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    • SamDude
    • By SamDude 4th May 17, 2:46 PM
    • 212Posts
    • 73Thanks
    NHS extending maternity leave
    • #1
    • 4th May 17, 2:46 PM
    NHS extending maternity leave 4th May 17 at 2:46 PM
    Hi all,

    A question from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous, so lets call her Beth.

    She works in the NHS and has taken 12 months maternity leave, the last 3 months of it have been unpaid.
    The maternity leave is ending soon and she is due to return to work soon, but has childcare issues and will not have a nanny or nursery place for a few more weeks.

    She has worked in the NHS for around 10 years and she has been paid the enhanced maternity pay. She knows that it will be claimed back if she does not return to work. While looking through the NHS !!!8220;Agenda for Change!!!8221;(?) employment terms, it states that she must return back to work within 15 months or the pay will be clawed back.

    She is trying to extend the unpaid leave (or parental leave) by 3 months and then return to work within the 15 months so her maternity pay does not need to be paid back.

    Her line manager is not being sympathetic to her request. She does not think the 15 months leave request is within the HR policy and has escalated it to HR to confirm (even though it is 12 months maternity with 3 months unpaid leave added on). In the meantime, the line manager has given the option to return to work (either full time or part time) or find other employment in the NHS. This is very upsetting and unfortunately the HR person has not been around so it has been sitting in limbo for a few weeks as the line manager has not chased it. Beth is surprised that there is only one HR person that can deal with it and nothing has been done for 7/8 weeks since she asked for the extra leave with plenty of notice. Beth thinks it may be a delaying tactic and she will then be given the ultimatum to return to work or leave her job when the 12 months are up.

    In summary, Beth has taken 12 months maternity leave and is asking for 3 months additional unpaid leave !!!8211; this will be just under 15 months, which means she can return to work without the enhanced maternity pay being clawed back.

    She enjoys her job and was looking forward to returning to work, but the situation and treatment by her manager is making her very stressed.

    Can someone with HR knowledge (particularly in NHS HR?) help answer if this request is possible and reasonable?, and if Beth has any additional or protected rights due to her maternity? (e.g. higher consideration for her parental/unpaid leave request, not being told to reduce her hours or basically leave).

    Thanks all.
Page 2
    • warby68
    • By warby68 5th May 17, 5:39 AM
    • 928 Posts
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    If she likes her job (and her colleagues) she might want to consider how they will view her if she continues to try to extract more leave when terms are already quite generous.

    Its very easy to enter a kind of bubble when you have your first child and (not necessarily consciously) believe that the world should revolve around that situation when actually your requests are a bit unreasonable.

    Her reasons are relatively weak to the outside world and, to my mind, cast doubt on her commitment to come back. What if the chosen nursery still has no place? Its not very convincing that over 12m of leave she hasn't secured a place and still wants another 3-4m.

    Sorry to be harsh but I've been there and done that - juggling childcare and work- and when leave was much shorter than 12m to get prepared. An awful lot of compromise and planning required and the bad news is that it continues for quite a while

    Can dad not cover her return to work temporarily or can she work different hours for a while if she insists on holding out for first choice nursery?
    • GwylimT
    • By GwylimT 5th May 17, 6:50 AM
    • 6,090 Posts
    • 11,399 Thanks
    Why doesn't the childs dad just take unpaid leave?
    • SamDude
    • By SamDude 19th May 17, 11:53 AM
    • 212 Posts
    • 73 Thanks
    Why doesn't the childs dad just take unpaid leave?
    Originally posted by GwylimT
    That would have been the first option, but was not possible.

    Beth has been able to find a short-term childminder while she returns to work.
    Thanks all for your posts, she did calm down after seeing that her line manager was following the policy. She would have liked some more consideration, but don't we all...
    • warby68
    • By warby68 22nd May 17, 7:30 AM
    • 928 Posts
    • 9,520 Thanks
    Thanks for the update.

    Its good to see an outcome - often the threads end without one.
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