Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

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pastelgoth
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Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by pastelgoth » Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:07 pm

So....12 years after I finished my undergrad and 4/5 applications later, I've finally secured a place on a Clinical Psychology course. And not just any course, THE course I really wanted. HOWEVER, as it happens, I have also found out that I'm pregnant with my second baby, my due date being just before the course begins. So, both things are very much wanted- the unfortunate thing is that they had to happen at the same time!

I'm now trying to decide what to do. There's no question about whether I can begin the course- the baby would be far too young. My preference is always for being open and honest but I have a feeling I may be shooting myself in the foot if I explain everything upfront in my first communication with the course. They may see it or feel that they can treat it like me declining the place. Other people have suggested that I should accept the place and inform them at a later point. Part of me wonders whether delaying telling them would actually make any difference to the outcome. I feel like they're going to either refuse to defer the place, citing the unknown future funding situation as a reason. If they do agree to defer but say that nothing can be guaranteed because of the future funding situation, and then funding gets pulled next year, I'm probably not going to be able to do the course but in some ways, there's nothing I can do about that.

I've enquired of all my contacts if they've ever known this situation come up and no-one has been able to help. And of course there's no formal statement on it from any of the courses. Not specific enough to help anyway. There's some posts on here but they're from so long ago that I don't know if they provide a useful yardstick. I'm losing sleep over it and I know it's not good for me and baby!

Can anyone help?!x

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ell
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by ell » Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:24 pm

I basically could have written this post 6 years ago (though my baby was due a month after the start date of the course). What I did was to formally accept the place, fill in the paperwork and tick the box on the clearing house etc etc etc. I then wrote an email to the course manager to say what the situation was and that I wanted to discuss options with them. We discussed me starting the course and then taking maternity leave, or me deferring the place. The course strongly recommended deferring the place (there were pros and cons to both options), and I ended up taking that option. Deferring the place works well for the courses because they can then offer that place to someone else this year, then if you decide you don't want to do training next year after all then they can just offer it to someone interviewing next year.

Different courses respond differently to the baby thing, so I can't guarantee you'll have the same positive experience that I did. Also the funding may be different next year, and in that case you might be unlucky. But at the end of the day, baby is coming, you can't do anything about that.

Congratulations on both course place and baby. Hope things work out well for you.

Randomswirls
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by Randomswirls » Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:22 pm

One of the trainees on my cohort was in a similar situation and was advised to start the course and go on maternity leave as if funding changed she would have her place guaranteed.

That said from all accounts the course were brilliant with it all but this didn't relate to me.

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ell
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by ell » Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:41 pm

Yeah, it may be the case that maternity leave might be a safer option. I was fortunate that funding worries were not quite so prominent. But my overall advice remains to accept the place/job, and then discuss the options. This is not an uncommon situation after all.

cascina
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by cascina » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:56 am

Congratulations on getting a place on training and on your pregnancy!

I am not sure if my contribution here is helpful or not as my circumstances were different to yours and, of course, there are legal rights around pregnancy that did not apply in my situation.

I would echo the responses given by others that this seems to be a very course-specific issue. I was offered a place on training last year and accepted. However, in August something happened in my family that was out of my hands and very difficult. I asked the course if I could defer my place but was told that I could not. They were extremely nice about it and I totally understood their reasons which were, essentially, that there was no funding in place for courses for next (this) year.

I do know that someone on a different course WAS able to defer last year although don't know what their individual circumstances were. Perhaps there were some 'conditions' attached to the deferral such as it being dependent on funding.

As I said, your circumstances are different to mine and I would definitely echo others' advice to accept, talk to the course and go on mat leave.

With the benefit of hindsight I think I shot myself in the foot - I did not feel it was ethical to start the course and then find I was not able to give it my best or, worse, have to drop out. It was pretty much the hardest decision I have ever had to take. While I would always put the wellbeing of my kids (and myself) first others have said to me that I should have just taken the place and asked to take a break once the contract was in place if necessary. That didn't sit right for me at the time but maybe I am too honest.

Good luck - although the reasons are different, I totally get what an agonising position this can leave someone in.

pastelgoth
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by pastelgoth » Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:55 pm

@ell
Thanks so much for responding. I really appreciate it. It sounds like your course were very supportive. Fingers crossed I have the same luck! If not, I guess I'll just have to come to terms with it. The funding situation for next year is likely to be the spanner in the works and is giving me the fear because if they pull the funding there is literally no way I will be able to train.

Your advice has been very helpful in informing my approach. One question- Do you remember how long it took to get all the paperwork filled in - i.e. between when you found out the result of the interview and when you told the course? I have the other unfortunate problem that I currently work with people associated with the course, and at 15 weeks it's getting more difficult to keep things under wraps! I note from the e-mail I was sent from the course that the agreement is not wholly official/ finalised until you've completed the health check, which I imagine is not something that I'm really going to be able to do! I imagine you are referring to all the paperwork you can complete remotely, that you are initially sent?

Thanks again for sharing your experience. :)

pastelgoth
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by pastelgoth » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:06 pm

@cascina

Thank you for sharing your experience, and for your sympathy with my situation. It is agonizing. I thought I was totally ok with the possibility of this happening when I went into interview but it is definitely causing me more turmoil than I imagined. I guess at this moment it is the unknown though - once I find out the answer, even if it is negative, I can begin adjusting to it. It is relevant and useful to have the info even if it is not what one wants to hear. It's best to be prepared.

I feel so sorry for you that this happened and the course were unable to accommodate you deferring. It must've been heartbreaking. What are your plans going forward (if you are happy to share this)?

