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  • FIRST POST
    • Adriana87
    • By Adriana87 20th Apr 17, 5:32 PM
    • 1Posts
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    Adriana87
    Work just withdrew my maternity pay
    • #1
    • 20th Apr 17, 5:32 PM
    Work just withdrew my maternity pay 20th Apr 17 at 5:32 PM
    Hi, new here and wondering if I can get an answer on the below.

    I started a new job back in September/October and soon found out that I was pregnant. I told my manager straight away and they were great to me throughout up to the day I left on maternity. Because I was not with my employer for X amount of time, I was not entitled to maternity pay and instead started to apply for maternity allowance as soon as I found out I was pregnant.

    When I went to the HR office (this was when I told my manager I was pregnant) to get the form I needed to apply for maternity allowance, I was told in no uncertain terms that I don't need is as the company pay maternity pay regardless of how long you have been with the company. I questioned this and got it confirmed 3 times, 2 times with the head of HR and even got sent a payment schedule early on and on the day I left.

    As I was never expecting this, it obviously changed our financial outlook. Instead of saving cash, we put whatever money we were earning towards paying of debts, home improvements and generally not saving for the rainy days where we will effectively be on one salary. My husband even took a gamble and started a new job because we weren't going to be as reliant on just his salary as we thought.

    I gave birth last week and it hasn't been easy so far. Despite an uneventful delivery, my daughter has been in and out of hospital with bleeding, jaundice and loss of weight. In fact, I am typing this from the hospital where earlier today my work gave a call and said they made a mistake and that I am not entitled to maternity pay. I was in tears and told them so. They could not give a proper explanation and simply kept repeating I am not eligible as I have not been working with the company long enough.

    This is something that was confirmed by HR members and the head of HR. I was given a payment schedule and told on numerous occasions that I will get maternity pay despite my length of service.

    This is not ideal for a number of reasons but wanted to know is it one of those things I have to get on with or can I possibly take action against them?
Page 1
    • _shel
    • By _shel 20th Apr 17, 6:02 PM
    • 942 Posts
    • 1,697 Thanks
    _shel
    • #2
    • 20th Apr 17, 6:02 PM
    • #2
    • 20th Apr 17, 6:02 PM
    Take action for what? You aren't entitled and they made a mistake. An apology should suffice.
    Thanks to everyone who posts competitions
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 20th Apr 17, 6:29 PM
    • 4,269 Posts
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    marliepanda
    • #3
    • 20th Apr 17, 6:29 PM
    • #3
    • 20th Apr 17, 6:29 PM
    You knew that it was 'unlikely' due to the three times confirmation. No company could afford to run like this.

    They've made a mistake. You also made a mistake spending your money and relying on it before it was paid. Most people spend the months before baby saving and not improving their home with all their money.
    Survey Earnings 2017 - £163
    • Floss
    • By Floss 20th Apr 17, 6:34 PM
    • 3,445 Posts
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    Floss
    • #4
    • 20th Apr 17, 6:34 PM
    • #4
    • 20th Apr 17, 6:34 PM
    I think you need to write an email to your line manager and Head of HR, asking for clarification of the "error", and also proposing how you will repay the overpayment (realistically).

    Also, can you apply for Maternity Allowance now?
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 20th Apr 17, 7:03 PM
    • 4,269 Posts
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    marliepanda
    • #5
    • 20th Apr 17, 7:03 PM
    • #5
    • 20th Apr 17, 7:03 PM
    I mean it may even be that they pay full maternity even if you've only been there the qualifying time, (not all do for short terms) but no company is gonna pay full when you were pregnant before starting.
    Survey Earnings 2017 - £163
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 20th Apr 17, 7:11 PM
    • 1,289 Posts
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    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • #6
    • 20th Apr 17, 7:11 PM
    • #6
    • 20th Apr 17, 7:11 PM
    I think you need to write an email to your line manager and Head of HR, asking for clarification of the "error", and also proposing how you will repay the overpayment (realistically).

