There are no laws that deal specifically with taking a career break – it is only an agreement between the employer and the employee.

Employers don’t have to offer career breaks. If they do, the policy must be clearly laid out (eg in a staff handbook) and should cover things like:

  • eligibility and notice periods
  • how to apply and how long is allowed
  • if the employment contract’s terms and conditions continue - eg qualifying for pay increases

Employees can make arrangements to return to work after a career break but these agreements are not legally binding and it could mean ending the existing contract of employment.

Employees can’t take legal action if an employer decides they can’t return to their job or a similar one.

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