Maternity leave and annual leave, what happens when I am not at work?
Understanding what happens to your annual leave is another important part of the maternity leave budgeting jigsaw puzzle.
Even though you can’t be paid holidays until maternity leave is over, they are important to include in your budget.
Let’s have a quick recap
Maternity leave is the legally protected time that a woman is allowed away from work following the birth of her baby. Entitlement to maternity leave is from day one of being employed. There are no qualifying criteria, other than one day of employment.
Maternity leave is not the same as maternity pay. And just because you qualify for maternity leave, there is no automatic entitlement to maternity pay.
What is annual leave?
If your employment contract mentions an annual leave amount, check if this includes bank holidays or not.
If you work less or more than a standard working week, your annual leave might be mentioned in hours in your contract. It’s important that you take the time to do this check so we know what we are working with.
You could also check your HR systems at work – they should indicate what your leave entitlement is minus anything that you have already booked.
Typically, the minimum statutory annual leave amount in the UK is 28 days. However, check if your balance includes bank holidays.
What happens to my annual leave during maternity leave?
Your annual leave continues to build up or accrue while you are off work. For example, if you are entitled to 28 days of paid holiday per year – then a year long maternity leave will accrue 28 days.
Note that while your holidays build up when you are off, you can’t be paid for them or ‘take them’ like you normally would.
Instead, once your maternity leave is officially over, you can take your missed holidays (or ask for them to be paid).
Can I be paid for my holidays?
The Annual Leave you miss should be paid to you or days taken at the end of Maternity Leave. This can’t happen until your Maternity Leave is officially over.
The reason for this is that being on maternity leave means you can’t have your normal pay. If you have any money from your work during maternity leave (other than Maternity Pay or KIT), it will end.
Can I use annual leave to extend my maternity leave?
If you have some holidays left then take them before your due date. Use this as an opportunity to finish early but not have maternity leave start.
Similarly, at the end of maternity leave – use your missed holidays owed to delay your return to work (and get paid for them).
Get more maternity leave preparation tips with my FREE eBook – How to Save Money for Maternity Leave. https://themumsguidetomoney.com/savingsactionplan/