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What Jobs Can I Do After Returning From Maternity Leave?

What Jobs Can I Do After Returning From Maternity Leave

Welcome to our latest blog post, a comprehensive guide designed for mothers navigating the transition back to work following maternity leave. Whether you’re planning to return to your previous role or considering a fresh start in a new job or career path, the journey can present a unique set of challenges and questions. From understanding your rights and reassessing your career goals to exploring flexible job options and upgrading your skill set, this post aims to address the various concerns you may have during this significant phase.

We delve into practical advice for those aiming to stay in their current role, including how to negotiate flexible hours and handle the shift in dynamics upon your return. Conversely, for those exploring new horizons, we provide guidance on identifying which career paths align with your current lifestyle, how to utilise recruitment services effectively, and tips for retraining or upskilling.

This period of change is not just about returning to work; it’s about embracing the evolution in your professional and personal identity. So, whether you’re stepping back into a familiar role or venturing into new professional territories, our blog is here to support and empower you through this transformative journey. Read on for insightful advice, real-world strategies, and the encouragement you need to make your post-maternity comeback a resounding success.

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Highlights And Key Takeaways:

  1. Understand your current priorities to align your job search with family needs and professional satisfaction.
  2. Research flexible working roles, emerging industries, consultancy, and freelance opportunities.
  3. Retraining and upgrading your skills is your greatest asset in reigniting your career.

Understanding Your Rights – Staying In The Same Job

Understanding Maternity Pay And Your Return To Work Rights

Returning to work after welcoming a new baby is a significant transition and knowing your entitlements is crucial in making it as smooth as possible. In the UK, mothers are eligible for up to 52 weeks of Statutory Maternity Leave if they give the correct notice to their employer. You don’t have to take all 52 weeks but you must take 2 weeks’ leave after your baby is born (or 4 weeks if you work in a factory). Typically, the first 39 weeks could be paid, and this is known as Statutory Maternity Pay.

During an employee’s maternity leave, you have the legal right to a suitable alternative job with the same terms and conditions if there are issues preventing you from returning to your old role. Moreover, if you’ve been with your employer for at least a year, you’re entitled to take unpaid parental leave for your child, which could allow more time at home without sacrificing your career position.

However, challenges can arise. Maternity discrimination, unfortunately, exists, and it involves unfair treatment related to pregnancy or having recently given birth. It’s unlawful for employers to discriminate against you because of your pregnancy. Therefore, if you feel you’re facing such issues, it’s imperative to seek advice and support immediately.

As you plan your return to work, you might want to consider flexible working arrangements to better accommodate your new role as a parent. UK law provides the framework to make a statutory request for flexible working. This legal right allows you to ask for changes to your working hours, times, or location of work. When making this request, ensure to provide a clear and reasonable proposal to your line manager, demonstrating how your suggestions could be in line with the company’s needs.

It’s important to approach this conversation with confidence and clarity. Schedule a meeting with your line manager or HR department to discuss your intentions and needs. Prepare by understanding your value to the company and how your proposed arrangement is feasible. Remember, the law is on your side to protect your rights and support your transition back to the workforce after the arrival of your new baby.

By being well-informed of your rights, you set a solid foundation for negotiating your return to work, ensuring that it’s not just you who’s ready for this next step, but your workplace is prepared to welcome you back in a manner that suits your changed circumstances.

Reassessing Your Career Path – Finding A New Job

Finding Work After Parental Leave

Welcoming a new baby inevitably brings change, and with it, the opportunity to reassess your career goals and professional aspirations. It’s a moment for self-reflection, asking yourself critical questions: Does my previous job fit the needs of my new life? Can I commit to full-time hours, or do I need more flexibility? Understanding your current priorities will guide your job search, ensuring it aligns with your family’s needs and your professional satisfaction.

Part-time positions or remote work may have not been on your radar before, but these options could provide the work-life balance crucial for parents. It’s important to research what skills are needed for different jobs, especially if you’re considering a new field or industry. Don’t hesitate to explore roles within your current sector that offer more flexibility; the perfect fit may be closer than you think.

Additionally, consider how your existing skills can transfer to a new role. Skills such as time management, organisation, and multitasking are often honed during parenthood and are highly valuable in the professional realm. If you’re moving into a new sector, focus on these transferable skills and consider upskilling by taking short courses or attending workshops relevant to your desired industry.

