Can you be made redundant while on maternity leave?

I am currently on maternity leave and my employer has said I cannot return to my job as it no longer exists and have offered me another job. I am very confused as there has been no formal redundancy proceedings. I have read reg 18 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 (as amended) and it says my employer can refuse to allow me to return to my job where it is no longer reasonable or practicable. What makes it no longer reasonable or practicable? My colleagues Are still doing the same or similar jobs so why does mine not exist? Surely my employer should have looked at redundancy proceedings?

I’ve tried to answer your question based on the information given there are some gaps, so I suggest you obtain formal advice based on the full facts.

Firstly, the law protects you against being unfairly selected for redundancy because of your pregnancy or taking maternity leave. If your job has genuinely become redundant while you are absent then you are entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy (if there is one) on terms and conditions not substantially less favourable than those of your old job. These rights are set out in the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations (as amended) 1999 and the Employment Rights Act 1996.

You don’t mention whether you received anything in writing and also if the alternative job offered by the employer is “suitable” i.e that the terms and conditions should not be substantially less favourable than your existing job. It is also not clear how much maternity leave you have taken, when you are due to return to work and the time frame for this redundancy process.

Generally, the rules regarding return to work following maternity leave are set out in Regulation 18 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, as amended. You only have the right to return to the same job, working the same hours you were employed to do before you took maternity leave if you return to work within Ordinary Maternity Leave (within the first 26 weeks).

During Additional Maternity Leave (weeks 27-52 of your maternity leave), you can only return to the same job if that is still reasonably practicable. There is more flexibility available to the employer. If it is no longer the case, your employer must provide you with a suitable and appropriate alternative job role. “Suitable” and “appropriate” should be a job role as near as possible to what you were doing before you left for maternity leave.

In terms of a potential redundancy, you say that your colleagues seem to be doing their same job and only you seem to be “at risk” of redundancy.

In a genuine redundancy situation an employer needs to show fairness in operating a redundancy procedure. It needs to show a fair process by:

– Showing that it has warned its “at risk” employees. Ideally employees need to be warned of this as early as possible;
– Explained the redundancy process;
– Selected for redundancy using objective selection criteria;
– Consulted with the” at risk” employees to prevent their roles being redundant. There are special consultation requirements if more than 20 employees are to be made redundant in a period of ninety days or less; and
– Considered and offered available alternative employment:

Your employer should have informed you verbally and then in writing:

– The circumstances/reasons for the “redundancy”;
– Who is at risk of redundancy and why;
– Their selection criteria; and
– Details of the redundancy/consultation process and timeframe which may end with your job being redundant.

You should also be given first refusal of any suitable available job and you take precedence over other workers who are being made redundant (who are not on maternity leave).

It does seem from the facts that you are being treated unfairly by reason of your maternity status if your colleagues’ jobs are secure yet they carry out the same or similar type of work as you. If this “redundancy” is by reason of your pregnancy/maternity leave you can make a claim for automatic unfair dismissal and pregnancy/maternity-related discrimination at the Employment Tribunal, subject to filing your claim within the applicable time limits.

If you are made redundant and you have worked for your employer for at least two years, you will be entitled to receive a statutory redundancy payment. If you are still being paid statutory maternity pay, you will receive that in addition to redundancy pay.

As a starting point, I suggest you ask your employer to provide full written details of the redundancy process/timeframe and an explanation as to why you are the only employee at risk of redundancy while others carry out the same or similar duties. Use the above bullet points as a guide.

As you seem to have potential claims please also obtain advice based on your specific facts.

If I can be of any further assistance, please contact me.




Comments [44]

  • Ashleigh says:

    Hi I’m due to return to work from maternity leave in February, I wrote a letter stating what hours are suitable now I have a baby this has been agreed however they have changed my job role, when asking them about this they stated it’s due to ‘new legislation’ and the amount of time off I’ve had, I am returning back to work after 9 months off! I have had a meeting with the manager and she couldn’t answer any of the questions when asked about this new legislation after doing research and speaking to various people I’m under the impression that this new legislation doesn’t even exsist! I’m due to have another meeting soon and just need some advise as to what will happen if they don’t let me return back to my previous job role? Many thanks

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Ashleigh,
      You are right to press them for details to back up their decision. If you did not discuss changes to your role in the negotiations over flexible working and it was simply about reducing your hours and you have not agreed them or been consulted about changes to your job role, you could sue for breach of contract. If you don’t get a suitable response, you should consider filing a grievance. Legally, you have a right to return to your original job after six months on maternity leave and between 6-12 months to your original job or a suitable alternative [similar terms and conditions] if that is not available [eg if the role is now redundant, which it doesn’t appear to be in your case].
      Best wishes.

      • Ashleigh says:

        Many thanks for your response, they have sent me a letter agreeing to my new hours but then have given me a lesser job role and also have said if I agree to these terms that my contract would then change, they also said I am more uselful in this lesser role.

