Was I offered a settlement because I am pregnant?

I’ve been in my job for 2.5 years and today was given a settlement offer which was completely out of the blue. The settlement agreement mentions that I haven’t grown or retained client accounts to achieve business growth plans. However, my contract does not mention any targets or details about growing client accounts and I’m not in a sales role and I’ve had no previous communication about my performance. I’m also 9 weeks pregnant and I have a feeling (for various reasons) that my employer knew this, but I had not officially told them.  If I get a new job now I won’t qualify for any statutory maternity pay as I won’t have been there enough time.  My settlement figure is 2 months pay so doesn’t cover any maternity pay I would have been entitled to.  I have a few questions/queries: I believe I have been unfairly dismissed so what would I need to support this claim? Am I entitled to go back to my employer and request a higher settlement figure due to loss on entitlement of maternity pay?

Congratulations on your pregnancy.

If you have not already done so, I suggest you tell your employer you are pregnant so they can carry out the appropriate health and safety assessments, give you paid time off for your ante natal appointments and means they are “on notice” of your pregnancy and the legal protections this gives you.

If you leave this job now and take up another one before the baby arrives, you may still qualify for maternity allowance.

To answer your first question, you have not been dismissed and are still an employee of the business. This means you do not have the right to claim unfair dismissal. The business has simply put forward a proposal which you are entirely free to accept, reject or try to negotiate the terms.

Regarding your second question, you can reject their current proposal and try to negotiate a better package. You may wish to start these by putting forward a request for notice pay, holiday, a sum equivalent to your maternity pay and potentially an additional ex-gratia payment. Bear in mind that your employer is similarly not obliged to agree to your proposal and it would be prudent for you to be open to further negotiation of the settlement proposal. You may also wish to ask for an agreed reference.

If the negotiations are unsuccessful, your employment will continue as if those discussions had not happened.


Comments [2]

  • V murphy says:

    You haven’t addressed the queries regarding the reason for the settlement, namely retention of client accounts etc when this is not a sales role. I find your answer too brief and incomplete.

    • Mandy Garner says:

      Our lawyers give brief information in the first instance and then the questioner can follow up directly if they have further questions. Many of these cases are complex and require a lot more information so they can only give an outline of rights, etc.

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