Employee rights aren’t usually affected when they take maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave and some employees can work up to 10 paid days during their leave.

Keeping in touch days

Employees can work up to 10 days during their maternity, adoption or additional paternity leave. These days are called ‘keeping in touch days’. Keeping in touch days are optional, both the employee and employer need to agree to them.

The type of work and pay employees get should be agreed before they come into work. The employee’s right to maternity, adoption or additional paternity leave and pay isn’t affected by taking keeping in touch days.

Terms and conditions protection

Normally, the employment terms and conditions are protected and employees are entitled to any pay rises and improvements in terms and conditions given during their leave.

Pension contributions usually stop if a period of leave is unpaid, unless your contract says otherwise. For example, unpaid periods of maternity leave or parental leave.

Employees continue to build up holiday entitlement and can take any holiday they’ve accrued (built up) before or after their leave.

Returning to work

Employees have the right to return to their job if they take:

  • Ordinary Maternity or Ordinary Adoption leave
  • Ordinary Paternity Leave
  • Additional Paternity Leave
  • 4 weeks or less of parental leave

The rules are different if the employee takes:

  • Additional Maternity or Additional Adoption Leave
  • more than 4 weeks of parental leave

In this situation, employees have the right to their job or a similar job (if it’s not possible to give them their old job). Similar means the job has the same or better terms and conditions. If the employee unreasonably refuses to take the similar job the employer can take this as their resignation.

Redundancy

While an employee is on maternity, adoption, paternity or parental leave they have the:

  • same redundancy rights as their colleagues
  • right to be offered any suitable alternative job if they’re selected for redundancy (even if other colleagues are more suitable for the role)

An employee can only be made redundant if the employer can clearly justify doing it - eg a part of the business closes and everyone in that section is made redundant. There are other rules for employers when making staff redundant.

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