Returning to Work from Maternity Leave

We will assume that you will be returning to work 52 weeks from when your maternity leave starts. However, if you wish to return prior to the end of your maternity period you must give at least eight weeks’ notice in writing of your intended date of return.

If you return to work during a period of maternity leave you will forfeit any further entitlement to maternity pay.

If you decide not to return to work either before or following a period of maternity leave you must give the University written notice in accordance with your contract of employment. You may be asked to work the remainder of your notice period if it expires after maternity leave.

If you qualify for Enhanced University maternity pay, but decide to resign prior to maternity leave being taken, you will not receive any enhanced payments beyond the statutory payments. The University reserves the right to reclaim the non-statutory element of maternity pay from those members of staff who were eligible for enhanced maternity pay, but did not return to work for three months following their maternity leave.

If you require a parking permit you must (re)join the car parking scheme on return from maternity leave, if return is in a new car parking year (ie September annually).

Subsequent Pregnancy whilst on Maternity Leave

If, on maternity leave you become pregnant, you may of course return to work if you wish. However, if you are unable to return to work you will need to give consideration to the fact that if you have already received Enhanced University maternity pay, you will still need to return to work for three months for each and every period of maternity leave, e.g. the two periods of maternity leave individually require you to return to work for three months, therefore, these will be added together to mean that you will need to return to work for six months following your second period of maternity leave. If you fail to return to work for the relevant period of time then the University will seek to reclaim the non-statutory element of maternity pay for all periods of consecutive maternity leave. You will need to refer to the Maternity Leave Policy to see if you are eligible for any maternity pay.


The University recognises the importance of supporting staff to express or breastfeed at work where the staff member has chosen to do so, and aims to take a positive approach to breastfeeding and expressing, supported by line managers. Schools/Departments are encouraged to try to support such requests as far as reasonably practicable. The Health and Safety Executive encourages employers to provide a private and safe environment for nursing mothers to express and store milk, although this is not a legal requirement, and there is no statutory right to time off work for breastfeeding. Guidance for both staff member and line managers on supporting expressing in the workplace is available in the Maternity Leave section of the web site.

The staff member should let the line manager know as early as possible if they may be breastfeeding when they return to work, so that they can carry out a risk assessment and discuss arrangements for expressing/breastfeeding.

The designated Athena SWAN Parenting Rooms are intended to provide a private, hygienic, safe and secure area for breastfeeding staff and students to express and store breastmilk or to feed their baby. However, parents do not need to use an Athena SWAN Parenting Room to express or breastfeed. They may prefer to use other spaces that suit their circumstances.  For expressing breast milk, a quiet space such as an office environment is likely to be most suitable. Please note that it is not deemed suitable to use toilets for this purpose. Where a parent is considering expressing in a room used for clinical purposes, they must seek advice from their local Safety Co-ordinator, or from the University Safety Office, email:


Last edited Dec 03, 2018