Can I claim sick leave for cancer at the end of maternity leave: ask the expert

In my 30th week of pregnancy I was diagnosed with cancer. I then gave my employer a sick note from my consultant which had no end date on it. My baby was delivered at 34 weeks gestation and my maternity leave automatically started then. I then had an operation to remove the cancer which was classed as major surgery (radical hysterectomy) and then six weeks after that I had four weeks’ worth of radiotherapy and also chemotherapy. I am wondering if I am entitled to claim this sick time at the end of my maternity leave?

Sorry to hear you have been unwell.  Unfortunately, you cannot ‘claim back’ the time you were sick during your maternity leave. If you wanted to take the time ‘off sick’ you would have had to have ended your maternity leave and followed your employer’s sickness procedure.  But, upon recovery you would not have been able to revert to your maternity leave you would have been obliged to return to work.
If you need more time you could take parental leave.  Parental leave is unpaid and you can normally take up to four weeks a year, though you may be entitled to more.  In addition, you will have accrued annual leave while on maternity leave and any unused annual leave pre your maternity leave should be added to this leave and annual leave will be paid.


Comments [5]

  • Shukria Begum says:

    Hi My I’m due an opetation this month and my maternity is ending next month, I’m y taking nine months maternity off, my issue is I need time off to recover from my operation and my nine months maternity ends next month, can I go off sick? Thank You

  • Anonymous says:

    I gave birth to twins early by emergency c section. I was incapable of working and my boys spent 10 weeks in neo natal care. Consequently I am due to go back to work 5 months after bringing them home.
    My issues are… losing the 10 weeks they were being cared for in hospital in m/leave, the operation not being classed as ‘sick’ whilst on m/leave, not being owed any additional leave whilst off and losing the holiday as teachers get paid this period as normal. Can anyone help or have any suggestions as to what I can do? It seems so unfair 🙁

    Editor: Unfortunately, SMP is 39 weeks and there is no extension given for mothers of premature babies, although the charity Bliss has been campaigning on this and it might be worth getting in touch with them. The only thing you could do is to look at parental leave, but that is unpaid.

  • Anonymous says:

    Please explain to me how it’s perfectly okay to take time off and get paid for depression and not for this. Does the state think that because my wife’s had her maternity leave, she’s had her fair share ? A mother suffering from a life-threatening illness after giving birth is the worst thing in the world, period ! To not have the same rights as someone suffering from a vague illness is ridiculous. The lawmakers in this country should be ashamed of themselves!

  • Anonymous says:

    As a husband who is married to a women in the same position I find this absolutely disgusting! It’s only at the end of my wife’s maternity leave that she’s been well enough to get to know and look after our child.

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