Advice & Support

Do I have to pay back enhanced maternity pay?: ask the expert

Do I have to pay back enhanced maternity pay?: ask the expert

I have decided not to return to my job as I have been offered a very flexible part time role near home. I never intended to resign. The job I have accepted is a friend who understood I was worrying about returning to a high pressured role, so I made no provisions/budget for resigning. I informed the company eight weeks ahead of my proposed return date and all was fine. Seven weeks later, having handed in my notice and accepted the other job, I have been told I need to reimburse them for my enhanced maternity pay (roughly £5k). This is in my policy, the wording states "if the employee does not return to work or they leave voluntarily within six months of returning, the company reserves the right to request they reimburse any enhanced CMP received over and above SMP." My questions are: do I have any grounds to negotiate the amount based on the fact it's a right to request rather than a rule? I know a former colleague hasn't been asked to pay EMP back after leaving six months ago. There was no negotiation or discussion, she simply wasn't asked. Does this set any precedent? Finally, if I have to pay it back there are no terms for instalments or timeframes in the policy so can I suggest small amounts for the foreseeable future? I have taken a huge paycut and also have childcare costs to pay now. I don't want to be bullied into larger less sustainable amounts if this isn't necessary.

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Not promoted because I'm pregnant: ask the expert

Not promoted because I'm pregnant: ask the expert

My employer has promoted my colleague to a senior position without offering me the opportunity and has said that this is because I am pregnant. What should I do as I feel this is unfair as they have also said the job would have been mine if I wasn't pregnant.

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Inaccurate payment during qualifying period for SMP: ask the expert

Inaccurate payment during qualifying period for SMP: ask the expert

After experiencing a stillbirth one week into my maternity leave, I chose to stay on my agreed leave, but informed my employer of my intention to return to work after three months. However, I requested to go to a suitable alternative role on another site contract, which my employer agreed to and also said would be good as I'd get a fresh start and begin a new chapter. I also indicated that I would be ok with forgoing the eight-week notice period as long as the job was right and they also agreed. So, I was put forward for interviews and finally landed a role earlier this year pending vetting that would confirm my start date. I eventually got a start date and asked my new line manager to process the end of my maternity leave so I could start full time when the role was supposed to begin. I started the role, but they said in this new site contract I have 20 days annual leave for 2015/16 tax year, as opposed to the 25 days I had on my last site contract. I also happened to be 23 weeks into my second pregnancy and informed them of this. They said they were disappointed I didn't notify them before I was offered the role and the manager even made comments that she thought she saw me drinking alcohol at a work function. They didn't update payroll to cease my maternity leave even though my yearly salary, unit number and site location reflect the new role. So, I had to urgently request payroll to do a Bacs payment to ensure I got paid as a FTE from when I started the job. I think I was underpaid and I'm concerned about the annual leave entitlement for the next tax year as it's not the same. Also, will my new SMP be affected by the inaccurate payment I received during my qualifying period?

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What are my rights if there has been a restructure?: ask the expert

What are my rights if there has been a restructure?: ask the expert

I have been with the company for the last six years. I went on maternity leave last April and returned in February. Whilst I was gone my team has restructured and their responsibilities/goals have changed – one of the changes to my old role is a requirement to travel extensively for weeks at a time. My line manager discussed the team changes with me a week before my return, where he made these requirements clear and disqualified me from coming back to my old role unless I agreed to the intensive travel expectations. He then offered me a role (at the same grading and pay) in the team that is substantially different from what I did before, but I would have 2 direct reports and a blank canvas to shape the new role. On my return he sent out a welcome back email to all senior management, telling them of my new role and a transfer to a new office which is further from my home and which I did not agree to. Two days after being back he sent me and HR a detailed job description for input. I responded by saying that I am not comfortable in agreeing the role as it stands since it has changed since I was originally consulted and would like to have a meeting with him and HR to discuss. When I asked HR about it, they said that an “equivalent”/”similar” role only refers to grading (ie management level) and pay – not to actual job description, career development prospects and not to location (if I am asked to move offices that are within a 50-mile radius). My line manager has also been making remarks in front of colleagues to pressurise me into taking the role. I feel bullied and victimised and very worried about my career prospects within the company. What can I do if no other role is available to me? What does “equivalent”/”similar” role mean?

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Job being made full time. What are my rights?: ask the expert

Job being made full time. What are my rights?: ask the expert

I have been working part time for five years and my company has now told me I am at risk of redundancy (alongside others in the organisation). However, the role which will replace mine is exactly the same, but full time with more responsibilities. I asked my boss which part of my job is being made redundant and he said that it would remain exactly the same, but become a full-time role with more responsibilities. It will also fall into a lower pay bracket. The new job is open to everybody to apply for internally and I think I am being treated unfairly as I was not offered the new full-time role, but told I would need to apply alongside others. Can I be made redundant in these circumstances?

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