If a woman intends to return early from maternity leave is she required to inform her employer?

Yes. While a woman on maternity leave is not required to forewarn her employer if she intends to return at the end of her maternity leave period, if she intends to return early she must give her employer eight weeks' notice of her proposed return date. Where she fails to do so her employer may delay her return by up to eight weeks, although it may not do so beyond the date when her maternity leave would otherwise have ended.

The exception to this is where the employer failed to comply with the requirement to inform the employee in writing of the date on which her additional maternity leave period would end, within 28 days of the employee giving notice of her intention to take maternity leave. In those circumstances, the employee does not have to give notice of her intention to return to work early, and the employer has no right to delay her return or to withhold her pay where she returns early.