Advice & Support

Maternity cover still in place after maternity leave: ask the expert

Maternity cover still in place after maternity leave: ask the expert

I have returned to work after the ordinary maternity period to my original full-time hours. I am doing my normal job, but my boss has kept my maternity cover lady on for a few hours a week. My boss did discuss this with me, but I did not realise they would be doing a lot of my work.This lady is doing a lot of my jobs and I now find myself with not a lot to do. I am being told to include this lady in a lot of my managerial roles also. I feel quite left out and sitting around a lot doing nothing. My boss is now talking about changing my hours to a different time and increasing hers also. Is this ok?

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Asked to interview for job during maternity leave: ask the expert

Asked to interview for job during maternity leave: ask the expert

My partner is on maternity leave (about 16 weeks in) and her position is being made redundant. She was informed there is a role which she could apply for and be assessed on to see if she is suitable. Unaware of the law, she attended an assessment against other people who were currently in the business and not on maternity leave and scored poorly. Consequently the job was given to someone else who didn't have the same skills, previous experience or performance record as my partner but did score well on the assessment day. Would we be right is assuming this was discriminatory?

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Part time, but not being promoted: ask the expert

Part time, but not being promoted: ask the expert

Following the birth of my second child and a year's maternity leave I went back to work on a part-time basis, but to a different role, different location and reporting to a different manager, all of which I did agree to because the only option I was left with was either work full time or take redundancy. I was not financially disadvantaged by this. Now nearly 4 years later I find myself struggling to be promoted in any way within the company. I continue to work part time (3 days a week) and am not willing to do the role I am currently in on a full-time basis. Whilst I am in no worse financial position I do feel that the work is of a less senior level. In the last few weeks there was an announcement saying that three people (full-time male employees) have been promoted to new roles which were not advertised. The Company has a complex structure and as such it is difficult to confirm whether the promoted employees are on the same level as me, however I think they are. I am very frustrated because it seems to be impossible for me to be promoted. If the (full time) roles had of been advertised then I could have chosen whether or not to apply, but because they weren't I had no opportunity to even be considered. Additionally the company NEVER advertises part-time roles in the department in which I work, let alone at my (manager) level. At the end of last year I did express an interest in career development and stated that I would not want to be missing out on opportunities because they assumed I wanted to continue working part time, but I stressed it would depend on the role. One of the three roles is located in the original office I worked in prior to my maternity leave and therefore the possibility of me working more hours is much more feasible. I've tried to discuss this with my manager, but was told that perhaps if I would commit to returning full time there may be more options available. Recently my manager has reinstated the team meetings which she has arranged for a day I do not work. I am the only employee in the team not in the office five days a week. It is difficult for me to be perceived as a manager by the rest of the team when they have these meetings without me. Again I have mentioned this to my manager, but was told my attendance was unimportant. Please can you confirm what the legal situation is, but also what I should do. I'm getting to the point where I feel I will have to leave in order to carry on with career development.

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Am I being unfairly dismissed?: ask the expert

Am I being unfairly dismissed?: ask the expert

I am currently 16 weeks pregnant and told my boss about the pregnancy about a month ago. The company has seen a reduction in clients and two weeks ago I received a letter announcing that my job (Office Manager) is considered for redundancy and the main reason is that it is a non-client facing role. I wrote back saying that this has always been the case and asking who is going to do my job and I was told that other team members would. Also I have been told that no other people are being considered even though they are not dealing with any clients and this is purely a cost-cutting measure. I feel that this is related to my pregnancy as tasks have been taken away from me and furthermore a temp has been hired and is doing some of them. Also team members are also asking other people to do some of my tasks (arrange travel, hotels, deal with expenses) and even though they say that this is a cost-cutting measure the spending has continued and furthermore they have applied for a Green Card visa for one team member and paid for the application. They only answered my questions at the end of the consultation leaving me with no option. I would appreciate if you could advise if I can sue for unfair dismissal. I have been with the company for 1yr 9 months and the notice period finished exactly before the completion of my 2 years.

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Changing flexible working and work location after maternity leave: ask the expert

Changing flexible working and work location after maternity leave: ask the expert

I have been with my company for 2.5 years and am currently in my sixth month of maternity leave. I recently submitted my Flexible Working Application (FWA) requesting a change in hours from 9-5.30 to 8-4.30, remaining as a full time worker. HR subsequently informed me (via conference call) that my requested hours would not work in my role. Additionally the company has changed the support ratio and parameters of my role (including work location) whilst I’ve been on maternity leave and as such my original role no longer exists. When I challenged them on this I was told the person carrying out my maternity cover is able to meet the new location and working hours requirements. The implication was that I fall in line and accept the new arrangements with the knowledge that my temporary cover can easily become a permanent arrangement. I asked about alternative positions within the business, but was told that none existed. Agreeing with the new terms has significant implications for me. My original role was designed around flexible working; my employment contract states I am a home-based mobile worker. I also gave full disclosure of my medical condition (a result of childhood cancer) in the company medical questionnaire upon joining the business. The impact of my physical mobility challenges was also verified via a Workstation (DSE) Risk Assessment carried out by the local Health and Safety Manager. I have all of this documented. As such the business has full awareness of the difficulties a commute into central London presents to me, and the practical advantages that a ‘drive to work’ commute affords with respect to my physical mobility challenges. I feel they are consciously discriminating against me in terms of my disability and maternity needs as they aware of my medical history and the reasonable adjustments required. I now have a follow-up call scheduled with a company HR Manager this week. From a legal standpoint do I have any options that will ensure I maintain a role as per my current employment contract? Are they in breach of my employment contract? Are they legally allowed to change my flexible working status and work location without my consent? As an alternative I would consider a voluntary redundancy package, but is there a minimum standard I should insist on (e.g. am I entitled to ensure I am financially supported until the close of this year)?

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