I've had kind of an informal chat with my boss today, who has told me that since June when I started working for the department, I have had nearly 200 hours off in sickness. Since becoming pregnant I had reduced my hours slightly by an hour a day so my OH can pick me up when he finishes and I don't have to wait 20 mins for the bus and then sit in rush hour traffic for 30 mins when feeling sick/tired during the first tri. I would now like to increase my hours back to full time so I can get all the maternity pay I can but my boss wants to talk to HR about it cause of the level of sickness I've had. Apparently he is concerned. Bearing in mind I had 3 weeks off in July due to being in hospital and recovering, so that would have caused alot of hours. It's not all random sick days. What I want to know is, can employers make you take maternity leave earlier than planned because of high sickness levels? And if so, can they make you take it before 29 weeks? I was under the impression they can but I may have misunderstood as I can't find anything about it on the Directgov website, or in the leaflet my employers gave me a while back. Any help would be appreciated.