    Also, can you apply for Maternity Allowance now?
    Originally posted by Floss
    Why are you assuming there has been an overpayment?
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 20th Apr 17, 9:04 PM
    • 2,919 Posts
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    sangie595
    • #7
    • 20th Apr 17, 9:04 PM
    • #7
    • 20th Apr 17, 9:04 PM
    Ok, so they made an error - several times, which suggests they are idiots!

    And yes, it was very silly to spend up your money no matter what you thought was coming in - anything could have happened and you'd have not a penny to fall back on. Which has happened.

    And no, you can't "take action" against them - and even thinking in those terms is the fastest route to unemployment I know. There are times to make a stand, and when got are on weak ground and without two years employment is not one of those times.

    And isn't hindsight a wonderful thing? We all know better when it isn't us that did something stupid! Let's see if we can do anything to fix this.... And by the way, congratulations on your new daughter, and I think we all genuinely wish the best for her in this difficult time.

    So yes, there stupidity all around here. Your HR need a good boll*** ing for making a screw up this bad. I have pondered this, and I think a grievance without it being a grievance. You're in enough trouble without winding up the stakes. A calm but very strong letter to your most senior manager, going through all this in great detail, with copies ( not the originals! ) of both letters confirming the maternity pay summaries. Start the story with why you went to HR, what they said to you, and cover it step by step in detail. Explain that this has put you in an impossible situation because you had planned around the information provided to you, not just once but several times and by didn't people in HR including the head of HR. Ask them what they are going to do about the position that THEY have put you in through no fault of your own. Copy in your own manager, and also make it clear that you aren't blaming them at all - they had no party in the mess. You want them on side, not thinking you are gunning for them.

    And the answer you get may be "nothing", in which case I think you need to let it lie. But it may prompt someone to make a gesture.

    Either way, enjoy your time with your daughter. And when it comes time to return to work, join a union - a union MIGHT have been able to provide more leverage, and at the very least you wouldn't have been dealing with this on your own.

    And get a nest egg behind you as soon as you can. There is always a rainy day!
    • chanie
    • By chanie 20th Apr 17, 9:08 PM
    • 1,500 Posts
    • 6,894 Thanks
    chanie
    • #8
    • 20th Apr 17, 9:08 PM
    • #8
    • 20th Apr 17, 9:08 PM
    I'm going to disagree with the majority here and say that the way the OP has been treated is appalling - I work in HR and generally tow the party line!!!

    If the OP received a payment schedule and the company confirmed on numerous occasions that she was entitled to company maternit pay, why would she think otherwise?

    OP, the only course of action you have is to take out a grievance and explain this has caused you financial hardship. I don't know the rules for maternity allowance, but you should look into that ASAP as there are likely to be time limits.
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    • pioneer22
    • By pioneer22 20th Apr 17, 10:22 PM
    • 365 Posts
    • 138 Thanks
    pioneer22
    • #9
    • 20th Apr 17, 10:22 PM
    • #9
    • 20th Apr 17, 10:22 PM
    OP I am so pleased your daughter is here and wish you best well.

    You should get MA if you apply ASAP they should ask you when you finished work and they might backdate it for you.

    As for the work situation, what a bunch of idiots I suggest you do as Sangie has said.

    Hope it works out for you.
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 20th Apr 17, 10:36 PM
    • 4,708 Posts
    • 5,936 Thanks
    theoretica
    If you will get less maternity allowance through their mistake then I would hope you could get the difference from work.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • Kayalana99
    • By Kayalana99 20th Apr 17, 10:47 PM
    • 3,187 Posts
    • 5,704 Thanks
    Kayalana99
    "To satisfy the continuous employment rule you must have been employed by your employer for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks into the qualifying week.

    The qualifying week is the 15th week before the week in which the baby is due."

