Returning to work after your maternity leave

When can you return to work

You can return to work any time from 2 weeks after the birth and before Additional Maternity Leave (AML) has finished. If you are planning to return to work before the end of your full 52 week entitlement you must complete and submit the Notification of early return to work after maternity / adoption leave form. You should complete and return this form to at least 8 weeks before your planned date of return.

Before you return to work

  • If you intend to take your maternity leave in accordance with the statutory maternity entitlement (52 weeks), it is assumed you will be returning to work at the end of the total maternity leave period. The date of your expected return will have been confirmed to you in writing by HR Services before you started your leave. No further action is required unless you change your mind and decide to return to work early.
  • If you decide to return to work early i.e. before 52 weeks, you have to formally notify the University. To do this complete and submit the Return to work from maternity leave form. You must send this completed form to both your line manager and (HR Services).
  • If you are returning early but do not give the University the correct notice, we may postpone your return to work date until 8 weeks' notice has been given or until your 52 week's maternity leave expires.
  • You may wish to talk to your manager about flexible working if you want to change your hours of work.

Returning to work

  • Usually you will return to the same job in which you were employed prior to maternity leave, on the same terms and conditions of employment as if you had not been absent. If this is not possible, you should be offered a similar job on terms and conditions of employment which are no less favourable.
  • Your manager will carry out a further risk assessment when you return to work if you are breastfeeding. If you are intending to breastfeed after your return to work you should make your line manager aware. This is important as there is a legal requirement on the University to protect the breastfeeding mother and their child. If you or your line manager would like any specialist or confidential advice on the possible risks involved in your work whilst you are breastfeeding you (and / or your line manager) can contact the University's Occupational Health Advisor (Ext 4608).

Reducing hours and flexible working

The University gives sympathetic consideration to a request from a full time employee who wishes to return to work on a part time basis after maternity leave. You are encouraged to discuss your situation with your line manager as soon as possible. You will need to complete a flexible working request at least 12 weeks before your return to work. This should be done in accordance with the Flexible Working Policy.

If you decide not to return

If you decide not to return to work after maternity leave, you must give written notice to your line manager of your resignation. It is helpful to receive as much notice as possible, but this should not be less than the notice period in your contract of employment. Where appropriate, a payment will be made in lieu of annual leave not taken before the start of maternity leave and calculated up to the last working day.

Failure to return to work at the end of maternity leave will be treated as unauthorised absence unless you are sick and produce a medical certificate to cover the absence from the end of the maternity period. Where you fail to return to work by the agreed date, without explanation, this may be treated as unauthorised absence.

Where you have benefitted from Occupational Maternity Pay you must return to work for a minimum of 3 months after maternity leave. If you do not, the University will normally reclaim some of the maternity pay paid to you. The amount to be reclaimed would be the non-statutory element of maternity pay. The University's decision to reclaim any excess paid will take account of the circumstances of the individual case.