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I was asked two years ago to act up into a senior role managing a satellite facility for my employer. At the time I was told it would be reviewed in three to six months as it was unusual for someone of my backround in the company to take this role. Since then I have had three changes of management and the review was never done formally, but I have been noted as a “rising star” on both of my appraisals since then, with salary increases to match. At each change of management I have chased the role being made a permanent role as the acting up salary is not recognised for pension contributions etc. and is only a percentage addition to my original salary. Now I am due to go on maternity leave in three months time and there is still no formal answer to my query on this matter about the role being recognised or advertised as I understand it may need to go to advert. The CEO, HR manager and my line managers have all told me at various points that this will be sorted out, but where do I stand if my maternity leave starts before this is resolved?
I note from your question that you were previously asked to “act up” into a senior role to manage a satellite facility for your employer and you were told that in three to six months time the situation would be reviewed. Yet, after two years no formal assessment has ever taken place. I also note that you have received “acting up” salary increases yet your employer has not yet indicated whether the role shall be made permanent and thus you are uncertain what will happen if your maternity leave starts before the issue is resolved.
If the matter is not resolved before you go on maternity leave then I would note that your employer should inform you of any further developments to the role that arise during your maternity leave. This would include any recognition of the permanent role or job advertisement of the position. If your employer fails to do this then you may have claim(s) for unfavourable treatment and/or unlawful detriment. I would thus suggest you discuss with your employer how much contact you would like during your leave and how you would like to be contacted.
Your employer should also not deny you the opportunity to apply for the permanent role nor can they treat you any less favourably due to your pregnancy and maternity leave as this would be regarded as discrimination. This would be especially true as you have already been in the role for a period in excess of two years, and have demonstrated throughout that time and via the appraisal process, that you are both competent and capable of performing in the role.
I would also note that following your maternity leave you are entitled to return to the same job that you were employed to do before your absence. If that is not possible then a similar job on the same terms and conditions should be given to you. For these purposes the nature of the work you should return to will not be determined purely by your written contract of employment, but regard would also be had to what you were actually doing before you go on maternity leave.