Finding a new job post-maternity can be a daunting prospect, but by aligning your career goals with your new reality, you open the door to opportunities that suit your skills and lifestyle. Embrace the change and let it steer you towards a fulfilling career path that complements your journey as a new parent. Remember, this period of transition is not just about adapting, but thriving in both your personal and professional life. Have you been a stay at home mom for a prolonged period? We encourage you to read our guide – What Jobs Can I Do After Being A Stay At Home Mum?

Flexible Job Options Post Maternity Leave

Flexible Working Post Maternity Leave

When pondering “What jobs are there?” post-maternity, the focus often shifts to roles offering the flexibility necessary for juggling work and family life. Fortunately, many employers are recognising the need for such positions and are offering various adaptable options. Here are a few examples of roles that could be ideal for individuals returning to work from parental leave:

  • Recruitment Consultant: Often, you can perform recruitment roles remotely, especially for initial candidate screenings and interviews. This job is about networking and relationship-building, which can be done from anywhere. If you have HR or specialist industry experience, this could be a great option. Learn more about what this involves by reading a Recruitment Consultant job description.
  • Assembler: Some assembly roles, particularly in smaller companies or start-ups, offer part-time opportunities, and you might find employers who are open to flexible shift patterns or even job sharing. This role is ideal for those who prefer task-focused work. Explore the specifics by checking out an Assembler job summary.
  • Application Software Developer: This tech role often comes with the flexibility to work remotely. If you have the skills to develop apps, you could work freelance or for a company on a project basis, often on your schedule. Delve into the details by reading an Application Software Developer job advert.
  • Photo Editor: With the digitalisation of photography, photo editors can often work from anywhere with a computer and internet connection. Freelancing options are plentiful in this field, allowing you to take on clients as your schedule permits. Discover more by investigating a Photo Editor job description.
  • Travel Agent: Many travel agents now work remotely, especially when catering to clients worldwide. This role allows for flexible scheduling, and part-time positions are common, perfect for parents balancing home and work responsibilities. Understand the role better by viewing a Travel Agent job spec.
  • Personal Assistant: While traditionally an office-based role, many personal assistant positions now offer remote or part-time options, as organising schedules, making appointments, and handling correspondence can often be done virtually. Find out the specifics by analysing a Personal Assistant job summary.

The key to finding the perfect post-maternity job is understanding your availability, recognising your skill set, and then matching these to the roles that offer the flexibility you need. While these are just a few examples, they reflect the diverse range of opportunities available to new parents seeking to balance their professional aspirations with their family commitments. Remember, the job description template is your gateway to understanding what each role entails, so use our job description library for your research.

Retraining And Upgrading Skills

In the early days of returning to work after maternity leave, you may find yourself asking, “How do I know what job is right for me?” It’s not uncommon to feel out of touch with the workplace or to be considering a new direction entirely. Whether you’re looking to return to work sooner or when you’re fully committed, retraining and upgrading your skills is your greatest asset in reigniting your career.

Firstly, consider your local area’s resources. Many communities offer workshops, night classes, or online courses designed to help individuals enhance existing skills or acquire new ones. These are particularly beneficial if you’re looking into transitioning into a new field or simply want to brush up on current industry standards.

Additionally, look into government programmes or initiatives designed specifically for supporting women returning to work. These programmes often provide resources, training, and even mentorship to help ease the transition and strengthen your professional confidence. They can be invaluable in helping you decide which path to follow, ensuring it aligns with your current lifestyle and career aspirations.

Voluntary work can also be a powerful tool for gaining new, applicable experience. While you might be eager to return to paid employment, volunteering can help fill a gap in your CV, provide you with recent work experience, and even offer networking opportunities. It’s also a chance to test a new role or sector without being fully committed, ensuring it’s a good fit for you and your family.

Your skills, both old and new, are a significant part of your professional identity, and enhancing them can make you feel empowered and prepared for whatever path you choose. It’s essential to remember that every step you take towards learning and growth is a step towards finding a role that’s right for you and thriving in it.

Utilising Recruitment And Support Services

Finding A Suitable Alternative Job

As you navigate the significant changes that come with returning to work, you might find yourself grappling with the question, “What job should I do?” It’s a common concern, especially for parents looking to balance family commitments with professional aspirations. Thankfully, there are numerous resources designed to support you through this transition.

