Maternity Leave is designed to allow you to rest and recover throughout the first months of your baby’s life, which means that there are some restrictions on working during your leave. These rules are in place to encourage you to relax and make the most of your leave, as well as to make sure that you do not get more payments than you are entitled to receive.
You Can Only Work for 10 Days Maximum
These days are also known as ‘Keeping in Touch Days.’ You can use these days – no more than 10 – to attend meetings or training. You will be paid your regular salary on these days, or an amount agreed upon based on the work done and the time you have been employed. These days should be agreed with your employer; they are not an opportunity to demand more work from your employer, or for your employer to request more work from you. They are designed for your convenience. Remember, if you go beyond the maximum of 10 days, you will lose a week of Statutory Maternity Pay per extra day.
If you receive Shared Parental Pay, you can work up to 20 more days on top of the 10 Keeping in Touch days. Going over the maximum will cause you to lose a week of pay per week in which you complete days of work that causes you to exceed the maximum.
Working for Someone Else
If you begin working for another employer, it is your responsibility to inform your previous employer of this change. Generally, working for another employer will stop your payments of Statutory Maternity Pay, Leave and Shared Parental Pay – both for the weeks you worked for them but also the rest of your leave.
This rule only changes if you complete the work before your baby is born; or if you worked for another employer in the 15th week before the week of your due date. These specific circumstances will not affect your SMP.
It is possible to be self-employed during your Maternity Leave. Self-employment will not affect your eligibility for SMP/SML/ShPP. However, you should be cautious not to undertake self-employed work with your original employer, as this will be difficult to pass off as genuine self-employment and could be classed as your Keeping in Touch days.
Similar rules also apply for those receiving Maternity Allowance. If you work for more than ten days, either for your employer or through self-employment, your allowance will stop. For self-employed parents, your MA will stop for the number of days above the 10-day maximum you were – however, you may be able to reclaim your allowance after a short period of disqualification.
Contact With Your Employer
Finally, remember that you are supposed to use this time to focus on motherhood and recovering from your child’s deliver, etc., so you can return to work when you are ready. As a result, your employer should understand that they can only contact you within reason. It might be a good idea to decide on an agreed frequency of contact so that you do not become overwhelmed.
We recommend that you do not try and work more than is necessary. These limits are in place for a reason, and you may be at risk of losing your rights to either stay on leave or receive your pay or allowance – so don’t let that happen!