    Have you checked yourself if you are able to get it? I don't understand this whole 26 weeks / 15th week quote above, but 26 weeks is around 7 months and you have been there 7 months, working, have you not?
    People don't know what they want until you show them.
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 20th Apr 17, 10:53 PM
    • 4,269 Posts
    • 8,414 Thanks
    marliepanda
    "To satisfy the continuous employment rule you must have been employed by your employer for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks into the qualifying week.

    The qualifying week is the 15th week before the week in which the baby is due."

    Have you checked yourself if you are able to get it? I don't understand this whole 26 weeks / 15th week quote above, but 26 weeks is around 7 months and you have been there 7 months, working, have you not?
    Originally posted by Kayalana99
    By my reckoning OP started whilst already pregnant so SMP isn't going to apply.

    You've misquoted, it's 'upto' the 15th week before the baby is due' not 'in to' you have to have been employed for 26 weeks before then to qualify formSMP.

    The only thing to apply for is maternity allowance.
    Survey Earnings 2017 - £163
    • pioneer22
    • By pioneer22 20th Apr 17, 11:00 PM
    • 365 Posts
    • 138 Thanks
    pioneer22
    By my reckoning OP started whilst already pregnant so SMP isn't going to apply.

    You've misquoted, it's 'upto' the 15th week before the baby is due' not 'in to' you have to have been employed for 26 weeks before then to qualify formSMP.

    The only thing to apply for is maternity allowance.
    Originally posted by marliepanda
    OP was told, she is due Company Enhanced Maternity leave which is what she is challenging her employer about.
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 20th Apr 17, 11:09 PM
    • 4,904 Posts
    • 24,918 Thanks
    bugslet
    Congratulations on your baby and I hope she is well soon.

    I agree with most of what sangie says, write a detailed email and be polite, saying you understand the company's position, but that it has put you in a very difficult position having made plans based on what they told you.

    If it was my firm, I'd feel obliged to honour the commitment. (Without setting a precedent).

    Where I disagree with sangie is the union bit (sorry sangie). I'm the nicest employer I can be, but if you came at me via a union, hell would freeze over before I paid more than a penny that I legally had to. Your employer may of course be more sanguine!

    Good luck and I think some earlier posts were a little harsh.
    Last edited by bugslet; 20-04-2017 at 11:35 PM.
    • Kayalana99
    • By Kayalana99 20th Apr 17, 11:15 PM
    • 3,187 Posts
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    Kayalana99
    Ah ok I get it so they have to be employed for 26 weeks up to the 15th week before the baby is due...so essentially around 41 weeks + 15 weeks of still being pregnat potentially which the OP wouldn't be in.

    If you can, apply for M/Allowance now and get the ball rolling do that.

    There is two things worth considering here, what is legally entitled as standard (SMP) and what a company offers you for M/P.

    If the company said they pay regardless of how long you have worked there, even though they legally don't have to and you have had this confirmed (hopefully in writing...) I don't see how they can back out, a contract can be verbal just as it is non-verbal.

    If I was you, take a breather. You've just had a child, but I would seek out a legal opinion because this isn't a simple mistake, you've been promised something and based your finances around this. Yes everyone makes mistakes, but it is not fair at this stage to withdraw M/Pay after saying for months you are entitled and even giving you a breakdown of what they are going to be paying you to then say 'hang on we legally don't have to so we're not going to'
    People don't know what they want until you show them.
    • stator
    • By stator 21st Apr 17, 12:06 AM
    • 5,476 Posts
    • 3,472 Thanks
    stator
    Start the formal grievance procedure with your employer. Put the basics in a letter.
    It's possible they have formed a contract with you. They may dispute this. Ultimately it would be tested in court. If it got that far it's unlikely you'd keep your job.
    Good luck
    Changing the world, one sarcastic comment at a time.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 21st Apr 17, 12:21 AM
    • 2,919 Posts
    • 4,686 Thanks
    sangie595

