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Can I return to work flexibly after adoption leave?

Many new parents would like to return to work on a part-time basis and some employers are happy to negotiate new terms with their employees, but there is no specific right for new parents returning to work after a period of leave to work flexibly on demand.

However, employees who have children under 17, or disabled children under 18, have the right to request to work flexibly, including part-time, and to have that request considered seriously by their employer.

This is an important right, and if you have a trade union at your workplace, they may have negotiated a version of this right that is superior to the statutory minimum. You should check your contract or your staff handbook, talk to a trade union rep and (where appropriate) your Personnel Department to ensure that you have access to all that your employer offers.

Note that the law on making requests to work flexibly has changed. Since 30 June 2014, all employees have the right to make a request to work flexibly, as long as they have 26 weeks’ service. For more information on these changes, see our section Flexible Working.