Im due to go back to work 5th Aug or take 12weeks unpaid maternity until 5th Nov but my son is due to have an operation and I dont want to return to work while hes recovering I need to hand in my notice. When do I do this and will I still get my holiday pay that is owed to me?
Not sure what is "harsh" about the policy. I don't think the company is forcing the OP to resign, she has chosen to do so. You haven't given any timings so it's difficult to comment. When is your son's operation and how long would his recovery period be? If I understand, you don't have to return to work until 5 Nov? Does this also include any holiday which you have accrued while on maternity leave? Depending on how long you have been off, this could be a further four or more weeks, would that help? Also, if your company are keen to keep you, they might be willing to agree to a period of unpaid leave at the end of your ML, have you discussed this possibility at all?
Could you take your accrued annual leave and then apply for unpaid parental leave https://www.gov.uk/parental-leave/overview after your maternity leave ends? Would this cover the period over which your LO is recovering? Why do you have to return on 5th August? Have you already agreed this with your employer? Your employer normally has to assume that you will take the full 52 weeks of maternity leave (of which you will receive SMP for the first 39 weeks, if you qualify) unless you give them notice that you plan to return earlier.
If you decide not to return to work, I believe you need to give due notice as stipulated in your contract of employment.