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Academy Maternity Pay-please help!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Danielle_M, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Danielle_M

    Danielle_M New commenter

    I have taught for 11 years and worked in my last school for 18 months which was a local authority church school. This September I started a new promotion in 6th form leadership at an Academy Trust school. I have just found out I am expecting my first baby. I am now worried Ill be only entitled to SMP. I feel like I cant ask HR if they abide by the Burgundy book as I am only 5 weeks pregnant and its far to early to tell school etc. I have attached a section of my contract which I presume is only referring to continuous service for redundancy, not maternity?

    Attached Files:

  2. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    Congratulations! I work in an academy and I told them at 5 weeks and asked them to keep it very private. However, I have had dreadful sickness which started very early so I needed my pregnancy rights to kick in regarding sick leave.

    Your academy should have a policy on it. Ours are all saved on the server so we can look for them without having to ask someone? This might be worth a try.
  3. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Ask HR or business management for information or advice too.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I read your contract to mean that for maternity pay purposes they do not recognise any previous employment for purposes of continuity of service. Academies aren't required to credit previous service in LA schools. Redundancy is different because of the statutory regulation they quote.

    But that's just I read it from a snippet of your contract. Only the academy can tell you definitely.

    Can your union rep help?
    Danielle_M and agathamorse like this.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I agree, contact the HR dept. asking them to keep things private for now, for pay and conditions re maternity, but you'll need them to do a 'workplace risk assessment' for you soon anyway.
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    However, my DIL started a new contract at a new academy before rapidly falling pregnant and they honoured service at a rival academy. You can imagine how much loyalty and good will they’ve bought across the schools in the MAT with this decision. Leadership is an interesting thing.
  7. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    A few years ago I was in similar situation, but I had moved from academy to LEA school when I discovered I was pregnant.
    When I left on maternity leave, it was SMP only as I had 'no continuous service' - it was a blow financially so I went back to work for last 3 weeks of summer term when little one was only 9 weeks old but it did mean I got the 6 week summer holiday at full pay.
    I wish you and your bump all the best.
  8. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    Yes you can tell HR. I told my head immediately due to lots of sickness ect. Definitely check their policy.xx
  9. SammyBear2016

    SammyBear2016 New commenter


    5 weeks is definitely not too early to tell your employer. I would speak to HR as soon as possible. Any sickness absence that is related to pregnancy will then be counted differently and a risk assessment should be carried out and regularly reviewed. Make it clear to the school that it is very early days and you do not wish for it to be made common knowledge, you can then tell colleagues in your own time.

    With regards to SMP, although i understand when you work in a profession that has an enhanced package the thought of not being able to get this is hard. However, most professions do not offer an enhanced package and women have to cope with the huge reduction in income. It's hard but it is manageable.
    grumpydogwoman and agathamorse like this.
  10. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Do tell HR - you need a risk assessment.
  11. Danielle_M

    Danielle_M New commenter

    Thanks everyone. I think Im just feeling irritated that Ive worked in LEA’s for years and now, due to relocating areas of the UK, I wont get the same pay I would have had. Just seems unfair as the academy is still classed as part of the local council!!! I know lots of organisations don’t give occupational maternity pay, and as teachers we are lucky, just think there should be some consistency in local boroughs. I know academies get decision making powers.....I havent found out yet by the way. I didn’t want to tell school until 12 weeks!!!!!
  12. Danielle_M

    Danielle_M New commenter

    Full search on shared area.....very IT savvy my school access denied!!!!
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    That seems so bizarre when it's a policy which applies to staff!
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. SammyBear2016

    SammyBear2016 New commenter

    I completely understand your irritation with pay but i just wanted to assure you that it is managable.

    One thing to consider is that i'm assuming that when you say you didn't want to tell school until 12 weeks you would wait until your 12 week scan which can be up to 13 weeks. By this point you will already have attended 2 appoitnments (your booking appointment with your midwife and your scan) and although you may be able to book these around school hours it is not guarenteed. Telling school now means that they have to allow you the time off to attend and it will not affect your absence as it is counted differently. I hope you don't but if you suffer with extremem sickness you may also need time off and if school are not aware of the pregnancy that will be counted as normal sickness absence.

    I think it is concerning that the policy is unavailable. Do you have a staff handbook as you may find (as is the case where i work) that the staff handbook has all of the policies in but they also provide the individual policies to prevent you from having to search through a large document o find what you need.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  15. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    I’m the same - LA schools for 6 years, moved last year to an independent and now only eligible for statutory mat pay. It does suck a bit but the way I see it is i will still be paid £140 per week for a number of months when I’m not going to work, which is considerably better than jobseekers for example, so I count myself lucky. Also, and this may not be true for you, every other element of my job is better than in my previous school so this sacrifice was worth it for me. Also, I am lucky enough to have a partner who earns a reasonable wage, so I will cope.

    At least you’ve got 9 months warning - get saving?! I’m finding I’m spending so much less now I’m pregnant on myself - no wine, not going out for expensive nights out, fewer meals out etc cos I’m tired, plus I can’t be bothered buying clothes and so on like usual as they’ll only fit a few months (have bought a few cheap maternity bits out of necessity but nothing like I usually do!), so I’m saving loads!!
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  16. eleanorms

    eleanorms Occasional commenter

    I was in same situation a few years ago although in my case due to going to a temporary contract - pregnancy happened a lot earlier than I'd expected and mucked up my carefully thought out long term plan! We had to be careful, but it was fine coping on SMP. It meant we did lots of nice easy things, pootling round the park with my second hand pram and hanging out in the garden with other mums. After all, virtually no other job honours commitment to the previous one in terms of financial allowances. Academies are only still classed as part of the council for things like statutory moderation, not HR.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. Danielle_M

    Danielle_M New commenter

    Yes it is very odd. The maternity policy is only available on request. Its not in handbook etc. Other policies are like shared parental leave. Just going to have to save up! Still ranting....!
  18. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    You may not need to. Despite being in an academy, and them not wanting to follow everything in the burgundy book, our maternity policy is aligned.

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