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, but if you decide to return to work early (that is, before taking your full 52 weeks of leave) you must give your employer at least eight weeks’ notice of your plan to do this. You must give the same eight weeks’ notice if you decide to end your maternity leave early so that your partner can take Shared Parental 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.

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