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Black and white in Burgundy Book

What happens to maternity pay when a teacher accepts a new post and does not return to the job she held before taking leave?

The Burgundy Book, the

long-standing agreement between the unions and the employers on conditions of service, is quite

specific on this point and, indeed, extends the position on taking a new post beyond the teacher's return to work.

The relevant section states that a teacher's entitlement to

maternity pay is conditional upon her being available for full-time, or equivalent part-time, duty for a period of at least 13 weeks form the date of her return to work. If she does not return, "she shall refund such sum as the

employing EA at their discretion may decide".

A teacher with at least two years' continuous service is

entitled to retain the first six weeks' payment.

The local education authority may exercise its discretion not to ask for its money back and it may also reduce the 13 weeks requirement, but it is by no means bound to do so.

If, of course, the teacher has accepted another job which starts before the 13 weeks has expired, she will, in any case, be paid by her new employer and has little ground for complaint.

Questions to Helpline, The TES, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX.

Archimedes regrets that he cannot enter into individual correspondence.

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