I am currently on maternity leave and I will return to work in October. I work within the property department at a law firm and unfortunately it looks like the department may close. A similar role in another department would be completely unsuitable, given my property experience. What are my options? Can I request voluntary redundancy if this happens?
From what you say it is a fair redundancy and you are not being selected because you are on maternity leave. If a woman is on maternity leave when she is made redundant she must be offered a suitable alternative vacancy, if one exists, in priority to staff not on maternity leave.
I cannot comment on issues such as voluntary redundancy as this is something employers may offer at their discretion. However, if you are made redundant, because your department closes, then you may be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment (dependant on years of service) or a contractual payment if your contract provides for this.