        • Mandy Garner

          Mandy Garner says:

          Hi Ashleigh, If this is not something you agree to, you should say that it was not discussed as part of your flexible working application and that you are not happy to be effectively demoted. If they then say they cannot agree your flexible working application, they would need to give a reason and only eight are allowed under the legislation – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/flexible-working-a-guide/. If they do turn it down and you do not agree with the reason they have given, you can appeal.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry to bother you. I am on maternity leave. My money runs out in May but I am planning on taking unpaid leave and holidays until August. My department is going through a restructure and my post along with about 30 others is being deleted. There are new positions being created and we have all been told we can apply for our top 3 then get interviewed. I am the only one in the company doing my specific job but others can apply for the new similar one. We are also being asked if we want voluntary redundancy. What rights do I have? Can I not get the most similar role or do I need interviewed. Also would I be able to ask about VR or would I be refused as I am meant to work 3 months or need to pay back maternity money. I am worried! I have worked there 7 years and have a full time contract. Worried they could move me to another team doing a different role. Thanks

  • Eleanor says:

    I currently work part time and am 25 weeks pregnant. I am a manager of my own team and quite senior. Recently my manager called me in and said that due to absorbing extra workload my job could no longer be done part time and would be a full time role. My maternity cover would be a full time advert.

    She then gave me three options. Start working full time, take a demotion but stay part time (including loss of status and money) or agree a settlement.

    She wants me to agree a solution before I go on leave because she is worried there will be nothing for me when I come back.

    I feel like something is really unfair here but I am not sure what grounds I would have for a complaint. Can you help?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I have worked within my role as a buyer for 6 years. I was a buying manager over a department. Just after going on maternity leave it was officially announced by e mail (which I still have) that someone else had permanently been given my role. I have taken 10 and a half months maternity and 2 weeks annual leave, meaning I will return after 11 months. I have had a meeting with them to agree my return to work dates. At this point they stated due to the amount of time I had taken off they could not offer me the same role back, but will find me a suitable alternative on the same money and with the same working hours etc. I had already confirmed that I could do my previous job, including the hours, travel etc. They have since offered me a position in sales, which I declined as I want to continue my career as a buyer. They have asked me to meet with the sales director tomorrow to discuss the opportunity to work within the sales team. What are my rights here? Are they allowed to deny me my original role, even though it is still there? What is covered by 'reasonably practical' reasons not to offer me my old job back? What happens if we can't agree to a reasonable alternative position? Am I within my rights to refuse a position in a different department? Thanks for your help.

    Editor: Firstly, why did they not seek to cover your role with maternity cover? Is there any good business reason for this? Was it difficult to cover such a senior role in your absence from within the department, for instance? You are entitled to return to your original post or a suitable alternative [on similar terms and conditions] if this is not reasonably practical, eg, the role is redundant. It appears that the role is not redundant so this looks like a possible case of maternity discrimination, but you would need to provide more details. I would talk to your employer and inform them of your maternity rights. They may not be aware of the legislation – see http://www.maternityaction.org.uk/wp/advice-2/mums-dads-scenarios/pregnant/discrimination-during-maternity-leave-and-on-return-to-work/

  • Anonymous says:

    So upon returning to work I have been told there are no shifts for me.i am contracted 36 hours a week in a nursing home… so I'm still employed but have no shifts…. what do I do?

    Editor: Could you provide more information? What reason has been given for not giving you any shifts? Are you being paid? If your contract specifies a certain number of hours you should be given those hours. Informally inquire what the reason is and you could consider filing a grievance if the situation persists.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, i work as a senior in a childcare setting. Before i was on maternity leave there was myself and another senior plus a manager. Whilst i have been off i have heard on the grapevine that the director has been saying there doesnt need to be 2 seniors. I am really worried that she will try and force me out, as i am requesting to go back to work part time. Where do i stand? If they cant accomodate my old job as a part tine role can they make me redundant or do they have to provide a new role for me with part time hours? And can they reduce my pay scale? And if they find a new part time role for me do i have to interview?!

    Editor: See https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-toolkit/6559548/do-you-know-your-maternity-rights.thtml with regard to your rights on maternity leave and your right to return to your job. If your job is genuinely redundant, they have to offer you a suitable alternative, which should be on similar terms and conditions as the one you had before. That may be full time if part-time has not yet been agreed, but you could then apply for or try to negotiate flexible working.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am a waitress and about to return to work. Their telling me I won't get the same schedule even though I worked that schedule for almost 2 years before going on maternity leave. I knows it personal I asked if I was going to get my same schedule and their response was 'not necessarily' just curious if that's wrong.
    I do not have a big job like the others on here but I still need my job lol please help

    Editor: It depends what your contract says about whether your hours can be subject to change, but you can put it a request for flexible working to get the hours you need, although they can turn this down on certain criteria – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/q-and-a/all/7609807/hours-to-change-ask-the-expert.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    My daughter went on medical leave in January due to having multiple seizures during pregnancy, and in June her maternity leave kicked in.. Her daughter was born in July.. She called her work asking if she can go back to work.. They told her she does not have a job anymore.. Is this right.. She is only on her fourth month maternity leave.. On top of that she had to do medical leave .. January to June.. Than Maternity kicked in.

    Editor: There are certain protections that apply to maternity leave – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/399271/maternity-and-redundancy-your-rights.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi
    I'm due back to work from maternity very soon and I've requested working part time over two days instead of full time, although it hasn't been officially rejected yet, I have been told it's high unlikely and that they would want me to work four days, which I can't do due to childcare. If they can't offer me anything else do they have to make me redundant?

