How to deal with a request to return from maternity leave on a part-time basis
Author: Lynda Macdonald
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- Take into account that a change from full-time work to part-time work on an employee's return from maternity leave requires your agreement.
- Be aware that the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 do not give employees the right to work part time.
- However, take into account that the refusal of a request to return to work part time after maternity leave may constitute indirect sex discrimination.
- If you do decide to refuse a request for part-time working after maternity leave, make sure that you are able to justify the refusal objectively.
- Take a positive view of requests to work part time after maternity leave, and appreciate that such arrangements can be beneficial to the company.
- Ensure that, where an employee is permitted to return to work after maternity leave on a part-time basis, they are provided with terms and conditions no less favourable (on a pro rata basis) than those they enjoyed while full time.
- Ensure that you are familiar with the statutory right to request flexible working, which includes part-time working.
- Train managers on how to deal with a statutory request for flexible working.
- Ensure that a request for flexible working is rejected only for one or more of the permissible reasons.
- Be aware, and make employees aware, that any change to working arrangements under the right to request flexible working legislation is a permanent change, unless agreed otherwise.