An employee told me that she does not wish to return to work following her maternity leave. What should I do in those circumstances?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 4 October 2011
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

Employees who decide not to return to work at all after maternity leave are obliged to give their employer notice in the normal way. The relevant period of notice will be either the statutory minimum, or the contractual period of notice, if longer. Where the contract fails to specify a notice period, the courts will imply a reasonable notice period, subject to the statutory minimum. What is ‘reasonable’ will depend on seniority and how long an employee has worked there.

In a maternity policy it is worth stating that the amount of maternity leave left to run must be at least equal to the employee’s notice period. Otherwise, the employee can be required to return to work for the remainder of

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Arthur Cox. Contact telephone number is +44 28 9026 2673 or email

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