Working rights after maternity leave
What firms can give to accommodate employees who have taken maternity leave and their vacation entitlement might be confusing. This document outlines your responsibilities as an employer and how employees should communicate before starting a family.
When my employee began her maternity leave, she stated that she would return to work once her maternity pay expired. They’ve now informed me that they’ll be returning to work in three months.
It is a right from day one to take a full year (52 weeks) of maternity leave, with 39 weeks paid as either maternity benefit or maternity allowance, depending on National Insurance contributions.
To be eligible for either of these benefits, an employee must notify their employer 15 weeks before the due date of the pregnancy. Furthermore, the employee should state the expected week of labor and the start date of their maternity leave. Maternity leave can begin 11 weeks before the predicted week of childbirth if the employee desires. Alternatively, they could work till the actual birth date.
When an employer learns of the pregnancy, they should write to the employee within 28 days to clarify their return-to-work date. Although many individuals return after their maternity leave is up, it’s usually preferable to expect an employee to be gone for a full year.
If an employee chooses to change this date, they must give eight weeks’ notice unless all parties agree that shorter notice is required.
At the end of her maternity leave, my employee wants to take annual leave. Is it necessary for me to agree?
While on maternity leave, your vacation entitlement continues to accrue. However, employees cannot take yearly leave and maternity leave at the same time.
The employer and employee should address holiday entitlement as soon as possible so that everyone is on the same page. To minimize disturbance, it may be agreed that leave will be taken before or after maternity leave.
Another approach is that after returning to work, an employee works on some of their regular working days and takes the rest of the time off as vacation until the accrued vacation time is used up. This should be negotiated ahead of time and is best accomplished by mutual agreement between the company and the employee.
‘Keeping in touch’ days have been stated by my employee. What exactly are they?
A: If both the employee and the company agree, an employee can work for up to 10 days without ending her maternity leave. It could be used to ease the person back into work, such as for a training day or attending conference meetings. It’s vital to remember that neither party can force the other to utilize this service, and both parties should agree on the details and payment terms.
In three weeks, my employee will return to work. I’d like them to do something else.
A: An employee who has been on maternity leave for fewer than 26 weeks has the right to return to the same employment and should be entitled to any better terms and conditions put in place while on leave.
Employees who have taken more than 26 weeks of maternity leave (Additional Maternity Leave) have the right to return to the same work on the same terms unless it is not reasonably practicable due to major organizational changes. They have the right to find another work that is both suitable and appropriate in that case. A suitable job must offer terms that are at least as good as the ones they had before. Pay, benefits, vacation time, and seniority must all be comparable to their previous position.
Michele Pitney is a senior adviser and collective conciliator at Acas, where she has worked for nearly ten years in various roles.
She is an experienced trainer who has planned and conducted courses for various private, public, and non-profit organizations addressing the full range of employment relations and employment law concerns.
Michele assisted in developing Acas’ training and online information on the impact of menopause in the workplace.
Michele is a CIPD, ITOL, and Manchester Industrial Relations Society member.