Restructure from part time to full time: ask the expert

I am currently on maternity leave with twins from a part-time role and have been advised that a restructure is taking place and that my role will no longer exist. However there are full-time roles available in my team that would match my skills. Are these roles deemed to be suitable alternative employement for me?  I assume not as I thought that I am entitled to return to work on the same terms (if not the same job) as the terms on which I went on leave – and returning full time would not seem suitable to me, or am I mixing up my employment law rights? Can I use the fact that they are full time and my contract is part time to justify that they are not suitable alternative employment and therefore be entitled to a redundancy package?

It is not clear as to whether you are on extended maternity leave (AML) or on ordinary maternity leave (OML).  However, since you are on maternity leave with twins I suspect you are on AML.  The fact that you refer to your right to return to the same terms (if not the same job) is consistent with AML.  The correct terminology would be that the right is to return to a position which is “appropriate” and “suitable” and not on substantially less favourable terms.  However, the redundancy situation complicates matters and clearly if they are not able to offer you an “appropriate” or “suitable” role as a result of the restructure then, if that is really genuine, they would need to offer you whatever alternatives they had available.

As to whether you can reasonably refuse the positions they are offering to you, it appears that you can since arguably none of the roles are “suitable alternative employment”.  You previously occupied a part time position and now you are being offered only full time positions which would be impossible to fulfil in your current circumstances.  So the short answer to your question is that you can reasonably refuse the roles being offered and expect that this should not jeopardise your redundancy package.

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