    Editor: You could try to negotiate redundancy, but if you don't want to go back and they turn down your flex working request on legitimate grounds you may have to resign – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/working-mums-magazine/hot-topics/7890872/extending-flexible-working.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi

    I am fulfilling a secondment position. I didnt originally get the job. The person that passed the interview became pregnant before the position started. After she finishes her mat leave there will still be a year left on the secondment position. Have I any right to keep the job since she didnt even start the job. I have the training and experience of doing the job.

    Thanks

    Editor: What is your status in doing the position? Are you maternity cover in which case this is a temporary position for you?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello my name is Christina and I am about t go back to work from maternity leave. I had a meeting with the owner of the store I work at and was informed that I will not be returning as a supervisor (that was my job title before I left for mat leave) when I go back and that I will be a kitchen closer. They told me that my position isn't available for me, and that they don't know me that well as an employee. The owners of the store bought the store in January 2013 and I worked for them until June 30,2013 because that was when I went on mat leave. I'm just wondering if this is right?

    Editor: see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/399271/maternity-and-redundancy-your-rights.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    I have taken a year for my maternity leave. During my absence my line manager has changed and the company introduced a new software. My maternity cover has been fully trained and is currently working with the new system. I had a training before going on leave but never got opportunity to do much work on the new system. My new line manager (who has only met me once)announced in the office in front of other colleagues (which I find quite unprofessional) that he wants to keep my cover as at the moment he has more experience than me! I got my current job as I was 'old system super-user' so there is absolutely no problem for me to quickly learn the new system. Does my new manager has any right to dismiss me or to move to another job based on the above?

    Editor: After additional maternity leave you have the right to return to your original job or a suitable alternative if that job is not available. In this case it does not appear that the job is redundant so if he tried to dismiss you or move you simply because you were away when training took place for the new system that would be discriminatory.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi,
    I work for a charity organisation and have been employed by them for over 2 years now. My current contract is expiring at the end of June 2014 and I am also planning to go on maternity leave in the middle of June. Now, the Trustees of the organisation are making huge changes to it, which means that the project I am currently working on until June won't continue. Now, in terms of the law, what should happen? Should I be offered a different position within the organisation? or just a maternity pay and redundancy pay after my contract ends? I have given my managers a letter explaining when I am due and when I am planning to take my maternity leave and when to come back (after 50 weeks) but got no reply so far. Can my contract just end and then that would be the end? Am I still entitled to SMP? or pay that is offered within the charity? (1 week pay for every year that I have worked for them)or any redundancy pay? By law, do I have to be offered a position that is suitable within the charity? Everyone else from my project is leaving or looking for another job. I would look for another job too but I am 6 months pregnant now so it does not make sense.

    Editor: You will still be entitled to your SMP if you are still in your position as of the 26th week of your pregnancy, whatever happens afterwards. Does your job end before you go on maternity leave or while you are on maternity leave? If the latter, there are special protections that apply, but you can still be made redundant  - see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/399271/maternity-and-redundancy-your-rights.thtml

    You should get redundancy pay if you are entitled to it – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-toolkit/7681517/your-rights-on-redundancy.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi There,

    I currently work on a team of 3 people – myself and another member of staff are now pregnant (4 weeks apart) – our manager has verbally confirmed that our department will now close down due to the fact two of us will be on maternity and the team cannot run – however when we questioned this they did say due to the business growing so much (basically all our hardwork is paying off) we would have lost our jobs at the end of the year anyway as we would not be able to handle the work load – im just wondering legally where do we stand as we have not had anything in writing or any leav dates or consultation periods confirmed

    many thanks

    Editor: You cannot be dismissed because you are pregnant as this would constitute pregnancy discrimination. You should seek further legal advice. If you go on maternity leave you should be guaranteed your job after ordinary maternity leave unless it is made redundant for good business reasons and is no longer being done by anyone in the organisation. If the workload has increased who will be doing the work?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have taken a year for my maternity leave. During my absence they had a cover. After my return they kept the cover and 3 months in I had a bad appraisal – in effect a warning. I know that they would prefer the cover. What are my rights? If they made me redundant and took on the cover, would I have any chance of fighting unfair dismissal?

    I was forced to do an appraisal after returning 3 months in. I am worried they are going to use it against me.

    Editor: Can you write in via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box with more information about your situation, for instance, is the cover doing your job still? What is the normal process for appraisals in your workplace? Do you feel the appraisal was fair?

  • Anonymous says:

    I am in my 10th month of maternity leave after having my son. I have kept in touch with my employers who are a small business whilst I have been on leave. I e-mailed them in January asking them about my keeping in touch days and telling them that I would like to return to work on a part time basis when I return from maternity leave. They replied saying this would be fine and they would be in touch. They then e-mailed to say that I had to go to the Gov.uk website and fill in an application for flexible working which I did and attended a meeting with them last week. After the meeting I received a letter on Friday to confirm that there is too much workload and that the office is at full capacity so there is no part time position available only full time. I feel like I am being bullied into going back to work full time. Can they do this and do I have any right to my old job as really enjoyed it and don't want to leave. Thank you.

