I had a continuous service record with the NHS at one hospital trust for a number of years before relocating to take a fixed-term one-year contract at another NHS trust. The manager wanted to extend this and talked about a permanent post. Another manager took over and I fell pregnant. She was supportive, but did not bring up a permanent contract. In fact, she told me that, although the project was being extended and a colleague took over from me, I was not eligible for any keeping in contact days and that I would not accrue annual leave entitlement as a permanent employee would. If I did not get work with the NHS within a year, I would be liable to pay back my maternity pay to the trust. She said she would keep in contact and let me know if any vacancies came up as they would like me back on the team. I kept checking online and very little came up. I was sent my P45 when the extended contract ran out in September. I kept looking for a similar role, eventually finding one in another department in the same trust. I went to interview and got the role. HR say I am not a returner and I’ve forfeited my continuous service record. This has implications for my pension scheme (to go on a less favourable one) and for my annual leave entitlement that I built up over the years. I also have to pay for another DBS check and take all my documentation in to start as an external candidate. Not only have they delayed my start date and lost me a month’s salary while they prevaricated, but they have also made me feel like I’ve caused some trouble in the background by asking. I’ve been told to speak to payroll as they’ve said I have no rights to continuous service since I did not get a new contract the day after my old one ended in Sept 14. I am sure that had I not fallen pregnant, something would have been found for me as I enjoyed working with the team and got results. Lastly, it also looks like my increment increase will not be awarded as I did not complete the full project brief and attain all the milestones. It just feels really unfair that I’ve worked so hard, many unpaid hours, not taken any time off for midwife appointments (I used annual leave or made appointments at the end of day) or Lamaze classes etc so as to maximise my time to complete work before going off on maternity leave.
Unfortunately, the NHS trust in question is able to act in this manner. A break of over one week is enough to break a period of continuous service, and as your previous contract ended in September 2014, given the time lapse your continuous service has been broken.
You have also lost any potential right to bring a claim against the previous NHS trust. From the details you described there was a potential that you could have had an unfair dismissal and/or maternity related discrimination claim, but you only have three months from the date of dismissal/last act of discrimination to bring a claim. Therefore, given that this happened in September 2014, you have lost the right to pursue these claims.