Told to use annual holidays to cover gardening leave on maternity leave

I am on statutory maternity pay and have resigned from my role. I am serving 12 weeks’ notice. I will have a gap before I start my new role so I will have been on maternity leave for 52 weeks.

Four weeks into my notice period I was told I will be put on gardening leave for the last five weeks of my notice. It is customary in my role to be put on gardening leave for all of the notice period.

I have been informed that I must use all my accrued holiday which equals five weeks during this gardening leave. I had expected to be paid in full for the five weeks gardening leave and then paid my accrued leave on top. They are enforcing very strict gardening leave conditions and finding a way out of paying me for it because I have accrued so much annual leave while being on maternity leave.

Can they insist my accrued annual leave is used? The HR policy states they have this right during gardening leave, but, as I am on maternity leave, don’t my maternity leave rights still apply during this gardening leave period?

With regards to the annual leave if the company is asking you to use your annual leave up (when on gardening leave) to do this they legally need to give double the notice of the amount of annual leave they want you to take. So if you have five weeks annual leave, the company should have told you 10 weeks before you needed to take the leave. If they didn’t give the correct amount of notice then they will need to pay your annual leave separately from your gardening leave.

With regards to the gardening leave, this will depend on if you are receiving statutory maternity leave or not, and when exactly you handed in your notice. If you handed in your notice and were planning on returning to work to work your notice once your maternity leave came to an end ( say after 9 months) when the pay runs out, you will be entitled to be paid for this. If you handed in your notice and you weren’t being paid any maternity leave and weren’t planning on returning to work then you will not be entitled to any pay.



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