    Editor: Do you feel that they have given your request due consideration or just dismissed it out of hand? Do you think the reason is fair? If you do not, you could consider taking out an appeal. However, it would be a good idea to take into account their reasons and look for ways around them, for instance, could you find someone you could job share with? Could you suggest working compressed days or some days homeworking so you could cut down on commuting? The flexible working process is a negotiation so you will be more likely to succeed if you show you have taken into account your employer's concerns. Just because flexible working has been turned down does not mean you have lost your original job.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked for my local authority for over 12 months on a temporary contract which ends whilst I am on maternity leave.
    However I applied for another post within the same local authority whilst on maternity leave and subsequently was offered the position. My query is what rights etc. do I have if the position is with the same employer with regard to my statutory and occupational maternity pay, of which I am eligible. Does my maternity pay end when I start the new position? Also do I have to start the new position before my maternity leave is due to end?

    Editor: Your maternity pay will stop the week you start work in your new position. You will have to negotiate with your employer about your start date. Bear in mind that people not on maternity leave would have to give contractual notice, etc, so you may have some room to negotiate.

  • Anonymous says:

    I took 3 months and 2 weeks off for maternity leave and the first day I came back to work I was told that due to a low volume at work they had to cut my hours from Mon-Fri 730-330 to Tues-Thurs 730-1230 only. Is this legal?

    Editor: Have you been consulted about the reduction in hours? Are you the only person affected by the reduction and do you feel the reasons given are justified for business reasons or that you have been targeted due to your maternity leave? You would need to provide a little more information so that our legal team can help. You are legally entitled to be consulted on any change to your terms and conditions – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed

  • Anonymous says:

    My daughter is due to return to work in Feb and they have said that her post is not available now to return to. They have promoted her maternity cover replacement to supervisor and now have a full complement of reception staff (she was not even notified of the Promotion opportunity whereas the other two staff receptionists were). The places she is potentially being offered are run by a different company on site. Does she have wage protection and is she effectively being made redundant from her "current" role?
    What rights does she have and is there an official flexible working form she should complete as opposed to an informal email requesting hours around childcare?

    Editor: Your daughter should have been consulted if her role is now redundant [and she should have been informed of the promotion opportunity]. You do not say how many months she has had of maternity and whether her job is not available because it no longer exists or because it has been given to someone else, which is illegal. If she has just taken ordinary maternity leave [6 months] she is entitled to return to the job she was doing and the same terms and conditions. If she is returning in additional maternity leave and her job is not available she has the right to a reasonable alternative position on similar terms and conditions. She can apply for flexible working by writing a formal letter to her manager requesting it – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your reply. The main thing I was wondering was whether the rules protecting women on maternity leave apply as soon as you've been put at risk (which has happened for my wife) but not yet in the formal notice period which will last 3 months but only when my wife returns to work. She certainly hasn't been offered any roles in preference to anyone else but we wonder whether she should be (if any are available of course) or whether her employer has avoided this duty because they are only actually going to serve her her notice period when she returns to work. Thank you!

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: Despite being on maternity leave your wife should be fully involved in the consultation process for redundancy and offered any suitable alternative employment.  Basically she should be treated the same as everyone else otherwise it could be discrimination.”

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi

    Hopefully a quick query. My wife is on maternity leave and has been told that her whole team have been put at risk and will lose their jobs. Management have spoken to my wife and offered her redundancy immediately (with the benefit of being fully paid for her 3 months notice period) or carry on and return to work at the end of her maternity as normal and then serve her 3 months notice then. It is then hoped that she would find a new role within the company during that time.

    She has been put at risk whilst on maternity and what we're keen to know is whether the maternity redundancy protection rules apply once you're put at risk or only once you've been given your formal notice. What do you think?

    We both hope she will successfully find a new role when she returns to work but we're keen to make sure the company is doing everything right along the way.

    Thank you.

    Editor: You can be made redundant on maternity leave, but special provisions apply to protect you. You must be given first refusal on any suitable alternative employments. If your company is part of a chain, for instance, and only one branch is being closed down, they need to offer you any jobs that become available elsewhere. As with any other employee, people on maternity leave who are threatened with redundancy should be notified of the redundancy process, be consulted, be included in the pool and put forward for redeployment. Pregnancy or absence due to maternity leave should not be considered as reasons for redundancy.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I have been with an organisation for last 5 years. I went on maternity leave for 52 weeks, when I returned to work i was informed that there is no role for me and I should look at opportunities outside the organisation. It's been over a month that they haven't given me a role and have not made me redundant. Not sure what's there in their mind. But I feel that they want me to resign, please advise.

    Editor: Do not resign. Legally, you are entitled to return to your role or a suitable alternative on similar terms and conditions. An employee can only be made redundant if the employer can clearly justify doing it – eg a part of the business closes and everyone in that section is made redundant. It is worth writing to them to inquire what your situation is, drawing their attention to the legislation on rights after maternity leave – see https://www.gov.uk/employee-rights-when-on-leave

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi

    I hope someone out there can give me advice.

    I am a senior manager of a company and currently on Maternity leave. I go back in January after taking about 24 weeks OML. I finished work at the end of June taking 3 week holiday then giving birth at the end of July.
    The company i work for have been having finance issues before I left. In the April new management came in. Straight away I sensed the new Manager did not like me. I kept on going till the end of June. The Manager had several meetings with me where he was aggressive towards me. in one meeting I complained about his behaviour towards me. I have this meeting minuted.

