Working During Maternity Leave – what are the rules?

Working Mums

 

A lot of new mums want to keep up with what’s happening at work while they are off on maternity leave. But are you allowed to work during maternity leave, and what are the limits? We explain the current rules on working during maternity leave.

You are still governed by your standard employment contract while on parental leave. In most jobs and employment contracts, if you return to work in a normal capacity, your maternity leave or family leave ends, and you will stop receiving maternity pay. There are a few exceptions to this, however.

Keep in Touch days

You may work for up to 10 Keeping In Touch (KIT) days without any impact on your maternity/parental leave or pay.

If you’re on Shared Parental Leave (SPL) you can work up to 20 Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days.

Both you and your employer must want and agree to a KIT or SPLIT day. Employers can’t make you work during leave – and equally you can’t insist on working during maternity leave.

Whether you work a full day or just an hour or two, it counts as using a KIT/SPLIT day.

If you are getting Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay or Shared Parental Pay, you can only work a KIT or SPLIT for the employer providing that pay. If you receive Maternity Allowance, any work, whether self-employed or employed, counts as a KIT day.

You and your employer need to agree on the payment terms for KIT or SPLIT days. They may simply pay your SMP for the time, or you can agree on additional pay at your normal contractual rate. You may also be offered time in lieu once you return to work. You should agree on payment ahead of the KIT/SPLIT day – or the company may state the standard approach in your contract.

Self-employed work during maternity leave

You can work on a self-employed basis while on maternity or family leave, unless otherwise stated in your contract. This applies if you’re on Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP), or Shared Parental Pay (ShPP).

However, that doesn’t mean you can work for your normal employer on a freelance/self-employed basis – especially if you are doing the same work you would normally do.

Working for a second employer

If you have more than one employer, the key thing is that you need to have worked for them in the fifteenth week before your baby was due. For adoption, this is the fifteenth week before you were notified of being matched with your child.

If you meet this requirement your Statutory Maternity Pay, Adoption Pay or Parental Pay won’t be affected if you work for this employer while on leave with another employer. Working for a second employer while you are on maternity leave, but before your baby is born, also won’t affect your Statutory Pay.

If you did not work for an employer in the fifteenth week before the week the baby was due, working for them during your leave will stop any statutory pay.

For an example of how this works in practice, see: Doing a second job on maternity leave ask the expert.

There is also useful guidance about working while on leave on the government website.



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