Since April 2007, with no service requirement, you have the right to take an additional period of maternity leave. This allows you to return to work up to 26 weeks after the end of your 26 weeks Ordinary leave.
You are therefore entitled to a total of 52 weeks leave.
You should have received a letter from your Employer – before starting your leave – which confirmed your agreed return to work date. If you intend to return on this date, you do not have to notify your Employer in advance of your return, but it would be good practice let your Employer know!
If you wish to return to your job earlier or later than planned, you can do so. You must give your Employer at least 8 weeks notice, in writing, of your decision to return earlier than originally planned.This all still applies if you work part-time.
When commencing your maternity leave, you do not have to make any decision about your additional maternity leave at that point. Your employer should assume that you will take ordinary leave (26 weeks) unless you tell them differently. You retain the right to take additional maternity leave. If you choose to inform your employer that you do wish to take additional leave at this point you can if you wish. Whatever decision you make, your entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay is not affected.Your right to return to work is not affected by these decisions either.
Since 2008 you are also entitled to things like holiday entitlement and other benefits throughout your entire maternity leave, including any Additional Leave you take.