Is an employee entitled to return to the same job after ordinary parental leave?

An employee who returns to work after a period of ordinary parental leave is entitled to return to the job in which he or she was employed prior to the absence if it was an isolated period of leave lasting four weeks or less. If the period of parental leave followed on immediately from another period of statutory leave, the employee's right to return depends on the length of leave taken.

The employee has the right to return to the same job if the ordinary parental leave was the last of two or more consecutive periods of leave that did not include:

  • a period of ordinary parental leave lasting more than four weeks; or
  • any period of statutory leave that, when added to any other period of statutory leave (excluding ordinary parental leave) taken in relation to the same child, means that the total amount of statutory leave taken in relation to that child totals more than 26 weeks.

An employee who returns to work after a period of ordinary parental leave that does not fall into the above description, for example because it follows ordinary and additional maternity leave lasting more than 26 weeks, is entitled to return to the job in which he or she was employed prior to the absence, or, if that is not reasonably practicable, to another job that is both suitable and appropriate in the circumstances.