Advice & Support

Do I have to return if I had an enhanced maternity package and I have been on sick leave?: ask the expert

Do I have to return if I had an enhanced maternity package and I have been on sick leave?: ask the expert

My maternity policy says that ''in order to qualify for company maternity pay, employees must sign a loan agreement prior to starting the maternity leave period". It continues: "This agreement will require them to repay a sum equivalent to 18 weeks at half pay in the event that they do not return to work for a continuous period of at least six months from the end of their maternity leave.'' I must stress that when I went to HR to pick up my maternity information envelope, I asked whether I needed to sign anything and was told that 'later'. I was not explained all this above. Anyway, now after the end of maternity leave I was involved in an accident and was signed off sick. Do I have to pay the money back if I add holiday and parental leave to my sick leave? The policy also says that the more I work during the mentioned six months, the less I will return from the 'loan'. So if I went back after a period on sick leave and annual leave, would the amount I owed reduce?

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Demoted while on maternity leave: ask the expert

Demoted while on maternity leave: ask the expert

I currently work at a local council with the title of 'Officer' and am on maternity leave. I was informed of a department consultation and the deletion of my 'Officer' post by my line manager. Due to my status of being on maternity leave, the document indicates that I have been allocated a post as 'Assistant'. In the new structure there are two 'Officer' (band 7) positions followed by two 'Assistant' (band 6) positions.  Originally my colleague who is a band 7 was ring fenced to the other 'Assistant' post.  However, since I queried why I haven't been given the 'Officer' post (the full title is almost the same as my post that is to be deleted), they changed their reason for allocation of posts and now have based it on band.  Therefore my colleague who was doing a similar job and was ring fenced to the 'Assistant'  post has been offered the 'Officer' post. They say my new post will be similar, although no job description existed until after the consultation period (I am still to receive a copy of this.)  They say my band will not change.  The  location of the job is in question.  The real issue for me is the status.  Clearly to me an Assistant is lower than an Officer and I really think this could affect my chances of a future career move.  My employer has told me that they cannot have two Officers with different bands (band 7 & band 6), so basically I've be demoted because of her arbitrary reasoning.  Can they do this?

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Back to work after a 17-year career-break: ask the expert

Back to work after a 17-year career-break: ask the expert

 I am 50 yrs old with two teenagers.  I gave up working when I had the kids, almost 17 yrs ago now.  I worked as a legal secretary then.  Would like to start work again but my confidence etc is lacking big time and I feel my skills would be so out of date by now no one would want to employ a 50 yr old.  TBH I don't really want to do secretarial again anyhow.  I absolutely adore animals.  Is there anywhere, at my age, I could start a new career within the animal world or do you have any other ideas what I might do?

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Nervous about interviews after career break: ask the expert

Nervous about interviews after career break: ask the expert

I am thinking about going back to work after 12 years - I didn't want anyone else bringing my kids up - and have just turned 50. I know I am quite capable of picking up the work reins again but it's the interview that I'm scared of! I won't put myself across well, my mouth will go dry and I can't speak! What to do?

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Changes in job after return from adoption leave: ask the expert

Changes in job after return from adoption leave: ask the expert

I am returning to work after taking 12 months' adoption leave. When I left my hours of work were between 8 & 5pm. I recently had a meeting with my manager in which this was now likely to be between 7.30 & 8pm. I have since queried this to which her email response now states 7.30 & 10pm. This in effect would not enable me to return to work due to childcare pick up and drop off. To top this off the role itself has diminished as aspects will now be done by a different department. Where do I stand with these new changes?

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