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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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I have been in employment in this organisation years now. I

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I have been in employment in this organisation for 2 years now. I have applied for a career break scheduled to begin in Aug 2016 and will end in Mar 2017. I have also realised that I have become pregnant with the baby due in Feb 2017. I could do with a career break as my job is quite stressful. What are my maternity rights in this case?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. What are you actually hoping to achieve please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am hoping to keep my job.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
understand what my entitlements would be, if any ?

Does the career break guarantee your retun to the employer?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There is a statement that says - 'There should be demonstrable business benefits for agreeing to the career break and that the employer will endeavour to offer the employee the opportunity to return to the same post they had before the career break or, if that is not reasonably practicable, to find them another suitable job'. My reasons for taking a career break is trying to overcome stress that I have been subjected to. Would I have to prove some benefits to the business; as when I return 18 months would have lapsed (6 months + 12 months maternity). Also, SMP is calculated based on earnings made. I would have no earnings during my career break, so would I be paid anything ?

According to Reg. 18 of The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, an employee who takes Additional Maternity Leave (i.e. between 6-12 months off) is entitled “to return to the job in which she was employed before her absence, or, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to permit her to return to that job, to another job which is both suitable for her and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances.”

This means that there is no guarantee of a return to the job you performed before going on maternity leave. If the employer can show that it is not reasonably practicable to allow you to return to that job, they need to find you something that is both suitable and appropriate for you to do instead.

A common issue that arises is whether the reason for not being reasonably practicable to allow the employee to return to her old job is actually justifiable. Case law has suggested that formal reorganisations can amount to a justifiable reason, whereas a simple preference over someone providing maternity cover will not suffice. The employer needs to show that there is a genuine reason which makes it no longer practicable to allow you to return to your old job, this is not just a formality.

In terms of SMP, this is calculated with reference to what is known as the ‘relevant period’ and the fact you have not been earning during your career break will not necessarily impact this.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of how to calculate the relevant period for SMP urposes, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.

Ben Jones and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. The relevant period ends with the last normal pay day on or before the end of the Qualifying Week (that being the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth) and begins after the last normal pay day at least eight weeks earlier.

So as a guide to finding the relevant period:

· Take the last normal pay day on or before the end of the Qualifying Week. (If the employee has already given birth by then, take the last normal pay day before the week of birth.) That normal pay day is the last day of the relevant period.

· Count back eight weeks from that day.

· Take the last normal pay day before that date. The day after that pay day is the first day of the relevant period.