Where an employee is off sick when her maternity leave is due to start will her sick pay continue or will she transfer to maternity pay?
The employee's maternity leave period generally commences with the date she has notified as the date on which she intends her maternity absence to commence. However, the employee's maternity leave will commence automatically on the day following the first day on which she is absent from work wholly or partly because of pregnancy after the beginning of the fourth week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC). For example, if the employee's maternity leave was due to start one week before her EWC but she is off sick for a pregnancy-related reason in the third week before her EWC, her maternity leave and statutory maternity pay will start automatically on the day after the first day of her illness, so sick pay will cease at this point. The employee must notify her employer that she is absent from work wholly or partly because of pregnancy and of the date on which her absence for that reason began as soon as is reasonably practicable. Odd days of pregnancy-related illness may be disregarded at the employer's discretion if the employee wishes to defer the start of her maternity leave period. These statutory provisions do not apply to sickness absence that is unrelated to the employee's pregnancy, in which case the employee can remain on sick leave and receive sick pay right up to the date she notified as the date on which she intends her maternity leave to start.
If the employee is off sick when her maternity leave is due to start and the maternity leave start date is before the beginning of the fourth week before the EWC, the maternity leave will still start on the date the employee notified as the commencement date, regardless of the fact that she is off sick or the reason for the sickness absence. As the statutory maternity pay period can start on any day of the week to coincide with the date that the employee commences her maternity leave, sick pay will cease as maternity leave and pay start.