head head head

Can I work flexible hours when I return from maternity leave?

Many new mothers would like to return to work on a part-time basis, and some good employers are happy to negotiate such new terms with their employees, but there is not an automatic right to reduce hours, or work part-time or flexibly.

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. Note that the rules that govern the right to ask to work flexibly changed on 30 June 2014. From this date, all employees are entitled to ask to work flexibly as long as they have 26 weeks’ service. Acas has produced a new Code of Practice and guidance on Handling Requests for Flexible Working.

If your request to work flexibly on your return to work after maternity leave is rejected, you may also have rights under the Equality Act 2010, which outlaws sex discrimination.      

You should check your contract or your staff handbook, talk to your trade union representatives and (where appropriate) your HR Department to ensure that you get access to all that your employer offers in this area.