View Full Version : Decreasing work hours before taking maternity leave
This is my first pregnancy and I have been having a few health problems already (I am currently 17wks pregnant). At work, I am in a senior position (one step up from entry level, one step down from team leader). The position and the lower position are not salary, but an hourly rate. My contract currently says I have to work 76 hours per fortnight.
My work are starting to talk about reducing my hours, and I kind of agree as I have been struggling to work full time as it is. If work make me decrease my hours, do they have to make me step down to entry level (thus loss of responsibility and the loss of higher hourly rate)?
Has anyone had any experience in this? Will decreasing my hours now, affect my maternity leave? I have worked there for 18 months full time, and am entitled to paid leave by them. I dont want to step down in my senior role, even though I am struggling to work, I know that I want to head in a management career path and stepping down now would ruin some of my chances for the future.
Basically, can they make me step down because I am reducing my hours because I am pregnant? Or can they only decrease my hours, but I have to get paid the same hourly rate?
Oh yes I have had experience with this. I was working at a higher level when I fell pregnant. It was a difficult pregnancy, so on the advice of my employer I dropped down a level so that I wouldn't have such a high pressure job. This was 8 weeks before I started Mat leave. Well then they decided that my mat leave would be based on current rate of pay (reduced rate). So I lost about $15000 by doing this all up.
Same goes for going part time. If you change anything with your hrs or pay, your mat leave will be calculated on current wage at the time.
Rather than reduce your hrs, can you get your GP to write you a med certificate for some sick leave???? Maybe a few days off will be good
Thank you for replying. Sorry to hear that, so frustrating!! I have just had a week off but I am feeling the pressure to reduce my hours since I have so long to go still and am not better.
I work for a large global org and we would def allow someone to reduce their hours on medical advice and simply pay them the same rate for the reduced number of hours. This could be a temporary change to your full-time contract with a view to you going back to your normal hours at the start of your maternity leave.
So I would speak to your employer. You should not be demoted at all. If you are, drop the discrimination word ASAP! They may just not realise, amazing as that might sound.
Yes, be careful. If you are working part-time when you finish up work then your paid maternity leave will be based on your part-time wage rather than your full time wage, even if you were working full time a month earlier.
Options include taking sick leave for part of the week - eg. getting a letter from your GP that you need to work only 6 hours a day (eg. instead of 8), so that you get 2 hours paid sick leave each day. You'd need to speak to your work & your GP about all this and see if it works.
And yes, work cannot insist you move positions because you are pregnant, unless the work you are doing is harmful to pregnant women (eg. dealing with specific chemicals).
Another option is taking early maternity leave with a certificate from your GP. It's a bit tricky, but it is possible.
Also, I was sick in both my pregnancies til about 18 - 20 weeks, then I felt a lot better until around 27 or 28 weeks. So you might feel a lot better in a couple of weeks and kick yourself for taking a lower paid job with substantial pay decrease.
Pregnancy & me don't mix well health wise, so I feel your pain. Basically my pregnancy was a health write-off this time around (although weeks 18 - 26 weren't too bad). The newborn phase was SO much easier. I wish that I could take maternity leave from the start of the pregnancy til bubs was 6 months old and then I'd have another baby, but that's not socially accepted, or financially viable for us I'm afraid :(.
Options include taking sick leave for part of the week - eg. getting a letter from your GP that you need to work only 6 hours a day (eg. instead of 8), so that you get 2 hours paid sick leave each day. You'd need to speak to your work & your GP about all this and see if it works..[/QUOTE]
Just wanted to say... In this instance we would offer reduced hours with reduced pay, not full time pay with a couple of hours sick leave each day. This is definitely within the law. An employer may well agree to it, but they wouldn't have to. But worth asking. Smaller companies can usually be more flexible, even though ironically its actually harder for them financially wise!
Thank you for your replies and suggestions. Over night I was thinking, perhaps I could take an annual leave day once a week (I have the leave saved up)? I would also work the earlier shift (when I feel much better) rather than working until late (when I feel worse and really tired).
But yes you are right, I should talk to my employer. I just dont want to make a decision that has multiple consequences (plus I am quite indecisive).
Thank you again.
when preg with DD1 i arranged with my boss to have wednesday off each week to give me a mid-week break.
firstly i used up my sick leave then my holidays.
made it easier to get thru each week knowing i only had to get thru 2 days at a time
be very careful with what you decide because as mentioned earlier if you decrease your hours your maternity leave will be paid out at the decreased rate.
Also, if they do place you in a lower position with less money/responsibility/hours etc, then if you return from maternity leave their only obligation is to offer you a similar position upon your return, not your former job.
Taking one day a week from your annual leave sounds like a good idea to ensure you retain your position/salary etc.
I agree that taking annual leave is a great idea if you can do it. Have a talk with your manager and see what they say.
Also reiterate what others have said about changing your work arrangements. If you don't go back to your regular hours before taking leave then the reduced hours are what you're entitled to when you come back.
Thank you everyone for your help.
Just an update. I have spoken with HR, my boss and my doctor. I have decreased my hours to 6 hour days, 4 days a week with Wednesdays off (as I had a letter for my doctor that I made sure included the specific requirements/conditions I needed). I will be using annual leave and unpaid sick. I have confirmed with HR that in my case (and the company I work for), my hourly rate will not change, my maternity leave will be unaffected. Apparently at my work they "classify me as full time", and by doing this when I go on maternity leave, I "will still have the full time status".
So just letting you know it all worked out fine for me. However if anyone reads this, I strongly suggest you talk to HR and your boss to work out the options before making any decisions. :yes:
Just on a FYI. If they reduced your hourly rate or status that actually would be considered sex discrimination. What has been done would be the best outcome for everyone
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