    So I then go on Maternity. Two weeks to the day I gave birth I had a missed call from the new Manager then a email advising all staff are at threat of redundancy. Two memebers of staff were then made redundant in September. Roll foward to now and I am due back in the new year. A member of staff has passed me a document which I believe the boss printed out and left lying about. In the document I am named as being made redundant. From what I can gather this will happen in january.
    I am full time and have been with the company for over 8 years. Before the new manager came in I was highly regarded in the company.
    The job description I had was very basic, I was and am able to work and manage any role within the company and I am more flexible than the other Managers.

    I beleive I have been targeted by the Manager as I have been away from the business although I still took calls and emails from staff when issues arose only I could deal with including being asked for help ten days after giving birth.

    Any advice on way forward would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

    Editor: Our HR expert Tara Daynes says: For starters hang onto the leaked document – apart from the breach of the DPA security principle in leaving it lying around, if it states you personally will be made redundant before going through the correct consultation processes, then this could show that the end result is pre-empted. That would make the selection & consultation process potentially unfair.

    You should monitor & diarise all communication & incidents involving the manager as this could strengthen any case you would have. It is lawful to select someone one maternity leave for redundancy, but not as a result of their maternity leave, so the onus is on the organisation to show that you were selected fairly – & the leaked document suggests otherwise! 

    If you are made redundant you will have the right to appeal against it so all of this would go into hour appeal, but I would also recommend making it plain to the employer that you have taken independent legal advice & would be prepared to put in a claim for discrimination & unfair dismissal if they don't prove satisfactorily that it was a fair redundancy decision.

  • Anonymous says:

    am on zero hour contract since 2007, my maternity leave finished in march 2012, I called my manager to request an extension and he said because I was on zero hour contract, I can take as much time I want and he gave me a letter to social welfare that my request to extend my maternity to indefinite time has been granted. I return to work this year October 2013, and learnt that others on the same zero hour contract are been offered a permanent hour contract but in my case I was told I did not qualify for it because they decided to give people on zero hour contract that have continue work since 2010 to date but because after my maternity in march 2012, and I was on leave from work till October 2013 so I did not have continue work from 2010 to date, so I did not qualify. please do any body know what I should do because I believe am not been treated fairly because I ask to extend my maternity and my manager never told me otherwise. 

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says that you have no rights under maternity legislation as maternity leave is only for 12 months maximum.  You would have to show continuous service to be offered a permanent contract like the other employees.  Whether the existence of the letter provided by your employer to show why you were given no work would help to support your case for unfair treatment is very difficult to say.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was working part time in my job as a Manager on return from maternity leave. When I fell pregnant with my second son a year later, I was called just before I gave birth and told that it wouldn't be possible to come back part time and I could do F/T but 2 days working from home. I agreed that I would come back and work 4 days as I felt no option or I would lose my job.

    Then 6 months into my mat leave the company permanently gave my role to someone else. I met up with my Manager 8 weeks prior to my return and agreed to return the 4 days. He then started discussing rolls he could 'make for me'. One was a development/Sales role and I said I wasn't interested in a sales job as working in a Management role.

    He said he would come up with something, even though I expressed my desire to return in my position. I am due to return in 2 weeks and have been called to offer me a National role that is billed as a Management role with a payrise but again I have to return full time and now it is unlikely I will be able to take and collect my children from nursery as the role will involve a great deal of travel (and sales work I expect).

    Unfortunately my Company has a track record of making redundancies based on personal relationships and I feel that if I turn the role down the titles will be changed and I will be made redundant due to the fact I cannot work Full time.

    If I take this position and the role does not work out and they make me redundant where do I stand or do I have any other options.

    Very stressful.

    Editor: Firstly, they cannot give your role away while you are on maternity leave. You have a right to return to your job after ordinary maternity leave [6 months] and to your job or a suitable alternative [which you must agree] during additional maternity leave. If they are offering you a full time job and you were working part time this would be a change to your terms and conditions and you could argue it was not a suitable alternative. 

  • Liz Kane says:

    Thanks for your reply. To add more detail to cover your questions:
    – they asked me to work from home when I said I would be moving to Cornwall (I offered to resign). They knew it was a permanent move, but didn't give me a new contract. I did it for 7 months before going on maternity leave. I understood it to be ongoing: the project they wanted me to cover was something I was working on for a year prior, and is still ongoing
    – they say that someone else is now running that project so they don't need me to go back on it. So, the role they have available is 3 days a week in London.

    They have told me (in writing) that when I worked on it 3 days a week from home, it worked very well.

    I feel I have lost the working from home job because I went on maternity leave. The job is still there – someone else is doing it (2 days a week from home, 1 day a week in the office).

    The work I was doing from home, 3 days a week, was about 70% this large project, and 30% ad-hoc projects that would come in. Those projects still come in.

    They have now asked me to work on a large project for 3-4 months from April 2014, from home, but on a freelance basis as there is no guarantee of work after it.

