I would like to get a technical insight on option of leaving the job on end of maternity leave / back to work day.

Due to some personal family reasons after maternity I am currently in dilemma of whether to rejoin the employer or quit the job & need some time to think. I've worked for several years for the employer & as such have a longer notice period in normal circumstances. I've got a return to work letter for the due return in few weeks time. The letter reminds about the standard 12 weeks notice period. But lateron letter has a sentence saying -" If you do not return back to work on end of maternity leave date and have not communicated to the us the reason why then we will assume that you have resigned."

What does above line mean? Does that mean if I do not turn up on the end of maternity leave date, I could effectively resign without giving any notice, as such.

  • Does this mean my notice will be 0 days if I excercise that option on the Return to work day?

I really would like to use the time before that date to think if I want to return to work or not. So I don't want to resign immediately. So kindly advise, on this special end of maternity return to work policy.


  • 2
    Couple of questions.. 1. How long is it before your return date? 2. How much maternity leave have you used?
    – motosubatsu
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 17:11
  • welcome new user. the letter from the employer is certainly ambiguous / confusing - it does not explain how Notice would play in to this.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 17:37
  • 3
    Purely based on the words it basically means, if you don't show up to work the day you are scheduled to return, your company will assume you have resigned from your position. Any other questions you should contract your manager and/or HR department.
    – Donald
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 18:01
  • 1
    @Fattie It also says you should give 3 months notice & now only 1.5 month is remaining for the work to start. I would have used the full maternity leave by the end of my maternity leave. Thanks
    – user123825
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 19:05

2 Answers 2


As mentioned in the comments, the sentence from the letter you have quoted is vague and I doubt any of us can interpret what it, if anything, it means legally.

According to https://workingfamilies.org.uk/articles/what-happens-if-i-resign-at-the-end-of-my-maternity-leave/ if you resign when you return, then legally you are required to work your notice period. But, depending on your work, I would expect most companies to be reluctant to bother re-introducing you to your work, just for you to leave in 3 months, but obviously nothing is guaranteed.

I would contact your HR department now and have an honest conversation with them about your thoughts and see if they can give you a deadline to make a decision by. That allows them to plan with a degree of certainty and may help you to make the decision. Just be prepared for them to ask you to come in


Since you're < 8 weeks from the end of your maternity leave you can't change the return date (and if you've used all of it you wouldn't be able to extend). You will have been accruing annual leave entitlement while on maternity leave so that would be an option of you wanted to extend - but obviously that would require agreement to do.

If you do not return back to work on end of maternity leave date and have not communicated to the us the reason why then we will assume that you have resigned.

This is fairly plain in that if you don't come back (and don't talk to them) they'll assume you've resigned. It does seem to suggest that in doing so you aren't going to be required to actually work your notice. I can't really think this is a particularly good option to take though - since you're basically no-call,no-showing yourself into a resignation. That's some extra crispy bridges!

It does suggest however that they aren't particularly interested forcing the notice period - which sounds like an excellent starting point for negotiations to me. If I were you I'd use one of your KIT days and have a frank conversation about your thoughts and discuss doing some form of more graceful exit if you decide not to return. Even if that's nothing more than a quick handover chat of anything they need from you.

  • Regarding the ambigious line - Does it mean that my notice will be 0 days if I excercise that option on the Return to work day by not rejoining on that day?
    – user123825
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 14:45
  • That;s the problem, it's ambiguous. Like motosubatsu says, it sounds like that, but only your employer could say that for sure. Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 6:59
  • 1
    @mattfreake Sounds like an ideal use of a KIT day would be to clarify that.
    – motosubatsu
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 9:38

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