Maternity Leave

Many thanks to our current trainees who have contributed to this information.

Think about timing – when would be best for you? Talk to others who have done this at different points in their training/career.

As well as all your own personal factors some things worth considering are shifts/on call rotas in hospital posts, losing your current allocated rota, the possibility of rotations elsewhere in the deanery and being out of synch with your peer group. Also Hospital posts change over in February and August which means that posts are most likely to be available at these times.

For those with only three months or less remaining of their GP training it is particularly important to consider the length of time off. If leave goes over 12 months with 3 months or less remaining an extension will be required.

Some people find coming back with only GP left to do easier to organise – you don’t have to worry about shifts, suitable specialities being available or fitting with others on Aug/Feb start times.

Once you are pregnant you must tell your employer about the pregnancy at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week the baby is due. However, it’s really helpful if you can talk to Sue and the PDs as soon as you’re happy to share the news. There are things to discuss about taking maternity leave and your plans on return. There is a form they will discuss with you to officially inform the deanery. Also don’t forget to let the following people know: your educational and clinical supervisors, the medical staffing department in hospital posts or your practice manager in GP posts.

During maternity leave you accrue annual leave. This is taken before returning to training (it does not count towards training time). You need to liaise with the single lead employer so that the appropriate amount of leave is paid as such.

We all decide to come back at different times after maternity leave – for some of us 6 months is just right, others take the whole year allowed. If you can, try and avoid certain milestones such as weaning as it can be difficult to return to work when all this is going on!

Finances play a big part for some, although the NHS maternity pay is very good. If you have 12 months continuous service with one or more NHS employers at the beginning of the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth, and you have notified your intention to return to work with the NHS, you are entitled to:

  • 8 weeks’ full pay, less any Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance (MA)
  • 18 weeks’ half pay plus any SMP or MA (providing the total does not exceed full pay)
  • 13 weeks’ SMP or MA
  • 13 weeks’ unpaid leave.

Shared Parental Leave

Shared parental leave (SPL) is created when an eligible mother / adopter brings their maternity or adoption leave to an end early. The untaken weeks of maternity or adoption leave can be taken as SPL if the mother/adopter or their partner is eligible for this, up to a
maximum of 50 weeks.

If you are considering applying for shared parental leave please contact one of the PDs to discuss this.

Returning to Work after Maternity Leave

Taking maternity leave will mean that you lose your allocated rota.

If there are suitable rotations available on the North Oxfordshire Scheme you will be given preference for these but you could also be required to take posts at other Oxford Deanery schemes.

If it is possible you will still go to your allocated ST3 practice but if it is not possible you will be allocated to another available practice. It’s a good idea to send e-mails to everyone involved to remind them that you are about to return!

GP Practices are often used to people taking time off and will support you in your return, often with a week or two of sitting in or longer appointment times. They can also be flexible with your start and/or finish times but only if you talk to them in advance about your situation

Consider a course before returning – such as the GP update or Hot Topics courses. Things do change over the course of time off that you may miss.

Having a child makes you a better doctor – consultations with babies are much easier once you have your own

Would you like to return to work full time or LTFT? If you are considering applying for LTFTT the sooner you put in your application the better.

Deciding to work part time is a big decision. You need to consider financial aspects, child care arrangements, and your fulfilment as a GP trainee.

Moving from full-time to part-time is relatively easy as an ST3 as general practice lends itself to part-time working. However this may be more challenging with hospital posts.

Remember that if you re-start part-time in general practice, everything will probably need to be done on the day, even at the end of a busy evening surgery, as most jobs won’t wait until you are back at work

The days you work are important; you will have preferences for example would you rather work three days in a row to get them out of the way or split them up? But departments and practices will also have needs so prepare to be flexible.