Possible relocation on return from maternity leave: ask the expert

I am looking to return to my work in a construction company after the additional maternity leave. Before I went on maternity leave I was moved to work in the office rather than on location. Now they are looking to place me on a project, but are unable to tell me the location at present. How far in advance of my return to work date would they have to tell me the location?  If it is too far away from home I would look to resign or argue it is unsuitable. My contract states that with regards to location “you will initially be located at A470, but your employment is such that you will be required to transfer from one project/site location to another as may be required by the Company from time to time”. It does not stipulate any time period that they must notify you by. I raised a greivance for my return to work last time regarding timeframes missed about holding meetings, notifying me of acceptance of my flexible working request, and various other issues. However, their argument for this was “due to structure changes within the business” which I am sure they will use again.

At the end of your maternity leave you have the right to return to your former job. I gather your job involves a lot of travel and that is not unusual for you to be asked to travel with very little notice.

If the move to work in the office was permanent then, of course, you have the right to return to that job, but from what you say it sounds like this job was given to you on a temporary basis to accommodate you in the later stages of pregnancy.

You could make a flexible working request and ask that you work no more than a certain distance from your office/home.  A refusal of such a request might be indirect sex discrimination, but not if your employer could show that the travelling was justified and a necessary part of the job.

Additionally, you may want to go into work and meet with your manager and discuss the practical issues you face and discuss whether other options may be open to you within the business.

I hope this helps.

Comments [1]

  • Anonymous says:

    Vanessa Wheeler is a solicitor at Setfords Solicitors. Please contact her for legal advice on business and commercial law, including franchise and contractual matters. She can also assist with employment matters.

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