Start by exploring recruitment agencies in your local area that specialise in flexible roles or positions tailored for returning parents. These agencies understand the unique challenges you face and can match you with employers who offer the work-life balance you’re seeking. If you’re aiming to return to work earlier, these agencies can be instrumental, providing options that align with your current lifestyle.

Additionally, don’t underestimate the power of support groups, network meetings, and online communities for mothers who are also on this journey. These platforms allow you to share experiences, advice, and job opportunities, and they can be incredibly encouraging and informative. Sometimes, just having a space to talk can make a world of difference in your transition.

Furthermore, it’s wise to refresh your professional network. Reconnect with former colleagues, mentors, and associates. Update your professional social media profiles, attend industry meetups or webinars, and consider joining professional associations related to your field. These connections can provide job leads, recommendations, and support as you step back into the workforce.

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Many services are available to support you, understand your needs, offer career advice, and help guide you towards a role that suits your post-maternity life. Utilise them, engage actively, and be open to the opportunities they present. This transition is not just about finding a new job; it’s about discovering the right path forward for you and your family.

Preparing Your Comeback – Tips On Returning To Work After Maternity Leave

Your journey back into the workforce should begin with thorough career research. Understanding how to research career paths, understand market trends, and identify opportunities that align with your current situation is crucial. One practical step is updating your CV and cover letter. It’s common to feel self-doubt regarding employment gaps, but it’s important not to assume these are insurmountable obstacles. Instead, focus on the new skills and fresh perspectives acquired during your leave. Parenthood hones problem-solving, multitasking, and prioritisation skills – all of which are valuable in any role. You can find free CV templates online that help structure this information effectively.

When preparing for interviews, plan how you’ll address your employment gap confidently and positively, emphasising any new skills or insights you’ve gained. Express your value emphatically, outlining how your experiences have enriched your capabilities. When discussing your needs, especially regarding flexibility or specific working conditions, be clear and assertive. Remember, prospective employees have much to gain from your enhanced skill set.

Moreover, it’s natural for the transition phase to bring about some anxiety. Maintain confidence in your professional worth and practise self-care. Transitioning back into work isn’t just about fulfilling professional roles; it’s also about ensuring you’re mentally and emotionally ready to embrace this new chapter.

Finally, don’t overlook the power of networking. Re-establishing professional connections and creating new ones can open doors that you may not have been aware of. Attending industry-specific seminars or joining online discussions can provide valuable insights and support during this period.

Returning to work after maternity leave is a significant step. It’s more than just a professional move; it’s a declaration that you’re ready to reintegrate into the workforce, bringing along a wealth of life experiences that enhance your work persona. Remember, this journey is not just about how well you fit into your previous professional world, but how it adjusts to accommodate the evolved you.

Work After Maternity Leave FAQs

Next, we answer questions you may still have on maternity leave and returning to work:


Embarking on the job hunt post-maternity can feel daunting, but remember, it’s an opportunity to realign your career with your new life chapter. Spruce up your CV with any new skills – parenting does teach management, multitasking, and negotiation, after all! Network through parent groups, LinkedIn, or reconnect with old colleagues. Consider part-time positions or even a career shift; it’s a chance to mould your job around your new lifestyle, not the other way around. 


Absolutely, your right to return to your old job after maternity leave is protected by UK law. If you’ve taken Ordinary Maternity Leave (up to 26 weeks), you’re entitled to return to the exact same job. Taken Additional Maternity Leave (up to 52 weeks)? You should return to the same job or, if that’s not feasible, an alternative role with equal pay and status. It’s your career continuity, safeguarded. 


Opting not to return after maternity leave? Understand your entitlements. You’re eligible to all the benefits of your employment up until the official end of your maternity leave, including maternity pay. Be mindful of your contractual terms, as some employers require a payback of enhanced maternity benefits if you don’t return. Most importantly, ensure to provide notice as per your contract to part ways professionally. 


Embracing the parent-work juggle? Requesting flexible working hours is your statutory right. Apply in writing, outlining the desired work pattern, start date, and potential impacts on your role and their mitigation. It’s a formal ‘flexible working request’, and your employer legally must consider it seriously. Prepare for a meeting to discuss your request and remember, it’s a negotiation. Highlight your commitment and how this change could also benefit your team’s productivity. Flexibility is the modern work mantra! 

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