with sickness and now I'm currently on paid leave for being pregnant. I'm guessing the latest that I will be on paid leave will be until August 1st as that's when they have announced vulnerable people can go back to work (I'll be 30 weeks then). My work hasn't done any sort of risk assessment since I became pregnant.

I work nights doing 9 hour shifts in a supermarket, so although it's quieter during the night, there's a lot of customers coming in and out during the day.

I just feel like I'm not getting any information or support as I haven't really seen a midwife at all and I get no communication from work!

OP posts:
PurpleGoose · 04/07/2020 11:18

@1990shopefulftm your risk assessment should also address toilet sharing (you shouldn't be) and your mental health, not just physical. You can also take maternity leave earlier than your stated date if it's due to health and safety concerns not being addressed satisfactorily.

1990shopefulftm · 04/07/2020 11:25

@PurpleGoose Unless there's provision to use the disabled toilet which is much less people who can use it , but still shared, there's no way round the toilet sharing issue.

My chosen date is only 3 weeks earlier( as I d wanted to finish quite early with the joint issues I ve been getting anyway) than originally planned so it felt like a fair bit of a fight for the sake of not much time.

sel2223 · 04/07/2020 12:33

It really depends on your job, the risks involved etc.

I'm 34 weeks now and have just started 4 weeks annual leave then will take maternity from 38 weeks.
I've been WFH since March and didn't want to go back for a few weeks so this was the best solution for me.

dementedpixie · 04/07/2020 12:39

the earliest you can start it is 29 weeks. Are you shielding? I thought it was pregnant women with other underlying issues that were at most risk rather than all pregnant women. Are you getting sick pay at the moment?

ChickenDipper28 · 04/07/2020 12:47

@sel2223 @dementedpixie

I work 9 hour night shifts in a supermarket 😩 I guess even on nights it's still difficult to maintain social distancing, but not as bad as days.

I'm not on the extremely vulnerable list, although I do have asthma. I am getting full paid absence from work at the moment due to just being pregnant (all pregnant women) so it's not counted as sick pay.

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