    They say my options are either
    a) sign a freelance contract
    b) work in the London office 3 days a week

    The work I was doing from home is still there, but being done by someone else. It hasn't changed as far as I know (from talking to them). If I hadn't gone on maternity leave, I would still be running that project from home.
    Do I have any rights to keep working from home, based on the information above do you think?

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says:  She has the right to return to her old job particularly as it still exists.   She should not be offered freelance work instead.  She should write a grievance to the company asserting her right.  If they do not comply she should make an employment tribunal claim.

  • Liz Kane says:

    Thanks for your reply. To add more detail to cover your questions:
    – they asked me to work from home when I said I would be moving to Cornwall (I offered to resign). They knew it was a permanent move, but didn't give me a new contract. I did it for 7 months before going on maternity leave. I understood it to be ongoing: the project they wanted me to cover was something I was working on for a year prior, and is still ongoing
    – they say that someone else is now running that project so they don't need me to go back on it. So, the role they have available is 3 days a week in London.

    They have told me (in writing) that when I worked on it 3 days a week from home, it worked very well.

    I feel I have lost the working from home job because I went on maternity leave. The job is still there – someone else is doing it (2 days a week from home, 1 day a week in the office).

    The work I was doing from home, 3 days a week, was about 70% this large project, and 30% ad-hoc projects that would come in. Those projects still come in.

    They have now asked me to work on a large project for 3-4 months from April 2014, from home, but on a freelance basis as there is no guarantee of work after it.

    They say my options are either
    a) sign a freelance contract
    b) work in the London office 3 days a week

    The work I was doing from home is still there, but being done by someone else. It hasn't changed as far as I know (from talking to them). If I hadn't gone on maternity leave, I would still be running that project from home.
    Do I have any rights to keep working from home, based on the information above do you think?

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: She has the right to return to her old job particularly as it still exists.   She should not be offered freelance work instead.  She should write a grievance to the company asserting her right.  If they do not comply she should make an employment tribunal claim.

  • Anonymous says:

    I worked in the London office. I then handed in my notice as I was moving to Cornwall (before I got pregnant). They asked me to continue working 3 days a week (as I was in the London office), but from home. I did so, then became pregnant and I am now on maternity leave.
    I let them know I plan to return after 9 months of maternity leave. They say that a working from home role is no longer available (as the work I was doing is being covered by another member of staff) – but they have asked me to sign a freelance contract and work on set projects from home.

    My two questions are this: 1) if someone else is doing the work I was doing, am I entitled to do that work again, or are they right that I have lost my right to work from home now they've covered that project with someone else?
    2) If I was working from home prior to my maternity leave, am I entitled to continue to work from home when I go back to work? They are making noises about the position now being full-time in the London office (but say it worked well when I worked from home)?

    Editor: When they gave you the working from home role was this on a temporary basis or an ongoing basis and for how long did you do it? If the latter, they cannot just give your job to someone else while you are on maternity leave. If you wish to return to work after AML, you should be offered your old job back, unless this is not reasonably practical. If it is not reasonably practical to offer you your old job back, you must be offered a job that is suitable. I do not understand the comment about the role being full time. Is this a different role to the three days a week role you were doing prior to your maternity leave which has been given to another member of staff? Are they doing this full time in the office? Is there any additional work that has been added to the role that makes it no longer manageable on three days a week? If you could provide more information I can pass this to our legal team who can give you detailed advice.

  • Anonymous says:

    My wife is 5 months into her maternity leave, and was made redundant when she was 2 months into it. The company is gone, so she is getting the maternity pay from the DWP.

    Following the maternity leave, which finishes in Jan/Feb, what financial support can we/she expect – i.e. job seekers allowance, or anything else, or should she try a college course etc? I am on approx £30k per year, but if she were to go back to work immediately, we would need full time childcare for our baby, and half-week childcare for our 4-year old (until September, when she starts school full time). I know I can get childcare vouchers from my employer.

    Any help (particularly around the follow-on from maternity leave) would be appreciated.

    Editor: For advice on benefits entitlement, check http://www.turn2us.org.uk. They have an entitlement calculator.

  • Anonymous says:

    HI, Quick question, my job is at risk of redundancy and I am at 45 days consultation period. My wife is pregnant and she is due after one month of my consultation period. So at the time of my wife due date, I will not have a job which means I will lose 2 weeks paternity leave pay. So please tell me what should I do now? Are they legally bind to compensate me for losing my paternity leave?

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says they would have to compensate you for the loss.

  • Anonymous says:

    My wife has been on Adoption leave and she requested reduced hours based around being back for nursery/school pick ups. She requested 5 short days, her employer has rejected this on the grounds that it is not within the businesses needs and changed the role to include site visits which will involve long distance travel. Something which she did a long time ago but had not done this for a few years and her previous line manager had changed her role before the adoption leave for this to be carried out in an alternative way or by other people. The company has undergone recent restructuring including redundancies. This has not been offered or discussed, but can she request redundancy and if so how does she word the request?

    Editor: Our employment lawyer Tracey Guest has replied as follows:

     

    I understand that your wife submitted a flexible working request but that this was rejected by her employer due to business needs. Her employer can only reject a flexible working application based on eight specific grounds, which are as follows: –

    ·         The burden of additional costs.

    ·         Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.

