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.