Returning to Work after Maternity Leave

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NO WIN NO FEE SOLICITORS BASED THROUGHOUT THE UK

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Call Us Now - MON - FRI - 9AM to 5.30PM
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Returning to Work after Maternity Leave

Please also see: A Summary of your Maternity Rights

Pregnant employees are, of course, entitled to return to work after maternity leave.

The employee’s rights are slightly different depending on whether she is returning from Ordinary Maternity Leave (up to 26 weeks) or additional maternity leave (26-52 weeks).

Returning after Ordinary Maternity Leave

If the employee is returning after ordinary maternity leave:

She is entitled to return to the job in which she was employed before her absence… on terms no less favourable than those which would have applied if she had not been absent”.

This means that she is entitled to return to exactly the same job on the same terms. This will not apply if the job no longer exists i.e. if there has been a redundancy situation during the maternity leave.

Example 1: Ms Smith worked as the full time personal secretary to the managing director. When she returned from ordinary maternity leave she was offered the position of pool secretary, to work as secretary to a number of staff. Because the position that she was offered was of a lower status, Ms Smith has been unfairly treated and would have a claim for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination. See the 1982 case of Taylor v Staffordshire Building Society.
Example 2: Ms Jones is a full-time interior designer. When she returned from ordinary maternity leave, she is offered part time work. This is an example of an employee being offered less favourable terms and conditions, and Ms Jones would be able to claim damages for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination. See the 2002 case of Jones-Fraser v First Rung Ltd.

Returning after Additional Maternity Leave

If she is returning after additional maternity leave, the situation is slightly different:

She is again “entitled to return to the job in which she was employed before her absence… on terms no less favourable than those which would have applied if she had not been absentsubject to it being reasonably practicable for her to return.

The onus is on the employer to prove that the it was not reasonably practicable to give the employee her old job back, but of it is able to do this, her employer must offer her “another job which is both suitable for her and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances”. This means that the terms of the new job (pay, benefits and hours etc) must be the same.

Example: Ms Smith is a full time researcher. When she goes on maternity leave, she is replaced with a very competent temporary replacement, who, during Ms Smith’s maternity leave, asks to take on the role on a permanent basis. When Ms Smith returned from additional, she was offered a different job at the same rate of pay. Her employer was unable to establish that it was not reasonably practicable to let her have her job back, and as such, she was unfairly dismissed and discriminated against.

If an employee wants to return early from maternity leave, she must give her employer at least 8 weeks notice.

Please also see: Pregnancy Related Dismissals and A Summary of your Maternity Rights

Contact us now

If you believe that you have been unfairly or constructively dismissed and need specialist advice, please call us on0800 014 8727 to discuss your case, or alternatively, fill out the simple form opposite and we will call you back at a time convenient to you. If you are calling from a MOBILE and have free minutes, please call on 07803 576 339 and we will call you straight back.

No win no fee

If you contact us, we will carry out a free, no obligation assessment and, in the event that you have a case, we will offer to represent you on a no win no fee basis.

We understand that these processes can be stressful and daunting, but we are here to make that process easier for you and give you the advice that you need.

The information on this website is for guidance purposes only. Each case is unique. Please contact us on 0800 014 8727, or alternatively, fill out the simple form opposite and we will carry out an assessment of  your case. If you are calling from aMOBILE and have free minutes, please call use 07803 576 339 and we will call you straight back.

Tom Street & Co.