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Can an employee return early from parental leave?

Q: What happens if an employee has gone on parental leave for a set period of time (say, 12 months) and they wish to return earlier? Do we have to let them do so?

A: You do not necessarily have to allow an employee to return to work earlier than expected from a period of parental leave. The employee needs to write to you setting out the request and the date on which they wish to return as soon as possible. You should then respond in writing setting out your response. You are not obliged to accept them back earlier than the initial return date but you are free to do so if you wish.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Parental leave for current advice.

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