    ·         Inability to re-organize work among existing staff.

    ·         Inability to recruit additional staff.

    ·         Detrimental impact on quality.

    ·         Detrimental impact on performance.

    ·         Insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work.

    ·         Planned structural changes.

    Her employer also needs to follow a set procedure when dealing with the flexible working request. This involves, for example, meeting with your wife within 28 days of receiving her application and providing her with an outcome within 14 days of the meeting. If her employer does not comply with the prescribed timetable and/or uses a business ground for rejecting the application, which is not included in the list above, she may have a claim under the flexible working regulations. Any such claim should be presented to the tribunal within three months of the procedural breach or within three months of the date on which she was notified of the appeal decision. The tribunal may order her employer to reconsider the application and may award compensation not exceeding eight weeks' pay at a capped amount. Your wife may also have a sex discrimination claim based on her employer’s rejection of her flexible working application. This would depend on its reasoning for rejecting the application and how it has treated similar cases and we would need to examine this in more detail with your wife. Your wife could also potentially have a constructive unfair dismissal claim if she resigned in response to her employer’s actions. Your wife should however always take legal advice before resigning from her employment.

    I understand that your wife’s role has also been changed to now include site visits, which will involve long distance travel. This was something which your wife did a number of years ago but her previous line manager changed her role before her adoption leave so that these elements were no longer included in her day to day work. You state that your wife’s employer has recently undergone restructuring, including redundancies and ask whether your wife can request redundancy.

    Firstly, your wife’s employer can only change her contractual terms (which will usually include her job responsibilities) in particular circumstances. These include, for example, where your wife has agreed to such a change or where the change is authorized by her contract of employment. I understand from your query that your wife has not agreed to the change in her job responsibilities so she will need to check her contract to understand whether the change is authorized by this, for example, it may be covered in a wide role description clause but the clause would have to be quite specific in terms of what changes are authorized here. If the change is not authorized by her contract, her employer should not unilaterally impose this change and if it does so, this would be a breach of contract, which may also entitle your wife to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal against her employer. Any such claim must be brought in the tribunal within three months of the date of termination of employment.

    Secondly, you also mention redundancy but I understand that your wife has not been selected for redundancy or included in any selection pool. It would be possible for your wife to argue that her pre-adoption leave role is redundant if it has changed so significantly that the role, in effect, no longer exists. I would advise you as a first step that your wife should submit a detailed grievance to her employer, which should set out why she is unhappy with the proposed change in her terms. She should furthermore explain that she considers that the job she is being asked to do has changed so significantly that her previous pre-adoption leave role no longer exists (if this is indeed the case) and ask to be considered for voluntary redundancy on the back of this.

    If you require further advice, please contact Tracey Guest on 0161 975 3823.

  • Anonymous says:

    I returned back after maternity and my supervisor is being horrible to me.

    Editor: Can you write to us via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box with further details and one of our employment lawyers can advise you.

  • Anonymous says:

    While on maternity leave I was informed that due to some restructuring, my department was being merged with another and all members of my department were at risk as redundancy.
    I have now returned to work and after consulatations , we were asked to apply for some positions that have become vacant within the department. I applied for the only two that were suitable for me considering childcare as I now work part-time.
    I have now been told that I was not successful and will be considered for redundancy when the new system starts in december. It is worth mentioning that of all of us at my project, I am the only one that was not redeployed.
    One of the positions I applied for happens to be a newly created position and is very similar to my current one but none of us was 'good enough' so I am now left with nothing suitable.This position, in addition to others, will now be advertised externally.
    During the interview for the other position my inability to work fulltime was mentioned as I clearly stated due to childcare responsibilities I can only work 3 week days.
    I can only presume that I have not been offered any of the jobs because of my inflexibility following my maternity leave. and as such might be a case of sex discrimination.
    Could you please advise what my rights are and if I have indeed been treated fairly in this case?

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says this is possible sex discrimination and advises you to take this up in a grievance to the company and if it is not resolved consider an employment tribunal claim.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have just started a job as a bus driver with a reputable bus tour company on the 24 June, 2013, when I found out that I was pregnant. My contract with the company is a full-time seasonal contract that will end on 29 November 2013, not to mention that I was still on a 6 month probationary period. If lucky enough to pass my 6 month probation, then they will let me know if I am due to come back for the next season which is around Feb-March 2014. It will all depend on whether I pass my probation period. Since starting, I had 2 accidents whilst driving the bus, but they were only minor ones, being both of them damaging the other vehicle's mirror. The first one was investigated and was reported as my fault. The second one was with a car, but was reported as not my fault. Anyway, having said that, I know that the 2 absences that were filed on my record were the main thing that will get me turned down for the permanent job. Aside from those issues, my record as an employee is as far as I know excellent.
    After telling my employer that I was pregnant, I became unwell due to pregnancy-related illness and will be off sick from 19th September up to the time my maternity leave starts which is on the 27th October 2013.
    My main worry is will my employer fail my probation period because of the contents of my employee record?

    Editor: They cannot sack you for being pregnant as this would constitute discrimination, but they could give other reasons why you might fail your probationary period. You would need to be able to prove that any refusal to grant you a permanent job was due to your pregnancy, however.

