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I used to work full time and went on maternity leave in Spring 2018. I returned back to work after maternity leave earlier this year. Upon returning to work I now only work 2 days a week and when i asked to return the company said part time was fine, but I couldn’t do my previous job. However, I could do a role I have done before in my time working for the company. They gave me a new contract which was understandable as my working hours had changed. When I was working full time before and they changed my role they didn’t give me a new contract or put me on a probationary period. I just carried on working as normal. However, since returning from maternity leave and going part time I’ve now been put on a probationary period for 3 months. My manager who has only been with the company one year has reviewed my last three months [22 days] and told me I need to now go on another three months probationary period as they are not satisfied with the amount of sales I’ve made and customers I’ve brought in. My question is why am I on probation when I’ve been with the company for six years?
It does seem a little odd that they should place you on a probation period for a change in role, but I note that this does not appear to have been challenged at the time the new contract was issued.
Nevertheless, probation or not, it still remains that you have been employed for over two years and have the right not to be unfairly dismissed.
The issue, therefore, is what is the consequence of not passing the probation?
Whether you are on probation or not, if the business has concerns about your performance, they would be entitled to take action to review it and in effect this is what is being done, but I do think it is incorrect to regard it as a probation in the usual sense.
My advice would be for you to raise it formally with the business as to why you were placed on probation in the first place and what might be the consequence of the extended probation.
In terms of whether this might also be a detriment connected to your maternity leave, I would have thought this is unlikely. You are now beyond the protected period and, therefore, the reason for the imposition of the probation is likely to be seen to be a result of the new terms and not connected to your maternity leave.