Are you going back to work after maternity/parental leave?

Parenthood is one of those life stages that can turn parents’ lives upside down. Whether we want to or not, the arrival of a new family member changes our personal and career priorities.  Over time, however, every parent must prepare to return to the workforce and cope with the role of working mum or dad. What are the most common issues we deal with when ending maternity/parental leave? What do you need to remember before returning to work?

What is the difference between maternity and parental leave?

The duration of maternity leave is 34 weeks. In the case of a single woman who lives alone and is not married, widowed, divorced or alone for other serious reasons, it is 37 weeks. In the case of a woman who has given birth to two or more children at the same time, up to 43 weeks. A man may take paternity leave to the same extent. The only condition is that he does not start until 6 weeks after the child is born. Parental leave is the period following the expiry of maternity leave. As childcare requires sufficient time, the employer is obliged to grant an extension to parents who request it for the period until the child reaches the age of 3.

Do I have to notify my employer when my parental leave ends?

Yes. The end of parental leave must be notified in writing to the employer at least 1 month before the planned start of getting back to work. The same notification obligation also applies on commencement or any changes to maternity/parental leave (e.g. interruption of MD/RD) (Art. 166(3) of the Labour Code).

Can I return to work before my child turns 3?

Yes. A parent is not obliged to take the full amount of parental leave once the child reaches the age of 3. If the employee chooses to return to work early, he or she must give the employer at least 1 month written notice of the date of return to work.

Can I go back on parental leave if I have already started work?

Yes. If a parent returns to work before the child turns 3, this does not mean that the parental leave has been “forfeited.” If necessary, he or she can ask the employer again to continue to take parental leave for at least one month – this is called intermittent parental leave. If the parent does not take all of the parental leave until the child reaches the age of 3 or 6, parent can agree with the employer to postpone the untaken part to a later period (until the child reaches the age of five or, in the case of a child with a long-term adverse health condition, until the child reaches the age of eight). In this case, we are talking about parental leave carry-over.

Am I entitled to unpaid leave after parental leave?

Not automatically. It may happen that when the child turns 3, the parent is not entitled to an extension of parental leave, but the child is not admitted to nursery. If the parent finds no other option, he or she can ask the employer for unpaid leave, but the employer is not obliged to grant it. If the employer does not accept such a request, termination of employment is an option.

If I resign, will I be entitled to unemployment benefit?

The timing of your notice during or after parental leave is important as it can significantly affect your entitlement to other benefits such as sick pay, maternity pay or unemployment benefit. You can find out why it is necessary to work at least one day after the end of RD if you don’t want to lose your benefits in the article Termination of employment after RD and entitlement to benefits.

Am I entitled to work shorter hours after parental leave?

Yes. If a parent permanently caring for a child under 15 years of age requests shorter working hours or any other suitable adjustment to the designated weekly working time, the employer is obliged to comply with the request, unless serious operational reasons prevent this.

Can my employer force me to work overtime?

In the case of a woman or a man permanently caring for a child under three years of age, a single woman or a single man permanently caring for a child under 15 years of age, overtime is only possible with their consent. On-call time is only possible by agreement.

Does my employer have to assign me to my original job when I come back from parental leave?

An employee who returns to work at the end of parental leave has the right to request that the employer reinstate him or her to the original job and the original workplace and that, at the end of parental leave, he or she retains all the rights to the same extent that he or she had at the time he or she took parental leave, including any changes resulting from the legislation, the collective agreement or the employer’s usual practices.

What if my job is abolished during my parental leave?

If it is not possible to reassign the employee to the original job and the original workplace because the work is not being done or the workplace has been closed down, the employer is obliged to reassign the employee to a job corresponding to his/her employment contract. If the employee refuses this assignment or his/her job has been abolished, the employment relationship may be terminated for organisational reasons.

Can I be dismissed after parental leave?

Yes. During maternity and parental leave, there is a prohibition on dismissal by the employer. Once the parent returns to work, he or she is no longer protected from dismissal by the employer, even if the child in his or her care has not yet reached the age of three (only single parents are exempted).

9. August 2022 | adecco.sk

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