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Can I resign while on maternity leave?

The lowdown on your rights if you are thinking of resigning from your job while on maternity

What if I want to resign from my job during maternity leave?

What you need to know about resigning from your job while you are on maternity leave

Mum handing in her notice

Nothing turns your world upside down more than having a baby, so even if you never contemplated it before, you may consider handing in your notice while you are pregnant.

I have decided not to return to work. What should I do and what am I entitled to?

If you decide not to come back, you should resign as you would anytime and give the notice period stated in your contract or agreed with your employer. If you resign during your maternity leave, you do not have to go into work to ‘work’ your notice, you can remain on maternity leave. 

But if you resign after the end of your maternity leave, you should work your notice unless you have agreed to take annual leave or you need to take sick leave.

Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance does not need to be repaid if you resign and you should continue to receive it from your employer until the end of the 39 week maternity pay period.

If we have shared parental leave and then one of us resigns, what happens?

Parents have the choice to take their leave separately or together. If one parent resigns whilst on shared parental leave, the parent remains entitled to the leave up to the end of his or her notice period. If a parent resigns before the period starts, the parent will not be entitled to it as you must be employed up to the start of the leave.

During the 39 week maternity pay period; if mum resigns she is entitled to be paid any remaining SMP or Maternity Allowance up to the end of the 39 weeks. 

Will I have to repay it if I resign as my employer pays contractual maternity pay?

You are entitled to any contractual maternity pay until the end of your notice period. But, do check your employment contract or maternity policy to see if you are required to repay any contractual maternity pay if you do not return to work for a certain period after maternity leave.

How much notice will I have to give?

Check your written contract of employment if you have one as your notice period will be stated there. If not, you may have a written statement of employment particulars or a letter when you started your job which had details of your rate of pay, notice period etc. If in doubt do ask your employer or HR department.
If there is no agreed notice period at your work, the law says that if you have been employed for one month or more, you should give at least one week’s notice
You remain employed during your notice period and should continue to accrue your normal benefits such as annual leave. You are also entitled to take sick leave if necessary or to take some of your annual leave, with the agreement of your employer.

Will I get paid for annual leave I’m owed?

You still are entitled to rights such as annual leave until your notice period ends. If you still have annual leave when you leave, your employer must pay you for any annual leave that you have not been able to take.

Will I get any benefits if I leave my job?

Child Benefit is available to all new mums once their baby is born. Families in receipt of Child Benefit will be subject to a high earner child benefit charge if one or more parent earns over £50,000.

Child Tax Credit and/or Working Tax Credit is available to some working and non-working families depending on your family income. 

If you or your partner receive Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance or Child Tax Credit of more than the family element you may be entitled to a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500 for your first child (or if there are no other children aged under 16 in your family) or first multiple birth. Claim on form SF100 (Sure Start), available from Jobcentre Plus offices, from 11 weeks before the baby is due until 3 months after the birth.
Some of these benefits will gradually be replaced by Universal Credit. 

If I resigned from my job can I still claim JSA?

No. However, if you had to resign because you were not able to return to work part-time, for instance, or because you were being treated badly at work during pregnancy, you should give this as your reason for leaving your job as you may be able to claim that you are not voluntarily unemployed. Resigning from your job should not affect claims for other benefits such as income support or Employment Support Allowance. If your claims are refused you should get specialist advice.

Can I resign while on maternity leave?