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ell
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by ell » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:02 pm

pastelgoth wrote:@ell
Thanks so much for responding. I really appreciate it. It sounds like your course were very supportive. Fingers crossed I have the same luck! If not, I guess I'll just have to come to terms with it. The funding situation for next year is likely to be the spanner in the works and is giving me the fear because if they pull the funding there is literally no way I will be able to train.

Your advice has been very helpful in informing my approach. One question- Do you remember how long it took to get all the paperwork filled in - i.e. between when you found out the result of the interview and when you told the course? I have the other unfortunate problem that I currently work with people associated with the course, and at 15 weeks it's getting more difficult to keep things under wraps! I note from the e-mail I was sent from the course that the agreement is not wholly official/ finalised until you've completed the health check, which I imagine is not something that I'm really going to be able to do! I imagine you are referring to all the paperwork you can complete remotely, that you are initially sent?

Thanks again for sharing your experience. :)
I was offered the place at my course of choice a day before the final deadline time (mid June), so they were keen to have my answer straight away. I verbally accepted over the phone, then they faxed or emailed the piece of paper I had to sign to accept the place, and then I faxed it straight back that day. I filled in the health form, but didn't mention the pregnancy as I didn't consider it a health condition that would affect my ability to do the course. I was a bit unsure about that but I figured I wouldn't actually be training while pregnant (or at least I'd only be sat in lectures while pregnant, as baby was due about 2 months after course started (he actually came 5 weeks early!)). I waited til the following week to email them re the pregnancy, once I knew all the places had been offered and the process was done and dusted. I suppose I was lucky that the whole thing happened close to the end of the process. The course were extremely supportive, and one of the staff actually helped sort a problem for me round maternity leave/pay stuff (I was in a complex and rather unique situation employment-wise).

You are quite limited in a way with what you can do here. I wonder if you will feel less anxious if you bite the bullet and just talk to them about the pregnancy. I'm not sure at what point the place can be withdrawn from you. But going by typical NHS timings, it might be quite a while til you get an actual contract to sign (we got ours after training had started!), and if people who work on the course realise you're pregnant and you haven't told them, then that could be tricky perhaps.

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maven
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by maven » Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:41 am

Accept the place, and then you have legal protection for being pregnant and a right to take maternity leave that the course will just have to work around. Legally they can't withdraw an offer on the basis of pregnancy or maternity leave, as it is a protected characteristic, so make sure the discussion is not about deferring (unless they offer up this option, and it works for you financially to stay in your current role) but about how they will manage if your maternity leave starts as the course starts!
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

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ell
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by ell » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:24 am

That is helpful to know that a job offer (which is what a training place is, it really helps to remember that at all stages of the thing) can't be taken back due to pregnancy, and that you don't need a contract in place first. Hopefully that will help the OP feel more confident in approaching the course to discuss the options. Also, this is unlikely to be the first time the course has had to deal with this kind of thing. Good luck with finding the best arrangements for you and family.

pastelgoth
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by pastelgoth » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:35 am

Just wanted to say thanks again to everyone who has commented. I have addressed things with the course now- I confirmed in the one e-mail that I accepted the place and also told them about the pregnancy and said that I would need therefore to discuss options. I’m glad I did because it is a great weight off my mind and the response from the course seems very positive so far. I’ve got a meeting with the the senior clinical tutor next week to discuss but it looks like they’re going to allow me to defer- which is what I want to do- there’s no way I can feasibly begin the course as the baby is due 2 weeks before it starts! Thank you again- your responses have been very helpful indeed in helping me establish how to approach this problem and i’ve Done so more confidently as a result.

Now all I need to do is sort out whether I am entitled to any maternity pay from my current NHS job which is a fixed term contract coming to an end just before i’m due! According to the Agenda for Change I should be (because i’ve Worked the required time) despite being on a fixed term contract but there always seems to be some reason these things don’t apply to me! Who’d be a woman eh?!!

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maven
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Re: Deferring place due to pregnancy? Can anyone help?!

Post by maven » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:15 pm

pastelgoth wrote:Just wanted to say thanks again to everyone who has commented. I have addressed things with the course now- I confirmed in the one e-mail that I accepted the place and also told them about the pregnancy and said that I would need therefore to discuss options. I’m glad I did because it is a great weight off my mind and the response from the course seems very positive so far. I’ve got a meeting with the the senior clinical tutor next week to discuss but it looks like they’re going to allow me to defer- which is what I want to do- there’s no way I can feasibly begin the course as the baby is due 2 weeks before it starts! Thank you again- your responses have been very helpful indeed in helping me establish how to approach this problem and i’ve Done so more confidently as a result.

Now all I need to do is sort out whether I am entitled to any maternity pay from my current NHS job which is a fixed term contract coming to an end just before i’m due! According to the Agenda for Change I should be (because i’ve Worked the required time) despite being on a fixed term contract but there always seems to be some reason these things don’t apply to me! Who’d be a woman eh?!!
If you have been there more than six months and notified them of your pregnancy, I think they will be required to pay you maternity pay, even if your contract is due to expire. In fact, there is a chance that finishing your contract (even if it was set up to be fixed term) could be considered unfair dismissal if you are pregnant, so they might choose to extend into the maternity period. More so if you've had continuous NHS service for 2 years or more. So I'd notify them that you intend to start maternity leave before your end date and see what happens!

It says here:
You will qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay as long as you meet the continuous service and pay requirements: You need to have been working for this same employer for 26 weeks leading up to the 15th week before the baby is due. (If you started work for the company before you were pregnant, and continue until you at least reach the 15th week before the week the baby is due you will meet this requirement.)
If you meet this length of service criteria, then as your contract is due to end after the 15th week before the week the baby is due, you will be entitled to SMP.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

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