Maternity Leave & Diagnosis


I wonder if anyone can help me out with the following (I have tried the benefits agency and job centre and they were useless!) I started my maternity leave last November, had baby in December and was diagnosed with BC in Feb. I’m now receiving statutory maternity pay which you get for 39 weeks and I think is due to end around about the 5th August - do I start putting sick notes into my employer then so I go straight on the sick (I should get 6 weeks full pay as per my contract) and then go onto statutory sick pay. I know maternity leave can be up to a year so I would go back some time in November but I dont want to be receiving no money from 5th August until the November - I hope this makes sense to someone!

Jo x

Hi Jo,

It’s been a few years since I was in HR but think that this could all depend on the intention you signed when you started your maternity leave. Did you specify a particular date for your return(5th August perhaps) or did you sign up for the whole 12 months (and originally intended to have your last 3 months unpaid)?

If it’s the former, then I believe you are entitled to go straight onto your contractual 6-wk sick leave. But if it’s the latter I think you’ll find that you’ve got to apply to your employer to end your maternity leave early (to coincide with the end of your paid maternity leave). If they agree, they’d then need your sick notes to qualify for their sick plan.

I’m surprised that Benefits & Job Centre were no use but perhaps your Personnel Dept will be able to help you? You should let them know how you are plus, you might need to ask if you can return to work early so that you can go straight onto their sick plan at the end of your maternity pay. If they refuse to end your maternity leave early, they should be able to tell you if you can claim SSP at the end of your paid maternity leave until you officially return to work (Aug - Nov), then go onto their 6-week sick pay & finally re-claim SSP after that 6 weeks! Hope this makes sense but the attached links might be a bit clearer.


Hi Chris,

went I left work I was never asked and never intimated how long I would be taking off. I work for a firm of Solicitors who in general are never much good at knowing themselves what is right or wrong. I might do want you suggest and go and talk to them and say I intend(ed) coming back to work at the end of the paid time (5th August) and then I should get the 6 weeks at full pay and then revert to SSP (I think!!) The people at the benefits agency just passed me around between 3 of them and neither of them knew!

Jo x

Jobcentre staff are not benefit law experts so are unable to answer your question. Your best bet is probably the CAB as they have employment law experts on hand and are generally knowledgable. Alernatively you can contact