Choosing when to commence Maternity Leave
Things to consider...
Pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period is a marathon, not a sprint. You may choose to work up to 40 weeks if that suits you. However, do weigh up both that working as a Doctor is a strenuous job, plus the initial process of giving birth / taking care of a newborn baby is extremely tiring. It is your right to choose adequate rest in the weeks prior to the birth if you so wish.
When do you start maternity leave?
This is dependent on each person and pregnancy. You may start maternity leave any time from 29 weeks, unless the baby arrives sooner. However, there are several circumstances which you may wish to consider:
· What role will you be undertaking prior to maternity leave
o Commute time
o Intensity of role
o Any exams or extracurricular commitments which you are continuing
· The complexity of your pregnancy - you may be advised to have an early induction, or bed rest for example.
· Accrued annual leave prior to maternity leave
o You are usually expected to take any annual leave you have accrued up until the point of starting maternity leave before you commence your maternity leave. However, if you are unable to take this for service reasons, you agree with your clinical lead or your baby arrives before your EDD, you can carry this forward. You should document this in writing ideally before (or shortly after if you commence leave unexpectedly) you go on maternity leave.
o You therefore might plan to start maternity leave, for example, on your EDD (the latest that you can start your maternity leave), but take the last two weeks before that as annual leave. If your baby arrived at 39 weeks, you would then carry forward a week of leave.
· Best laid plans do go astray- you may bring your maternity date forward if required.
· Your usual sick leave entitlements remain while you are pregnant.
· If you are sick with a pregnancy related illness after 36 weeks, your maternity leave will usually automatically start (unless if it mild, and you and your department agree that you can return to work).