If a pregnant employee is given suitable alternative work during their pregnancy, is their right to return to work after maternity leave the right to return to this job or to their normal position?
Employees have the right to return to their normal position after maternity leave, rather than any suitable alternative work that they were given during the pregnancy. In most cases the suitable alternative work will have been offered during pregnancy to avoid any health and safety risks to the employee in carrying out their normal job. Alternatively, in the absence of any health and safety risks, the employee may have been given suitable alternative work through mutual agreement, where, for example, they have asked for lighter duties. However, this will not have the effect of changing their contract permanently (unless such a permanent change was specifically agreed), and they will remain entitled to return to their normal position on the same terms and conditions, after their maternity leave.