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Off the record: Navigating pregnancy discrimination rules … continued


It is important that you observe these rights and do not place any pressure on employees who plan to take maternity leave to return sooner then they intend to. To help you to cope with temporary loss of an employee, you may consider arranging maternity cover or sharing work around any remaining members of staff. Making adequate arrangements will be aided by entering into a dialogue with the employee as to when they expect to return from maternity leave and using their knowledge of their job to determine the best way to cope in their absence.

Dialogue with a pregnant employee should be maintained during maternity leave to ensure that the employee still feels included. More importantly, it should provide advance warning of any intention to return to work early or not to resume work.

As an employee on maternity leave normally has a right to return to their job following maternity leave, this knowledge will enable you to gauge how long you should retain any maternity cover for and if there is any scope to engage the cover on a permanent basis. Remember, a woman returning from maternity leave may also request to work flexibly.

This could involve job sharing and any advance warning you can get as to an employee’s intentions to make such a request, will enable you to sound matters out with any maternity cover, to see if this is something they would be prepared to do.

For further information, contact Carl De Cicco on [email protected]

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Annie Hayes


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