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Maternity Pay for new employee

2 replies

debster · 06/06/2002 14:34

I hope spomeone can help. I would really appreciate some advice.

Some of you may know that I recently started a new job whilst pregnant. When I start my maternity leave I will have been employed for 24 weeks. When I started work I checked my staff handbook for its policy on maternity pay and leave. It only talks about pay dependant on whether you have been an employee for less than or over a year, i.e. SMP for the former, Occupational Maternity Pay for the latter. This is as I expected. It also has the same information on the intranet version (which I checked just to make sure there hadn't been any changes). This is the local authority by the way. When I received confirmation from personnel as to my benefits they first of all sent me a letter stating what was in the handbook. They then sent another letter telling me to ignore what was in the first one. Lo and behold the second one stated that as I won't have been employed by them for 26 weeks by the 15th week before EDC they wouldn't be paying SMP and I would have to apply for Maternity Allowance benefit. When I pointed out that this was not mentioned in the handbook (which formed part of the terms and conditions that I and the council signed up to in my contract)they said it was Government legislation and they couldn't write down every thing in the handbook. My argument was that as I hadn't signed up for this they couldn't use it. They could only go by what was in the handbook. It seems to me they have found a loophole and are trying to use it.

What does anyone think? Is it worth me pursuing this? I realise it's the council but surely they must have been faced with this situation before. If so why haven't they updated their policies? I would be grateful for any advice you could give.

Thanks in advance.

OP posts:

sis · 06/06/2002 15:04

sorry Debster, I don't think the contractual entitlement argument will work unless the co handbook was very clear about the actual amounts involved. Also, they could argue that SMP for those without the 26 weeks service before the EDC is £0. Finally, most company handbooks state that the teerms within are not contractually binding and the employer reserves the right to amend the contents from time to time - so if you do persue it, they could just amend the handbook before you start maternity leave.

Once again, sorry I can't be more optimistic on your behalf but if you feel strongly enough about it, by all means insist on the money and/or contact the maternity alliance(sorry, I can never find their number when i need it, but try directory enquiries or the phone book.)


Mopsy · 06/06/2002 16:59

Local Authority personnel teams are renowned for being not what they should be (don't know why but certainly true IME).

Are you a member of UNISON? They can be great.

If not I'd suggest visiting your local CAB for legal advice. Meanwhile keep a record of all conversations and correspondence.

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