Statutory Maternity Leave: returning to work
You're entitled to 52 weeks of Statutory Maternity Leave. You have employment rights and responsibilities when you return to work after Statutory Maternity Leave.
Returning to work after Statutory Maternity Leave
When returning to work after Ordinary Maternity Leave (the first 26 weeks of your Statutory Maternity Leave), you have a right to the same job and the same terms and conditions as if you hadn’t been away.
This also applies when you come back after Additional Maternity Leave (the last 26 weeks of your Statutory Maternity Leave). If your employer shows it's not reasonably practical to return to your original job (for example, because the job no longer exists) you don't have the same right. Your employer must offer you alternative work with the same terms and conditions as if you hadn’t been away.
Giving notice of your return to work
Your employer will assume that you will take all 52 weeks of your Statutory Maternity Leave. If you take the full 52 weeks, you don’t need to give notice that you are coming back. But it's helpful to tell your employer.
If you wish to return earlier, for example, when your Statutory Maternity Pay ends, you must give at least eight weeks’ notice. If you don't, your employer can insist that you don’t return until the eight weeks have passed. You must tell your employer that you:
- are returning to work early
- want to change the date of your return
If you decide not to return to work at all, you must give your employer notice in the normal way.