I have just given birth. When can I return to work?

An employer is not permitted to allow you to work for a two-week period which starts with the date your baby is born. This is known as compulsory maternity leave.

If you work in a factory, you will be not be able to resume work for four weeks after giving birth.

After that, it is up to you to decide when you want to return to work. There are specific rules about the notice you must give to your employer if you want to cut short your maternity leave (i.e. taking less than the full 52 weeks’ leave to which you are entitled), either to return to work early or to share your maternity leave with a partner under the new Shared Parental Leave regime.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.