HR Tip: Return from maternity leave

21st Mar 2006
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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.

Q: A woman on maternity leave wishes to return early but has given us only one week's notice to do so. Can she do this?

A: If she informed you about her pregnancy and maternity leave in the proper way then you were required within the next 28 days to give her a written note stating when she is due to return to work. That will be 26 or 52 weeks after the start of her leave depending whether or not she is entitled to Additional Maternity Leave. If she wishes to return before that date you can insist that she gives you 28 days notice provided that does not take her beyond the 26 or 52 week period. If you failed to give her that written response, however, she can come back at any time she chooses. You must make yourself fully aware of the rights of both the woman and the employer in these cases so as to avoid any unpleasantness.

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