A Working Mum
When you return in to the working environment after statutory maternity leave you have employment rights and responsibilities.
After your ordinary maternity Leave (the first 26 weeks of your statutory maternity leave), you have a right to return 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).
However, if your employer can show it is not reasonably practical to return to your original job (eg because the job no longer exists) you do not have the same right. In that case, they must offer alternative work with the same terms and conditions as if you hadn’t been away.
Your employer will assume that you will take all of your 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. However, it can be a good idea to do so.
If you wish to return earlier then you must give them 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.
Parents of children aged 16 and under, or of disabled children aged 18 and under, are entitled to request a flexible working pattern. This can help enormously when trying to balance caring for your child and work. Your employer must consider your request and reply to you in writing.
If you're intending to breastfeed when you've returned to work you should let your employer know in writing. Ideally you should do this before you return so that your employer has time to plan.
Your employer must carry out a risk assessment to identify any possible risks to you as a breastfeeding mother or to your baby. If there are risks they must do all that is reasonable to remove the risks or make alternative arrangements for you. Your employer must also provide suitable rest facilities.
Although there is no legal requirement, employers are encouraged to provide a private, healthy and safe environment for nursing mothers to express and store milk.
You can find out more information regarding returning to work here