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I am a teacher and I want to know if I can go back to work early and finish this school year on my old contract and get paid over the holidays (also paying back some of the 13 weeks owed for maternity pay) and then start a new part time contract in September.
If you were working full-time prior to maternity leave, then you are required to complete the equivalent of 13 weeks’ full-time service on your return to teaching. If you were working part time prior to maternity leave, you are required to complete the equivalent of 13 weeks’ service on that part-time basis. Where you move to part-time work, or part-time work on a different basis, following your return, you are allowed to complete the equivalent of these periods on your new part-time basis. School holidays and half terms can be included, together with any subsequent periods of sick leave.
This would mean that to retain your enhanced maternity pay, you would need to work 13 weeks at full time or the equivalent at part-time hours.
If the school are expecting you back in October, you would need to give notice to return in July. The statutory period of notice is 8 weeks, though your employer can agree to you returning earlier than that. It is a good idea to give notice as soon as possible.