Yes, you can add your annual leave to the end of your maternity leave if your employer agrees. You build up all annual leave entitlements when you are on maternity leave.
You should agree with your employer when you will take this annual leave, which may be before you go on maternity leave, at the end of your maternity leave or later in the year. You must be allowed to carry over any unused part of your statutory leave entitlement of 28 days (which includes bank holidays).
The law is not clear if your contract says you are entitled to more than 28 days (which includes bank holidays) and you should take advice if that applies to you.
Yes, if your employer agrees. However, there is no legal right to do this and you should discuss with your employer how this would work.
You must be allowed to carry over any unused part of your statutory leave entitlement of 28 days (which includes bank holidays). The law is not clear if your contract says you are entitled to more than 28 days (including bank holidays) and you should take advice if that applies to you.
If you are ill you are entitled to take sick leave in the normal way at the end of any period of maternity, paternity, adoption, or shared parental leave. You should follow the normal sickness procedures. You are counted as being back at work (and on sick leave) if you cannot return to work because of illness.
You must be treated like any other employee who has not been on maternity leave, which includes receiving any contractual sick pay. If you are treated unfavourably because you were on maternity leave, for example, by being told you cannot have any sick pay because you were on maternity leave, this would be maternity discrimination.
If you are off sick after you return from maternity leave, even if the illness is related to pregnancy or the birth, you do not have the same protection from discrimination as you did when pregnant.
If you are off sick for a long period, your employer can take disciplinary action against you and ultimately dismiss you provided they follow a fair procedure. Your employer must not take any account of any pregnancy-related sickness during your protected period or absence on maternity leave when deciding what action to take. However, your employer can take into account any illness outside the protected period even if it is pregnancy-related illness.
You can find out more about the protected period in the Equality Commission’s publication: