Returning to work

An employee who’s been on parental leave is entitled to come back to the job they had before they went on leave.

If the job doesn’t exist anymore, the employer has to offer the employee a suitable available job. This must be a job the employee is qualified for and that is nearest in pay and status to their original job.

If someone else is doing the employees' job this doesn’t mean that the job doesn’t exist anymore. Employers have to tell employees who are doing someone who’s on parental leave’s job that they aren’t in that job permanently - see the Replacement employees page for details.

If an employee reduced her hours or changed jobs during her pregnancy before she went on leave, she’s entitled to return to her original role.


Rachel was a full-time employee. For the last 3 months of her pregnancy Rachel worked part-time.

Rachel goes back to work after taking 12 months parental leave. Rachel is entitled to return to her full-time job. 

Can an employee come back to work part-time?

Certain employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements. This including parents returning to work after taking parental leave.

Employers have to respond in writing within 21 days. They can only refuse the request on reasonable business grounds.

Employees need to make these requests in writing.

Flexible working arrangements include working part-time, with different starting and finishing times or working from home.

Find out more in the Flexible working arrangements section.

It’s important that employees with flexible working arrangements are treated the same as other employees. Employers can’t discriminate against employees because of family or carer’s responsibilities, pregnancy and various other reasons. Find out more in the Discrimination section.

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Page last updated: 17 Sep 2010