    Where I disagree with sangie is the union bit (sorry sangie). I'm the nicest employer I can be, but if you came at me via a union, hell would freeze over before I paid more than a penny that I legally had to. Your employer may of course be more sanguine!
    .
    Originally posted by bugslet
    If you are the nicest possible employer, why would you damn someone for being a union member and asking their union for support. Seems a little contradictory. And if you are the nicest possible employer the union are going to be very happy about that and want to have constructive relationships with you. Good employers are something we value. The advice I have just given the OP would probably be the exact same advice I would give a member. But that member, stuck in a hospital, emotional and worrying over her baby, may appreciate someone else having that conversation. You'd judge the fairness of the situation your HR department created purely based on the fact that she asked her union rep to talk to you? Now that doesn't sound like a fair or rational employer. Which surprises me because you usually make sense!
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 21st Apr 17, 10:15 AM
    • 10,274 Posts
    • 12,154 Thanks
    pmlindyloo
    The latest you can apply for Maternity Allowance is three months after you stop work.

    See here:

    https://www.maternityaction.org.uk/advice-2/mums-dads-scenarios/pregnant-and-benefits/common-maternity-pay-questions/

    It may be worth contacting this organisation for advice particularly if it means that you will lose some MA because of your employer's mistake.

    Also, you will need the appropriate forms and the baby's birth certificate to apply for MA.

    Once you have spoken to Maternity Action it may be worth while including the information about the MA as it will no doubt be problematical receiving the MA as you have already been paid the SMP by your employer.

    Good luck and congratulations on your new arrival!
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 21st Apr 17, 11:34 AM
    • 15,201 Posts
    • 38,192 Thanks
    FBaby
    I expect the confusion arose because of how long pregnant you were when you informed them. I believe that broadly you must fall pregnant no less than 1 month after first date of employment to meet the requirements.

    So if you told them you were pregnant say 8 weeks after starting and they assumed you'd found out and told them as early as is possible ie. 4 weeks it was right to think you'd be entitled. However if when you told them you were already 5 weeks pregnant then you would have just missed the cut off for entitlement.

    In the end if you were so adamant they you were not entitled why didn't you show your evidence as to why you were so certain? Or did you think that if you had it in writing even knowing it was wrong that you'd be protected? If so you took a risk by not keeping the money aside.
    • Kayalana99
    • By Kayalana99 21st Apr 17, 11:48 AM
    • 3,187 Posts
    • 5,704 Thanks
    Kayalana99
    I expect the confusion arose because of how long pregnant you were when you informed them. I believe that broadly you must fall pregnant no less than 1 month after first date of employment to meet the requirements.

    So if you told them you were pregnant say 8 weeks after starting and they assumed you'd found out and told them as early as is possible ie. 4 weeks it was right to think you'd be entitled. However if when you told them you were already 5 weeks pregnant then you would have just missed the cut off for entitlement.

    In the end if you were so adamant they you were not entitled why didn't you show your evidence as to why you were so certain? Or did you think that if you had it in writing even knowing it was wrong that you'd be protected? If so you took a risk by not keeping the money aside.
    Originally posted by FBaby
    Why would she think it would be wrong? Even if legally the company don't have to pay (which OP knew this), the company are entitled to offer whatever they like. If HR and the head of HR both confirmed that they pay maternity pay regardless of how she has worked for the company, why would the OP think otherwise? She actually did the right thing going through the channels to check rather then taking one persons opinion.

    This isn't a case of arguing over what legally she's entitled to, the company fed her false information saying they pay M/leave regardless of how she has been at the company - even giving her a breakdown of payments to only stop it when the actual payment was due!

    I really feel these comments of you should have known better are not helpful (nor justified) as if a company tells you they will support you through M/Leave to then pull the rug out is nothing short of disgraceful.

    OP has done nothing wrong here.
    Last edited by Kayalana99; 21-04-2017 at 11:57 AM.
    People don't know what they want until you show them.
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