Part Time Return to Work from Maternity Leave

Site updated on February 17, 2020

If you left a full time position and you would like to return from maternity leave on a part-time basis you should discuss this at the earliest opportunity with your employer. In fact you have no automatic right to demand a part time job, if the job you left was full time. You are entitled to request a change to your employment terms, provided you have 26 weeks service with your Employer and you have not made a request in the last 12 months.

However, if your employer refuses to even consider a return on a part time basis, this may amount to sex discrimination. Since April 2003 you also have the right to request flexible working, not just part-time. For more information on this, refer to the Flexible Working section.

Your employer must justify the decision to refuse you a part-time job or other changes to your employment terms. Of course they may be able to do this, by pointing out that the part-time move will cause the business to suffer in some way. Your employer would be expected to put forward reasonable arguments to demonstrate that the job could not be done part time or on a job share basis. You will be asked to support your request, so you should think through the impact your request might have on colleagues and the work you do. Ask yourself how your request might be viewed by your Employer.

If you feel that your employer has unreasonably refused your request to resume work on a part time or job share basis, you can take the issue to an Employment Tribunal.

Ask for help from our Advice Line .

Your Employer might agree to your request, or after discussion you might find and agree on a  suitable alternative way of working.

Your Employer can reject your request, and you can appeal that.

Finally your Employer may not know whether your request can be managed. In this situation, ideally, your Employer should consider your request by working on  a trial basis, perhaps for a month or two. If, for any reason, this does not work out, at least your employer can point to the fact that they were prepared to give it a try. Put your request for flexible working in writing to your employer and it would help your case if you could say how you think it could work. Check your contract or Employment Handbook for information on flexible working in your business.

If you are not allowed to make a flexible working request, or your Employer ignores your request, you may be entitled to compensation.

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