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2 1981

MATERNITY PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES ACT, 1981

Part III

Right to Return to Work

General right to return to work on expiry of maternity leave, etc.

20. —(1) Subject to this Part, on the expiry of a period during which an employee to whom this Part applies was absent from work while on maternity leave or additional maternity leave, she shall be entitled to return to work—

(a) with the employer with whom she was working immediately before the start of that period or, where during her absence from work there was a change of ownership of the undertaking in which she was employed immediately before her absence, with the owner (in this Act referred to as “the successor”) of the undertaking at the expiry of her period of absence,

(b) in the job which she held immediately before the start of that period, and

(c) under the contract of employment under which she was employed immediately before the start of that period, or, where a change of ownership such as is referred to in paragraph (a) has occurred, under a contract of employment with the successor which is identical to the contract under which she was employed immediately before the start of that period, and (in either case) under terms or conditions not less favourable than those that would have been applicable to her if she had not been so absent from work.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1) (b), where the job held by an employee immediately before the start of the period of her absence on maternity leave or additional maternity leave was not her normal or usual job, she shall be entitled to return to work, either in her normal or usual job or in that job as soon as is practicable without contravention by her or her employer of a provision of a statute or instrument made under statute.

(3) In this section “job”, in relation to an employee, means the nature of the work which she is employed to do in accordance with her contract of employment and the capacity and place in which she is so employed.

Right to suitable alternative employment in certain circumstances on return to work.

21. —(1) Where an employee is entitled to return to work in accordance with section 20 but it is not reasonably practicable for her employer or the successor to permit her to return to work in accordance with that section, she shall, subject to this Part, be entitled to be offered by her employer, the successor or an associated employer suitable alternative employment under a new contract of employment.

(2) The following provisions shall apply to a new contract of employment under this section:

(a) the work required to be done under it shall be of a kind which is suitable in relation to the employee concerned and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances;

(b) its terms or conditions relating to the place where the work under it is required to be done, the capacity in which the employee concerned is to be employed and any other terms or conditions of employment are not substantially less favourable to her than those of her contract of employment immediately before the start of her period of absence from work while on maternity leave or additional maternity leave.

Notification of intention to return to work.

22. —(1) Entitlement to return to work in accordance with section 20 or to be offered suitable alternative employment under section 21 shall be subject to an employee who has been absent from work while on maternity leave or additional maternity leave in accordance with this Act having, not later than four weeks before the date on which she expects to return to work, notified in writing (or caused to be so notified) her employer or, where she is aware of a change of ownership of the undertaking concerned, the successor, of her intention to return to work and of the date on which she expects to return to work.

(2) A notification under subsection (1) shall subsequently be confirmed in writing not earlier than four weeks and not later than two weeks before the date on which the employee concerned expects to return to work.

Postponement of return to work.

23. —Where, because of an interruption or cessation of work at her place of employment, existing on the date specified in a notification under section 22 given by her, it is unreasonable to expect an employee to return to work on the date specified in the notification, she may return to work instead when work resumes at the place of employment after the interruption or cessation, or as soon as reasonably practicable after such resumption.