Career breaks

There are no laws that deal specifically with taking a career break – it is only an agreement between the employer and the employee. 

Employers do not have to offer career breaks. If they do, the policy must be clearly laid out (for example, in a staff handbook) and should cover things like: 

  • eligibility and notice periods 

  • how to apply and how long is allowed 

  • if the employment contract’s terms and conditions continue - for example, qualifying for pay increases 

Employees can make arrangements to return to work after a career break but these agreements are not legally binding and it could mean ending the existing contract of employment.  

Employees cannot take legal action if an employer decides they cannot return to their job or a similar one. 

For further information on career breaks, see GOV.UK's website.