I am currently on maternity leave and due back to work in October. I want to know whether I can take on a part-time job while still on maternity leave? My SMP is due to finish in July.
[Information correct and relevant as of November 2017]
If you start a part-time job during your paid period of maternity leave for a new employer i.e. an employer you did not work for during the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth, you will lose your entitlement to SMP for that week and for all remaining weeks of the maternity pay period. As you only have a couple of weeks of SMP remaining, I recommend that you start your part-time job after your entitlement to SMP runs out. You will then still be entitled to the last payment of SMP from your original employer. Bear in mind that your employer may have specific rules in their maternity policy relating to pay if you take a part-time job (although this seems unlikely). You should therefore also check your maternity policy and contract.
With regards to taking a second job, you must remember that whilst on maternity leave you are still classed as an ‘employee’ of your original employer. Whilst your part-time job will not affect your SMP provided you start the job after your paid period of maternity leave, you may still be required to inform your employer of your new second job. You should check your contract of employment to see whether second jobs are mentioned. For example, you may be required to obtain permission from your manager. Such permission should not be unreasonably withheld, especially given the fact that you are not currently working for your employer and therefore the new job will have no effect on your ability to carry out your duties.
One alternative could be to submit a flexible working request to your original employer and see if you can return to your job on a part-time basis. This could be for a limited period (e.g. until October when you may want to go back full-time), or on a permanent basis. If your original job pays more generously than the part-time role would, this could be an option worth considering.
A flexible working request can be made in two ways – informally through discussions with your employer, or by following a formal statutory procedure. Should you require further information and advice regarding making a flexible working request, please contract Tracey Guest on 0161 975 3823.