Thank you. According to Reg. 18 of The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, an employee who takes Additional Maternity Leave (i.e. between 6-12 months off) is entitled “to return to the job in which she was employed before her absence, or, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to permit her to return to that job, to another job which is both suitable for her and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances.”
This means that there is no guarantee of a return to the job she performed before going on maternity leave. If you can show that it is not reasonably practicable to allow her to return to that job, you need to find her something that is both suitable and appropriate for her to do instead.
A common issue that arises is whether the reason for not being reasonably practicable to allow the employee to return to her old job is actually justifiable. Case law has suggested that formal reorganisations can amount to a justifiable reason. The employer needs to show that there is a genuine reason which makes it no longer practicable to allow her to return to her old job, this is not just a formality.
So of things have genuinely changed and it is clearly no longer practicable to allow her to return to her old job, you can use the above regulations to justify your decision.
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