Can they make me re-apply for a position whilst I am on maternity leave? Ask the expert

I am currently on maternity leave from my job that I have held for just under four years. I am four months into my maternity and due to go back in January 2011. I have been contacted by one of my senior managers Friday last, to inform me that there will be a new admin structure going forward and that I have not to worry, I just have to apply for a position and nothing to worry about. The conversation was all very fluffy. I enquired about my salary and he said that this would not be touched. I have today received an email regarding the resutructure advising me that I have to apply for one of three positions and that interviews will be held on the 27th October. Are they allowed to do this while I am on maternity leave?

Whilst you are on maternity leave and in terms of redundancy, you are protected to a degree. Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations states that you are of protected status from redundancy whilst you are on maternity leave and where redundancy of your old position cannot be avoided, your employer is under a duty to find you suitable alternative employment. This is to provide you with the protection of returning to your same or similar job at the end of your maternity leave. It is questionable as to whether your employer can insist upon you attending an interview as effectively regulation 10 should “ring fence” one of the available jobs for you in the event that it is regarded as suitable alternative employment. If you refuse to attend such an interview and you are dismissed because of redundancy, you may have a case of unfair dismissal against your employer under the regulations”.

Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this answer, WorkingMums cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice.

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