arrow_up-blue blog branches consultations events facebook-icon facebook-icon2 factsheet forum-icon forum hands key link location lock mail measure menu_plus news pdf pdf2 phone policies publications related search share subjectguide twitter-icon word instagram-icon youtube-icon

10 ways to plan for the end of your maternity leave

10 ways to plan for the end of your maternity leave

1. Letting your employer know you’re returning 

You do not need to tell your employer that you are returning to work at the end of the 52 week maternity leave period. If you want to return sooner than this you must give your employer at least 8 weeks’ notice in writing of the date you will be returning. Read more in maternity, paternity and adoption.

2. Sickness after your maternity leave 

If you are sick after maternity leave, follow your employer’s sickness policy. If the illness is related to your pregnancy, the employer must should not take into account this sickness absence when calculating your time off sick - it must be recorded separately.  

3. If you want to hand in your notice 

If you do not intend to return to work, then you would need to give notice in line with your contract. You may have to pay back contractual maternity pay. We would, though, urge you to speak to us before you make a decision. Read more about giving notice.

4. Annual leave while on maternity leave

Your annual leave accrues during your maternity leave. It is important to discuss with your employer, at an early stage, when you will take your accrued annual leave.  Read more in maternity, paternity and adoption.

5. Right to return to your old job 

You have the right to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions provided you return before or at the end of your OML period. During the AML period, if your employer can show it is not reasonably practical for you to return to your old job, they can offer you suitable alternative employment on similar terms and conditions. RCN members should seek our advice if they have any concerns about this.

6. Changing your hours

You may have the right to make a flexible working request to change your hours because of childcare, provided you’ve been employed for a certain amount of time and have not made a request for flexible work in the last 12 months.  Read more about changing your hours

7. Benefit entitlements

You can use the Turn2us benefits calculator to ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to.  

8. Health and safety 

If your work could involve a risk to new mothers, there must be a specific risk assessment carried out. If a risk is revealed, your employer must do all it reasonably can to remove it or prevent exposure to it. 

9. Breastfeeding 

Let your employer know, in writing, that you are a breastfeeding mother. They should prove you with a place to rest. Read more in breastfeeding at work.

10. Taking time off for family matters 

As an employee, you have the right to take time off to deal with any unexpected or sudden problem involving a dependant. Whether you will receive pay depends on your contract or local policy. Parental leave allows you to take time off to care for your child or to spend more time with them. Read more in time off work.


Get help

As an RCN member, you can find answers to your questions about work - and more - in our comprehensive advice. You can also find out how to contact the advice team. 

Search our advice