I took 12 months maternity leave. During that time my department restructured and I was offered an alternative position, at a lesser salary and with less responsibility than I had before. I tried to discuss this with my employer and HR, as I thought this was not legal, but I got a very clear message that I was making a fuss over nothing and go away. The alternative position was apparently based upon my job description, which was vague and inaccurate to the role I actually did, and so they said they were following procedure about a suitable alternative position. The 3 month time limit to raise a tribunal case is ridiculous, who has the time and energy after just having a baby? Maternity leave is not supposed to be a time to fight a legal case surely.
I could have returned to work after 6 months and I would maybe have been treated differently as the law is slightly different, but I wanted to take 12 months with my child, as I am legally allowed to do.
I would advise women to make sure their job description is up to date before they start maternity leave. The whole thing ruined a large part of my maternity leave, was very stressful and has been a horrible experience. I am looking for another job.