Careers Careers Clinic

How can I safely return to work after maternity leave?

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 13 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1053
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. BMJ Careers

“Good childcare is crucial”

Laura Hamilton, consultant orthopaedic hand surgeon at Brighton and Sussex University Hospital, says, “Returning to work after months of maternity leave is daunting. Some people attend paid ‘keep in touch’ days to keep their skills up, however everything comes back to you very quickly once you start.

“When returning to work, a mother may ask for less than full time working arrangements, but an employer is under no obligation to agree. Following the Deech Report on women doctors,1 the General Medical Council began working with the royal colleges to improve access to flexible training and part time working. If a worker is breast feeding, their employer must support them with facilities to rest and pump, as well as a fridge to store collected breast milk.

“Good childcare is crucial for a smooth return to work. Unfortunately, long hours and shift work can be difficult to plan for. …

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