Returning to Work
If you take your full leave entitlement and the date you confirmed with your employer for returning has not changed, you do not need to give any further notice. However it is good practice to get in touch towards the last two months of your leave just to reconfirm your intention. If you decide you do not wish to return to work, your period of notice will be as stated in your regular contract (usually one or three months).
Returning to work – key points
• If you wish to return early. You must give at least eight weeks’ notice that you want to return before the statutory leave or agreed leave period is due to expire.
• The 52 weeks of possible leave is divided into 26 weeks of ‘ordinary leave’ and 26 weeks of ‘additional leave’.
• If you return after the 26 weeks of ‘ordinary leave’, you have the right to return to the same job under the same terms of employment that you had before you went on maternity leave.
• If you opt to return after the second 26 weeks (the ‘additional leave’), you have the same right, except where your employer can prove that it is not possible to take you back in the same role. If this is the case you must be offered other work with the same terms of employment you had before you went on leave.
• You are entitled to request a flexible working pattern while your child is 16 years or younger (18 years or younger in cases where the child is disabled). Your employer is obliged to consider your request and to respond to in writing. But within reason your request can be denied.
• If you want to continue breastfeeding when you return to work, notify your employer so that a risk assessment of your job can be carried out to see if it in any way might harm you or your baby while you are breastfeeding. Your employer is obliged to find suitable rest facilities for you.
• If you need more time off to care for your child beyond maternity leave, you are entitled to a maximum of four weeks parental leave which can be taken before you return to work or taken at a later date, after you have returned to work.
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