I am currently 32 weeks pregnant and head of dance at a secondary school. My headmaster has decided to close the department next year. I was originally offered a settlement figure or told formal redundancy would follow for December 2015. I met with the head again and explained I thought this would be unfair due to the fact someone was doing my job until the end of the next school year. He has agreed and now intends to make me redundant as of that date. I have said I will return from maternity in July which means I will no longer be on maternity leave, although I will when the actual notice is served. Where do I stand in regard to the requirement for the employer to find me a suitable alternative position over the next year? What about if I offered to switch the subject I teach to one I was happy with and offered to drop my middle management position and salary and become a regular class teacher?
I understand that you are currently Head of Dance at a secondary school and have been informed of the decision to close the department as of September 2016. Your role is therefore at risk of redundancy. You are currently pregnant and would be due back from maternity leave in July 2016.
If you are identified as ‘at risk’ of redundancy whilst on maternity leave your employer should adjust the selection criteria or procedure to ensure that you are not put at a disadvantage. If you are made redundant during your maternity leave then your employer must offer you any suitable alternative role on terms and conditions which are not substantially less favourable than your previous post. This additional protection would cease to exist once you return from your leave.
On a practical level it would therefore be better for you if the role was made redundant in December 2015 as opposed to August 2016 as the obligation to offer you a suitable alternative role would be relevant.
If you are happy to switch to a different subject then this is certainly something to raise as part of your consultation in which you and the school should look at alternatives to making your role redundant. If the school agreed during your maternity leave to switch your subject then they would have to do so on terms and conditions which are not substantially less favourable than your current post.
I hope this assists, but if you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me on [email protected] or 0113 200 9784.