Does an employee have the right to return to the same job after taking a period of shared parental leave?

An employee has the right to return to the same job after taking a period of shared parental leave if the period of leave, when added to any period of statutory maternity, paternity or adoption leave taken by the employee in relation to the same child, is 26 weeks or less.

In these circumstances, the employee has the right to return to the job in which he or she was employed immediately before the absence. The job must be the same in terms of the nature of the work, the capacity in which he or she is employed and the place of work. The employee is entitled to no less favourable terms and conditions, with seniority, pension rights and similar rights as if he or she had not been absent.

An employee's right to return to the same job is qualified if returning after taking shared parental leave that:

  • totals more than 26 weeks when added to any period of statutory maternity, paternity or adoption leave taken by the employee in relation to the same child; or
  • was the last of two or more consecutive periods of statutory leave that included a period of ordinary parental leave of more than four weeks, a period of additional maternity leave or a period of additional adoption leave.

In these circumstances, the employee has the right to return to the same job unless it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to permit this, in which case the employee has the right to return to another job that is both suitable for him or her and appropriate for him or her to do in the circumstances.