  • Anonymous says:

    Whilst on maternity leave (I had planned to take the full 52 weeks) my department has been moved out into a separate company. There has been an organisational restructure and a job matching process has been undertaken where all employees current job descriptions were matched against jobs in the new structure. The three outcomes of the process were either 1) a direct match and job offered 2) a similar match and invitation to interview for that job or 3) not matched and invited to review remaining posts and apply. My post has been classed as a similar match and I have been invited for interview – however, it has been confirmed that I would be the only person who would be interviewed for the post. I still have another 2 months of maternity leave left. Can my employers force me to interview for a post which is a similar role to one I was doing (and now no longer exists) where I am the only candidate or should they automatically provide me with a job on similar t&c’s?

    Editor: Our employment lawyer Sejal Raja says: In light of the fact that you are still on maternity leave, you should be slotted in to the role that is of similar nature, particularly as you are the only person who is interviewing for it.& This is in line with Section 10(2) of the Maternity and Paternity Leave Regulations which provides that where there is a suitable alternative vacancy, the employee is entitled to be offered alternative employment.

  • Anonymous says:

    I had been doing part time as I came back from maternity for certain days (2 weekdays and 1 sun). Now the company had gone through streamlining the management team and they are asking for more flexibility on fri and sat. I have given them more flexibility as I could have, but Sat been an issue due to childcare and my partner goes to work. Can the company change the contract due to its needs and is it fair ?

    Editor: It cannot change the contract without consultation with you first. However, I am not clear if you have been doing the new shift already which could be taken as you having accepted the new hours and then it would be more difficult to negotiate. Can you write into our legal experts via our advice and support/Q & A page box with more details?

  • Anonymous says:

    My partner is on mat leave ( about 16 weeks in) and her position is being made redundant. She was informed there is a role which she could apply for and be assessed on to see if she is suitable. Unaware of the law she attended an assesment against other people who were currently in the business and not on mat leave and scored poorly.  Consequently the job was given to someone else (who didn't had the same skills, previous experience or performance record as my partner) but did score well on the assesment day. Would we be right is assuming this was discriminatory?

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: Potentially your partner may have a claim. I would quickly put in a grievance about the situation and hope that it is dealt the favourably very quickly. If it is not and the company drag their feet on a response, then she should consider putting in a tribunal claim for discrimination if she believes it was because of the pregnancy. Within the tribunal process she can ask for disclosure of the recruitment paperwork which hopefully will prove her case. She should be mindful to lodge a claim three months less one day from the date the assessment took place and definitely before 29 July this year when claimant employment tribunal fees are brought in where she will have to pay a fee to lodge her claim then another fee for a hearing.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm currently in my 10th month of maternity leave and have just received a letter saying that my employment status is at risk as my current post is not remaining within the new structure. I've been asked to attend a consultation meeting where I will be told the new structure, discuss terms of redeployment (if available) and a redundancy package will be offered. If I am redeployed will this be on the same pay scale, hours and terms and conditions of my current contract? What questions should I be asking them? Should I be going in for a meeting whilst I'm still on maternity leave? Any advice would be helpful.

    Editor: It is definitely in your interests to attend the meeting. Are you the only person whose job is at risk? Do you believe this is for legitimate reasons or because you are on maternity leave, which is illegal? You should be offered a suitable alternative job which would be similar to the one you are doing now – see https://www.gov.uk/redundant-your-rights/overview

     

  • Anonymous says:

    I've recently returned to work after 22 weeks maternity leave. After being off for around 6 weeks I was told that my department was undergoing a restructure, my job would no longer exist and that existing staff (who were not being made redundant) were being moved to fill vacancies within another department. I haven't received any formal/written communication of this move and have since found out on my return that I am actually the only one from my old team who has been placed within a different role, the others are carrying out the same roles they did before just in the new department. My terms and conditions have not changed, but the work has. Should I have been consulted about which role I wanted to return in and should I have received a new contract or some form of written communication?

    Editor: Could you submit this question via the Advice & Support/Q  & A page box so that our experts can get back to you directly if they have follow-up questions? You should certainly have been consulted.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been put at risk and 90 day consultation during maternity and have since returned during this consultation period. Basically my role is one of two in a reduced selection pool and the other employee has been offered the role. What are my rights?

    Editor: You would need to give more information, for instance, do you feel that you did not get the job due to having been on maternity leave, ie that you were discriminated against? For basic rights concerning redundancy and maternity leave, see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/399271/maternity-and-redundancy-your-rights.thtml. If you want more information, you would need to email us via the Advice and Support/Q and A page box so we have your email and can respond directly if we need further information.

  • Anonymous says:

    This type of thing happens more often than people realise. I work for a large Local Authority and within 3 weeks of returning to my job after maternity (8 months long), my department underwent a ‘Service Review’ and my job was the only one ‘deleted’. Another post was available for me within my department, but my managers told me it was a typo on the organisational chart. I was told to go to another office to literally pull staples out of paper. When I then broke and took a huge demotion on pay protected salary, a few weeks later the mysterious post was identified as a vacant post which had become a newly deleted post and hailed as a department saving!!! At the time, O was so upset by the injustice that I decided to ‘lick my wounds’ and also because of the cost and the likely unfavourable outcome of a tribunal.


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