Do I have the right to return to the same job I had before going on maternity leave?

If you are an employee who has been on unpaid maternity leave, you are entitled to come back to the job you had before going on leave, even if another person has been working in your role as a replacement. If you were transferred to a safe job before you took unpaid parental leave, or your hours were reduced due to pregnancy, then you are entitled to return to the job you had before the transfer or reduction.

If you are on a fixed term contract and take unpaid parental leave, different rules apply.

If the fixed term contract ends:

  • while you are on leave - you are not entitled to return to the same job (unless your employment contract says otherwise)
  • after you have come back from leave - you are entitled to return to the same job and finish working the contract.

An employer doesn’t have to extend a fixed term contract because someone is taking unpaid parental leave.