Can I change my mind and go back to taking my full 52 weeks' maternity leave if I have second thoughts about sharing my leave with my partner?

There are limits on your ability to change your mind you need to be aware of.

If you are the baby's biological mother and you gave notice to end your maternity leave before your baby was born, you are allowed to change your mind and opt back into taking maternity leave as long as:

  • you haven’t already gone back to work;
  • the date you gave for going back to work hasn't already passed; and
  • you tell your employer about your change of mind within six weeks of the baby's birth.

Otherwise, the scope to reverse the decision is very narrow and only possible where:

  • you discover within eight weeks of giving the notice taking up Shared Parental Leave that neither of you in fact qualify for it; or
  • you've not yet gone back to work and your partner dies.

It is important to notice that other circumstances, such as a partner's redundancy, illness or the break-up of a relationship are not treated as good reasons for ending Shared Parental Leave and reverting to maternity leave. Family considerations such as financial insecurity need to be thought about when deciding whether or not to share your leave.

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.