Unless otherwise notified, the date on which an employee returns to work will normally be the first working day 52 weeks after her maternity leave began. The actual return date will normally be recorded in the Maternity Leave Plan, and can be checked by using the maternity calculator tool.
(i) Return to work before the end of the maternity leave period
If the employee wishes to return to work before the end of her full maternity leave period (this will normally be the end date that the department confirmed to her before she went on leave), she must give her department at least eight weeks' notice of her return to work. This notice requirement applies throughout the whole period of leave. The notice period is the minimum that the department is entitled to expect, but the department may, at its discretion, accept less notice.
If the employee tries to return to work without having given the appropriate eight weeks' notice, the department may postpone her return until the end of the eight weeks' notice period. However, the department may not postpone her return to a date later than the end of her maternity leave period.
(ii) Return to work later than previously notified
An employee who has notified her department that she wishes to return to work before the end of her 52 weeks' entitlement to maternity leave, is entitled to change her mind. However, in these circumstances, she should give her department notice of this new, later date at least eight weeks before the earlier date.
(iii) Employees who do not wish to return to work after maternity leave
An employee who does not wish to return to work after her maternity leave must give her department the notice of termination required by her contract of employment. However, if a woman is in the position to do so, it would be helpful to her department if she can give as much notice as possible of her intention to leave her employment.
Please note: If a woman does not return to work for at least three months following her maternity leave period, departments may reclaim the whole of the non-statutory element of maternity pay. If a woman cannot return to work because her fixed-term contract has ended she would not be required to repay any of her maternity pay as long as she had confirmed at the start of the maternity leave that she intended to return to work if suitable alternative work could be found.
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