Must I keep an employee’s role available until she returns?
If the employee only takes Ordinary Maternity Leave of up to 26 weeks they are entitled to return to the same job they were employed in before going on maternity leave. The terms of employment must be the same, or not less favourable than prior to maternity leave. They can of course be more favourable if pay rises have occurred during maternity leave. Where the employee has taken any period of Additional Maternity Leave after the 26 weeks’ Ordinary Maternity Leave then they are generally entitled to return to work to the same job, but the employer has more flexibility to allow them to move the employee into another role and not the same role. If it is not practicable for the employer to allow the employee to return in the same job, the employee is entitled to return to a different job which is suitable and appropriate and on no less favourable terms and conditions.
Is an employee entitled to flexible working when she returns?
Employees who have children under the age of 17 have the right to request flexible working. An employee coming back from maternity leave has the right to return to the same or similar job, and will have the right to request flexible working. If the employee requests flexible working then the employer should give proper consideration to any request under the statutory procedure. There is no requirement to grant flexible working but any request should be considered in line with the statutory scheme.
Can an employee resign during her maternity leave?
An employee is entitled to resign during maternity leave if she so chooses and not return to work. The employee must give their contractual notice to terminate their employment and this may be done so that their employment ends at the same time that their maternity leave is due to end.