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Career break and maternity leave members

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To support our members throughout every stage of their lives and careers, we’ve updated our membership options.  Our membership offer entitled ‘career break’, which includes maternity leave, ensures that the RCN is there for you throughout your leave. 

For a reduced fee of just £10 a year you can stay in membership and continue to access RCN legal cover, support and representation, as well as all of our other services and our member discounts.   To receive support and representation you will need to revert to full membership payment. 

You are covered!  You can rely on the RCN for ongoing workplace protection and advice, giving you piece of mind throughout your leave. 

3 key benefits: 

  1. Save money - you pay just £10 a year
  2. Stay protected – you can continue to access workplace protection *
  3. Keep representing – taking a career break will not affect your eligibility to stand for election

To switch to career break membership, get in touch with our membership team on 0345 772 6100 (Option 1 – Membership). Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 8.30pm.

*To receive support and representation you will need to revert for membership. 

Pat Cullen

Pat Cullen - General Secretary and Chief Executive

“The RCN has introduced these changes to ensure that our members are supported throughout their life stages and careers. We want to help our members save money but stay protected” 

Member category changes: FAQs

Career break (including maternity leave) 

Most forms of an extended break from employment are counted as a career break but to be eligible you must not be undertaking any form of paid work during your break.

If you are taking a career break or a period of maternity leave, you can stay in membership for just £10 a year (£0.84 a month).

To ensure that we have enough time to adjust your payments, we ask that you let us know a month in advance. However, you can transfer to career break membership at any time during your break, but we are unable to backdate or refund any payments.

No, you can transfer to the career break membership at any time.

The career break category is capped for a duration of 12 months. Any further career break membership would require at least 12 months of full membership payment.  

Yes, to ensure that you are fully covered by the RCN when you return to work, you need to let us know so that we can transfer you to the correct payment plan.

If during the 12 months you require RCN representation you must revert to the full payment plan and would not be eligible to transfer to the career break plan again until 12 months of full membership had passed. You can do this by calling the membership team on 0345 772 6100.

No, we won’t ask you to provide evidence of your career break, however, you won’t be covered for support and representation if you are not eligible for our career break membership.

No, we are not able to backdate any changes to your membership.

No. Historically, standing for election required members to be in three consecutive years of membership. Under our new career break/maternity leave category members who want to stand for election at a later date will not break the length of their membership by taking maternity leave or a career break. Please note that these changes came into force on 1 May 2022 and cannot be applied retrospectively.