On returning to work | Illness at the end of maternity leave

If you are ill you are entitled to take sick leave in the normal way at the end of any period of maternity, paternity, adoption, or shared parental leave. You should follow the normal sickness procedures. You are counted as being back at work (and on sick leave) if you cannot return to work because of illness. 

You must be treated like any other employee who has not been on maternity leave, which includes receiving any contractual sick pay. If you are treated unfavourably because you were on maternity leave, for example, by being told you cannot have any sick pay because you were on maternity leave, this would be maternity discrimination

If you are off sick after you return from maternity leave, even if the illness is related to pregnancy or the birth, you do not have the same protection from discrimination as you did when pregnant. If you are off sick for a long period, your employer can take disciplinary action against you and ultimately dismiss you provided they follow a fair procedure. Your employer must not take any account of any pregnancy related sickness during your protected period or absence on maternity leave when deciding what action to take. However, your employer can take into account any illness outside the protected period even if it is pregnancy related illness.

Last updated: 12 May 2016