Ready Steady Baby


Returning to work after the birth

If you’re going back to work, you’ll need to tell your employer when you want to return.

Your employer should assume that you’re taking the full 52 weeks’ maternity leave, but you must give them at least 8 weeks’ notice if you want to return to work earlier.

Flexible working

If you want to change your working hours you can apply for flexible work.

Think carefully about how things would work in practice:

  • Could you do some work from home?
  • Would someone do your job when you’re not there?
  • Are there other people doing the same role part-time?

You should do this at least 3 to 4 months before you’re due back at work.

Your employer has to consider your request, but they can refuse it if there are good business reasons.

GOV.UK has more about flexible working

Hours and earnings

When you decide to go back to work, it’s important to plan your working hours and work out what you’ll be earning.

Many parents:

  • change their working hours to suit them better
  • work out how to get the most money from both paid work and any benefits

It’s important to make sure you get everything you have a right to as a working family, so make sure you get specialist advice.


You can get help with childcare costs in Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.

If you’re on middle or higher incomes you can also get help with childcare costs through the Tax-Free Childcare Scheme, but you can’t get this at the same time as Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.

Find out what help you could get with childcare costs through GOV.UK.

Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.

If you need a different language or format, please contact

Last updated:
6 November 2023

There are no NHS operators available to chat at this time