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  1. #1
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    Default How much unpaid leave to ask for?

    Hey everyone,

    I'm contemplating writing a letter to my employee regarding maternity leave (I've heard that you need to give at least 10 weeks notice). My EDD is 28th April, and I'd like 4 weeks off prior to the birth.

    Should I include in the letter when I plan to come back? Or do I only need to state when I want to commence leave?

    Also, I would like the maximum amount of time off (52 weeks unpaid), but am not sure how finances will go during that time, so may need to return earlier. Which would be the better option?:
    • Notify my employer that I want 52 weeks off, then change my mind to shorten this if need be.
    • Ask for a shorter amount of time off, then try to extend it if finances are good.
    One other thing. If I request 4 weeks off prior to my EDD, and it doesn't suit my employer, can he deny or amend this?

    I've never been in this position so would appreciate opinions!

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    I can't imagine that you would be denied the 4 weeks off prior to the birth as its still comes out of your mat leave total.

    When I applies for mine my boss told me that you can always extend a maternity leave contract but you can't legally shorten it... In other words if they are hiring someone to replace you they can't shorten the contract they originally signed but try can always offer the person an extension or hire someone else... Does that make sense?

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    Can you talk to your boss, or to someone in HR, and find out how they work before putting your request in writing?

    What sort of work do you do? Any chance of returning to part-time hours, or of cutting down your hours in the last few weeks?

    In 2 pregnancies i have preferred to work as close to my due date as possible, so i can save my leave for after baby. Also keeps you busy which helps if bub comes a bit later too. If medically you found you weren't coping, you could always call in your leave early (with a medical certificate).

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    mattsmel  (02-01-2012)

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    You are better off telling them you want 12 months off & possibly come back early, rather than telling them you want say 8 months off & then asking for an extension.

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    I would apply for the shorter length in the letter and state that you may like to extend it if needed. As they can't legally shorten a mat leave replacement contract.

    With DS I applied for my leave and requested to come back part time to ease back in.

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    Thank you all for your replies

    DewDanni, what you said makes sense. I might try to suss out whether I will be replaced or not (I think not - but will check). I never thought about how a contract/temp employee would affect how I deal with my leave.

    Bubbles10, thanks for your input. I may have a casual chat with my boss first, but I don't want to give too much of my plans away. I have a feeling he expects me to be back to work ASAP, and might freak if I say I want a year off. I do office work, which can be done part time no worries.

    missie_mack, thanks for the link, that was really helpful! Personally I would adore as much time as possible at home with bub - the only reason to go back would be to save our home from being sold by the bank

    Thank you Moosie & Bel0v3d too - everyone has valid points and I guess there isn't a one sized fits all approach to this situation. I will try to get more info out of my boss to see what his plans are, and base my letter on what he says. I just want to do all pregnancy related work issues by the book so that my butt is covered!

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    Check your award or work place agreement to find out your legal entitlements.

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    Check. With your hr dept. I'm sure provided we (at my job) give six weeks notice we can come back earlier than the time we initially requested off.


    Sent from my iPad so pardon the errors!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rae81 View Post
    Check. With your hr dept. I'm sure provided we (at my job) give six weeks notice we can come back earlier than the time we initially requested off.
    Agree. It can vary from company to company. My work's leave policy says that if you want to come back early then we have to submit the request in writing at least 4 weeks prior to the date on which we wish to return and the granting of any request will depend on business need.

    That said, I told work I was having 12 months off and came back after 7 months and they were fine with it, but they only had a casual in my role.

    This time I am in the same boat as you - not sure how long I want off so will probably tell them a shorter time and then extend it because this time they will hire someone on a fixed term contract which they will be able to extend but not shorten.

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    I think legally you are not allowed to work beyond six weeks from your EDD unless you have a 'fit to work' certificate from your doctor. I think 4 weeks is a pretty standard time frame that people choose to finish. You can work right up until the day before if your doc gives the ok!

    Your 52 weeks mat leave will start from when you leave work. You can ask for an extension of up to a year (?) but granting this is entirely at your employer's discretion.

    My boss wanted me back asap, but I said I'd take the whole year and see how things went. I'm returning 10 months into my leave, and definitely have to give 4 weeks notice.

    If you return earlier and they have to slip you in somewhere while your replacement (if there is one) finishes their 12 month contract, do remember that they can't force you to work in a position that you are not qualified for, and you should expect to return to the same salary and entitlements.


 

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