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Keep maternity pay or return to work end of July?

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by BeckyArcher, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. BeckyArcher

    BeckyArcher New commenter

    Hi, I hope this is the right place to post this.
    I'm wondering if someone more clued up can help me.

    I'm currently on maternity leave. I was working full time and I left end of November 2018. I was on M4 on the payscale. My maternity policy says I get:
    - 4 weeks full pay
    - 2 weeks 90% pay
    - 12 weeks half pay plus SMP
    - 21 weeks SMP
    - 13 weeks unpaid

    I was originally going to go back after October half term, 3 days per week. However, I've now discussed returning in September 2 days per week, going up to 3 after October half term.

    However, I've heard of other teachers saying their return to work date is the end of July so that they get paid over the summer. I guess I would only get paid 2 days a week. I'm trying to work out if this is a better move financially, or whether I should stick with what I've got.

    I will also be looking to move on and my policy states I have to work 13 weeks (full time equivalent) before I'd have to pay any SMP back, so if I say I'm going back in July, at least I start working that off sooner.


    **ETA: I've calculated that either way I skip the 13 weeks unpaid. So it just comes down to whether 2 days a week at M4 is better than my SMP, and also whether this is something I'm allowed to do.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  2. snowfairy

    snowfairy New commenter

    When I returned to work after my maternity I went back for the last 2 weeks of the summer term full time. This meant I got full time pay over the summer. I then started my part time contract which was 4 days on 1st September.

    Not sure if that would be an option for you. If you can sort childcare for a couple of weeks then its well worth it financially. To be fair you can go back for the last day and get paid over the summer just depends on when your part time contract comes into effect!
  3. BeckyArcher

    BeckyArcher New commenter

    Did it have to be for 2 weeks? Could I just go back on the last day of term do you think and still be paid full time?
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    You are allowed to return on whatever date you choose - so you are fully entitled to choose the first day of the summer holidays.

    How many days a week you would be "working" over the summer is a little trickier. If you have negotiated to go down to 2 days a week "from September", then you should be still down as 5 days a week during August. But if you have negotiated to go to 2 days a week "when I return", then they would legitimately say you're only working 2 days during the summer holidays. If it's not clear, then you'll probably have to seek clarification, and your union may have advice.

    I would have thought even two days a week is more than SMP - although maybe pension contributions make a difference.
  5. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Also worth remembering that (and I think this is correct) your pension accrues while you are receiving at least half of your salary, so probably not while getting SMP. But you may want to check.

    If you were able to go back full time even for a short time before term ends, then that might be evidence in your favour that you continue full time until the end of August. But, as has been pointed out, you can go back any day you like, providing that you give the required notice - it might be 21 days. I suspect that there may be somebody covering your maternity leave who hopes that you don't return early.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. BeckyArcher

    BeckyArcher New commenter

    Thanks for advice. I contacted the union who confirmed as above really, that it's a bit of a grey area in terms of numbers of days per week. However, my original contract will have been until end of August, so I've given it a go. I've just submitted my return to work letter anyway giving the first day of summer holidays as my date, and said that I understood this means I should get my full time pay until September. We'll see what they say.

    And yes, I believe even 2 days per week is better than SMP, so if that's what they come back with I guess I'll have to go with it.

    The person covering me won't be affected by what I do regardless.
  7. snowfairy

    snowfairy New commenter

    I went back for 2 weeks but I know people that have gone back for far less time at the end of the summer term. Definitely worth asking and stating that your new contract starts september 1st and therefore you should be paid under the terms of your original contract until Aug 31st! Hope you get a favourable response.
  8. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    I know teachers who returned from maternity leave on the first day of the school summer holidays on full time pay. They had them requested part time from the first of September. So, in effect, they didn’t ever return to full time. HR said it was absolutely fine.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  9. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Yes, that is what would be expected to happen. The only way I can see that a school could get out of it would be if it was agreed that a teacher would go part time from the date of her return, and then changed that date to in July. Technically, she would have agreed to go part time from July so could be paid on that basis. I very much doubt if that will happen to the OP, but it is something to be aware of when applying for flexible working - put 1 September as the start date and there is no ambiguity. Some schools are not as honest as you, @Sundaytrekker!
  10. primaryteacher23

    primaryteacher23 New commenter

    I was wondering if somebody could advise please?
    I'm currently in UPS1 and started my maternity leave started on 8th May 2019.
    I'm entitled to the following:

    - 2 weeks @ 100%
    - 4 weeks @ 90%
    - 12 weeks @ 50%pay & SMP
    - 21 weeks @ SMP
    - 12 weeks @ unpaid

    I'm hoping to return next year - February time but having spoken to a primary teacher at my baby massage group, she asked me if i would be returnibgbfir one or two days before the Summer holidays begin (I.e. within the next two weeks)

    I asked her the benefits of doing this and she replied she would be paid for the whole of the 6 weeks School holidays.

    How is this possible when she has no intention of returning to work until next February?
    I would appreciate any form of clarity as I don't want to miss out but surely it's not possible!
    Thank you,
    Primary Teacher xx
  11. snowfairy

    snowfairy New commenter

    It wouldn't be possible for her to return at the end of this term get paid over the summer but then not return to work until february. If you return to work for the summer holidays and get paid the school will expect you in and working at the start of the school year!

    If you are returing to work in February I'd recommend returning the first day of the half term then you get paid for that week despite not being in.

    Most teachers return to work after maternity at the start of a holiday or very close to it if they can organise it so that they get paid for the holiday despite not being in.

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