So you’re going to have a baby…if you work, this will mean taking some kind of maternity leave. I know there are different types depending if you work full time, part time or are self employed. As I work full time, I only know the ins and outs of what you need to do in that case.
I always knew I would take a year off work. You are entitled to take a year off, with 9 months paid SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay). Your employer may then give you EMP (Enhanced Maternity Pay) if that is a package they provide – some do, some don’t, and the amount they give will vary. There are certain time limits in which you have to tell your employer of your pregnancy, so they can process your leave and arrange cover etc if needed. You will need to give them a MAT B1 form – your midwife will give you one at your 25 week appointment – if they forget (like mine did!) just ask for it. Your employer needs this to apply for your SMP, so it’s very important you get it!!
What else do you need to prepare for your maternity leave? Well, everyone will prepare differently, but for me personally, it meant having a good old clear out of my desk, and doing a mammoth hand-over note (it took me 6 months to write and was 15 pages long!) As I work as a PA, it’s in my nature to try and be organised well in advance of any deadline, however this can be difficult when I’m so busy at work. I was so worried about doing my handover, as I’m a very particular person and wanted to make sure that I covered everything in my note, but didn’t scare off the new girl with how much work she had to do!! I was writing it right up until the day I left, but I’ve heard that she is using it a lot and had found it helpful!
As a commuter, I had to sort out my train ticket. As I usually applied for an annual ticket, I had to decide if I wanted to get another one or just pay for monthly tickets, given I only had 6 months left at work. I decided to go for monthly as it would be less hassle having to claim back a refund and then pay my work back for the loan.
I then had some things to think about at work, like should I continue my pension, and were there any other benefits I need to stop or sign up to. I decided to carry on paying into my pension, as it’s a percentage of my wage rather than a fixed amount. I also decided to sign up to childcare vouchers, so I could start paying in the account in time for when I return to work (not that I wanted to think about it before I’d even left!!)
I’m sure there were lots of other things I had to do before leaving, but these were the main ones I remember doing! What did you have to organise before leaving? Did you find it stressful having to sort stuff out, or were you pretty relaxed about it? Let me know in the comments below!