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How does holiday pay and sick pay work on maternity leave?

Many employers allow their employees to add all of their annual leave to their maternity leave. So, often mums-to-be will book their holiday off around their maternity leave, tacking it on to the end of their maternity leave or having it before their due date.

16 December 2015

What happens to paid holiday during maternity leave?

Whilst you’re on maternity leave, you continue to build up your statutory and contractual holiday entitlement just as if you were at work.

Your statutory entitlement is 28 days including bank holidays for a full time worker. Your contract may provide you with more days than this.

What happens to any paid holiday not taken before the end of a holiday year?

If you’re unable to take up all of your holiday entitlement due to being off work on maternity leave then you should be able to carry over some or all of your untaken leave into next year.

You should check your employment contract as it may state that contractual holiday may not be carried over. You should be permitted to carry over your statutory entitlement.

What happens if I’m off work sick when my maternity leave starts?

As soon as your maternity leave starts, your sick pay will stop. You’re not entitled to statutory sick pay during the maternity pay period.

If you’re off work with a maternity-related sickness before your maternity leave starts, you should notify your employer as soon as you can. If you’re off work in the four weeks before your expected week of childbirth, then your maternity leave will start a day after the first day you were off sick.

You should note that antenatal care doesn’t count as a pregnancy-related sickness. You should not be treated unfairly just because you’ve been off sick due to a pregnancy-related illness. Sadly, we do see cases where people have suffered maternity discrimination for this reason.

Absence from work due to pregnancy sickness in itself isn’t a valid reason for redundancy selection or disciplinary action. You should contact an employment lawyer if this has happened to you.

Do you accrue bank holidays when on maternity leave?

It depends on your contract. If your contract says you are paid for public holidays then bank holidays will be a part of your holiday entitlement and, as such, these should accumulate during your maternity leave.

If you’ve been treated unfairly at work because of your pregnancy, contact our expert employment lawyers on freephone 0330 041 5869 or contact us online.

All information was correct at the time of publication.

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