Do notice periods count for enhanced maternity pay?

My wife is a teacher and is due to give birth next month, with a return to work date in mid 2023. Being a teacher, she has a three-month notice period. If she was to return to work following maternity leave and immediately hand her notice in (providing she gets a job), will her notice period be the same as the three months needed to return to work without having to pay back any of her enhanced maternity pay?


Maternity Notice letter

Close-up Of A Woman's Hand Filling Maternity Leave Form Holding Pen Over Desk

Whether or not serving notice of resignation will affect the obligation to repay enhanced maternity pay will depend upon the specific terms of your wife’s contract and the terms of the enhanced maternity pay policy itself. I would therefore recommend requesting copies of these documents from HR so that you can check the terms themselves.  I would also recommend that your wife’s contract is checked for whether there is any collective agreement forming part of its terms, such as the Burgundy Book, for example, or an applicable local agreement.

Enhanced maternity pay often depends on a number of eligibility criteria, such as a minimum length of service and minimum earnings threshold.  I have assumed that the obligation to repay only applies to enhanced maternity pay and not statutory maternity pay.  If your wife is not in receipt of enhanced maternity pay (i.e. she is receiving statutory maternity pay or statutory maternity allowance) then she would be entitled to retain statutory payments whether or not she returned to work.

Unfortunately, without seeing those documents I cannot assist further. If you are unable to find the answer from the documents provided by human resources, or you are unable to obtain copies of the documents, then if your wife is a member of a trade union then I would recommend reaching out to them as they may be able to provide advice with the benefit of sight of the relevant documents.

*Gemma Bailey is the Head of Howells’ Employment Department. Gemma advises individuals and companies on the full range of employment issues. 

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