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I am returning from maternity leave and a restructuring has been announced by my organisation, putting me at risk of redundancy. About six other people are in the same situation, but the new organisation has multiple new roles open for which there will be interviews. My organisation is saying that I can’t compete for the roles as that is not allowed by maternity regulations and I will be given a role which is now at a level below where I was reporting in the organisation and will have a smaller team and budget to manage. Salary and grade etc remain the same. I feel I am being pushed back in my career and the whole matter seems to hinge on what can be considered equivalent. Is there a way to be clear during the consultation conversations on how equivalency is assessed given there are roles available that are equivalent to my previous role?
The law states: “A woman made redundant while on maternity leave must be offered any suitable alternative vacancy if you have one. She doesn’t need to apply for it.”
It maybe that the company are thinking the alternative job must be suitable and appropriate for you in the circumstances. To decide if a job is suitable and appropriate the law says it must be no worse than your previous job with regard to location, terms, conditions and status and you have the capacity for the work.
So if the (other) vacancies are at a different location and pose additional childcare and travelling problems for you they may not be suitable.
They might be being over cautious or think they have offered what they regard as a suitable alternative without an interview process (as the law states) so may be thinking why would you want to interview for a role.
I would advise that you go back and say you feel there are better suitable alternative roles you would like to be considered for.
With a redundancy situation there is also an appeals process you could go through.