Where an employee who is about to go on maternity leave requests that they return on reduced hours, is the employer under any obligation to consider their request at that point?

The statutory right to request flexible working, which includes a request for reduced hours, is available to all employees who have a minimum of 26 weeks' continuous service. Therefore, if before they begin their maternity leave, an eligible employee makes a statutory request to return from leave on reduced hours, the employer has an obligation to consider the request and deal with it in a reasonable manner. The employer must notify the employee of its decision within three months of the date of the request, or within a longer period if agreed with the employee.