Pregnant and being made redundant: ask the expert

I am over 20 weeks pregnant and my company is considering redundancies. Will I get my maternity pay?

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), you have to be employed for at least part of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.  Your notice period will have an effect depending on how it’s treated by your company.  If the company pay you in lieu of notice (PILON), your termination date will be sooner and they will simply pay you a lump sum up front for your notice entitlement.  However, if the company are unable to pay you in lieu of notice or choose not to, this will extend your termination date by the period of notice that you are entitled to.

As long as you remain employed after the 15th week, you’re still entitled to maternity pay from the company even if your employment ends.  This will not mean that you remain an employee and the company will sometimes pay this in a lump sum.  You will be entitled to your notice pay on top of any SMP that you are due.  In relation to contractual maternity pay, it is usually a requirement that you have to return to work after maternity leave to keep the extra – you will need to check this specifically with your employer.  If your employer asks you to sign a compromise agreement, it’s usual practice for them to pay or contribute towards your costs of seeing a solicitor to discuss the redundancy and the compromise agreement.
Whether you are selected for redundancy depends on the selection criteria that the company adopts.  They will not necessarily use “Last In First Out” and are more likely to adopt a skills based criteria – the person with the lowest score will be the person who is made redundant.  However, if you’re doing a unique job, they don’t have to carry out a selection process.  If you do believe that you have been selected for redundancy due to pregnancy, you should always seek further legal advice as this could give rise to a claim for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.  I’m more than happy for you to telephone me if you need any further advice and Lemon&Co offers assistance on a no win no fee basis.
Answer by Helen Climance

This gives a general overview only, based on the information available at the time of writing. It cannot be relied upon in any particular case. Specific legal advice must always be considered to include consideration as to whether the legal position contained has changed since publication. For further information and advice, please contact Lemon&Co Solicitors on 01793 527141 or visit their website: www.lemon-co.co.uk.




Comments [4]

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm only 11 weeks pregnant and being made redundant in the next few weeks so I automatically lose my rights to SMP. I have been in full time employment with my current company for 3 and a half years. Will I be entitled to maternity allowance even if I'm unable to find another job after redundancy?

    Editor: To qualify for MA you need to have worked in an employed or self employed capacity for 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to your baby's due date and to have earned at least £30 in any 13 weeks in those 66 weeks. This does not have to be continuous nor for the same employer.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm being made redundant after my qualifying period. And they want to give me a lump sum for my smp which I'm objecting. I want it to be paid monthly or weekly. Is that possible by law?

    Editor: Payment of SMP as a lump sum has to be an agreement between employer and employee. It can be in the employer's interest as, if you have been made redundant, you will then no longer be on the payroll. The following link will help you with information on being paid SMP in a lump sum -http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/spmmanual/SPM21030.htm. Although payment in a lump sum is often convenient for your employer, in certain circumstances it can lead to overpayments of national insurance contributions for both you and your employer and overpayments or underpayments of the SMP itself. You can reclaim the tax, but it depends on individual circumstances. You’ll need to complete a tax repayment claim form (also called an R40) which, along with guidance notes, can be obtained from HMRC’s website at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk (and search for R40).

  • Anonymous says:

    There are about to be redundancies at my work place. I’m a senior manager and the maternity package is good – 6 months full pay. I don’t think I am any more at risk than anyone else, but I am feeling nervous. I will be 24+5 weeks pregnant on the day that redundancies get announced and so I will not be able to get another job at that stage as I will be obviously showing. I want to know if 1) Will I be entitled to my maternity pay even though I won’t quite be 25 weeks? 2) Will i only be entitled to SMP – a lot less than my full pay. If I’m not entiteld to anything, I am worried because I will not be able to pay my mortgage plusI won’t be able to get another job at that stage. Something that is supposed to be a time of joy (especially since we had years of infertility) is now becoming a somewhat anxious time. any advice appreciated.

    Editor: If your employer deliberately selects you for redundancy in order to avoid paying you SMP and you would have qualified if they had not done this, your employer automatically becomes liable to pay it. You must apply to your local HM Revenue and Customs office within six months of the first day on which your SMP was due. You will also have a claim for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination (see below) and a claim for unpaid wages for loss of SMP. However, if your redundancy was not related to the fact that you were about to qualify for SMP, you will not get SMP if you were made redundant before your qualifying week (the 15th week before your baby is due) but you may be able to claim Maternity Allowance from your local JobCentre Plus. Your right to contractual maternity pay usually stops as soon as you are made redundant. If you are made redundant before you are 29 weeks pregnant you will probably be entitled to contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). To qualify for JSA you must  have paid enough National Insurance contributions, be well enough to work and be willing and able to look for work. You will need to claim JSA at your local Jobcentre Plus and you will have to sign a ‘jobseekers agreement’. If you are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance, you should be paid these benefits instead of JSA once you are 29 weeks pregnant.  

  • Anonymous says:

    I am 26 weeks pregnant and am being made redundant. I have had a consultation with my boss who has informed me I will recieve redundancy pay and need to work my four weeks notice period. Since being made redundant i have been very ill and have been hospitilised for four days and have now been signed off by my doctor for suffering with anxiety from what happened to me; I have informed my employer and informed them i have a sick note and am going back weekly for reviews on my condition.
    I was just wondering if I would get paid seeing as it is my notice period and I have never had a sick note in all the time while working with them. I was just wondering how things stand with redundancy notice period as I do feel a bit let down by the family as since febuary they have continued to tell me different things about my job and what would be happening. Now they are offering me something which is for four hours every day when they know I already work somewhere else for two of the days so cannot and would not just give that up for less hours; so I declined their offer and did let them know that I was not happy about how they had gone about informing me as I had been asking for months and kept being told they would need me on the days Ido from 12-7; which I even sent an e-mail agreeing to. We spoke about it again in April and then in June and it was still the same 12-7 on the same days. Then a week before the summer holidays I was asked to attend a meeting and i could bring someone along. This is when I was told about risk of redundancy or working 4 hours every day. I am just really wondering how my notice period works if I am signed off ill and have been in hospital and am now struggling to return to work.
    Thank you for your help:-)

    Editor: Please send any requests for legal etc advice via the Advice and Support Q & A page box. We will then have your email and be able to respond and our experts may need extra follow-up information to better inform you.



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