Monday, 19 September 2011

Working families helpline

The Working Families helpline team are there to answer your frequently asked maternity questions.

Some common maternity questions are nothing to worry about and some are. The Working Families helpline team is on hand to explain where you stand on all your maternity rights. Below are some typical queries and the answers you will need.

“I haven’t had anything in writing from my employer about maternity leave or pay”.

Don’t worry. Employers are supposed to write to you once you have given notice for maternity leave to let you know when your maternity leave will end, but lots of employers forget. The reason employers are meant to write to you is so you know when your maternity leave ends, so if you come back a day late they can discipline or dismiss you. If they don’t write then you may have protection from dismissal if you do get the return date wrong. Your employers do not have to write to confirm that you will get Statutory Maternity Pay, although it is good practice to do so. They do, however, have to write to you if you are not entitled to SMP.

“My employer isn’t going to cover my job during maternity leave and I’m worried he won’t want me back”.

Your employer doesn’t have to cover your job while you are away and lots of employers choose to save money by dividing the work among colleagues. This shouldn’t affect your right to go back to your job and if you are dismissed because the employer prefers the way the job was done while you were away then this will be an act of discrimination.

“I just started my maternity leave, my employer sent me a P45 but said that he would re-employ me after I’d had the baby”.

This is wrong. You should not be dismissed for a reason to do with maternity leave. You are still an employee when you are on maternity leave, and still get all your rights under the contract except for pay.

If you have any concerns at all about your maternity rights, call the Working Families team on the confidential freephone legal helpline 0800 013 0313.

Working Families is a work-life charity.
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