Can I change my mind if I decide that I don't want to share my maternity leave after all?

You can change your mind, but there are important limits on your ability to do this, so you need to think carefully. Once you have given a notice to end your maternity leave, it is only possible to undo this notice in the following situations, in all of which you must not yet have gone back to work:

  • You gave the notice before birth and you change your mind within six weeks of the birth (this possibility is only available to biological mothers);
  • Your partner dies; or
  • You make a mistake about your eligibility and discover, during the eight weeks after giving the notice, that neither of you qualify for Shared Parental Leave or pay.

So, for example, you and your partner may have agreed before the birth of your child that you would take four months’ maternity leave, and then he would take four months' Shared Parental Leave, but now that the baby has arrived you may feel like four months is too early to return to work.

If you gave notice before the child was born that you intended to bring your maternity leave to an early end, you have until six weeks after the birth to let your employer know that you have changed your mind and want to stay on maternity leave for longer.

Your partner will also have to let his employer know as soon as possible that his plan to take the Shared Parental Leave to which he is entitled has changed.

It is important to bear in mind that this limited scope to change your mind does not include, for example, your partner’s unexpected redundancy or illness, family break-up or other unforeseen changes to the family finances.

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.