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Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, answers the question:

“What are my rights if I’m on maternity leave and have been told that my position may be made redundant?”

If you are currently on maternity leave (whether ordinary maternity leave or additional maternity leave) and have been told that your position may be made redundant, then you have the following rights:

  1. You are entitled to be offered any suitable alternative vacancy that is available at your employer (without having to go through a competitive interview process)
  2. If you are offered a suitable alternative vacancy then the work must be suitable and appropriate for you, and the capacity, place of employment, and other conditions must not be substantially less favourable than your previous position

Entitlement to be offered suitable alternative vacancies

If, while you are on maternity leave, you are told that you may be made redundant and it is not practicable for your employer to continue to employ you (for the reason of redundancy), you’re entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy (if available) – this new job should start immediately after your current contract ends. You should be given priority for any suitable alternative vacancies over any member of staff who is not on maternity leave; to put it another way, if another member of staff who is not on maternity leave is offered a vacancy which is suitable for you, this would constitute discrimination.

Case law examples

Below are a few examples of case that involved employees on maternity leave being made redundant:

  • Sefton Borough Council v Wainwright – employee on maternity leave discriminated against by not being given priority for suitable alternative vacancy at employer – read more (see this link for the case transcript on Bailii)
  • Interserve FM Ltd v Tuleikyte – employee on maternity leave was not discriminated against by being made redundant (see this link for the case transcript on Bailii)
  • Johal v Commission for Equality and Human Rights – employee on maternity leave was not discriminated against when she was made redundant, as the “reason why” she was made redundant was an administrative oversight (see this link for the case transcript on Bailii)

Practical tips for employees on maternity leave who have been told that they may be made redundant

  • If you’re told that you may be made redundant then ask your employer:
    • What is the rationale for redundancies?
    • Who’s being made redundant, what’s the process that is being followed, and what can I expect to happen?
    • Why isn’t it practicable to continue to employ me in my current position?
    • Do you have any suitable alternative vacancies for me at the moment (both at your employer and at any group company)?
    • Who else has been redeployed at the organisation and into what roles?

Our solicitors’ views

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented: “If you’re on maternity leave and you’re told that you may be made redundant then you’re entitled to ‘special protection’ against dismissal – you are, for example, entitled to be prioritised for any suitable alternative vacancy. Your employer must therefore be careful to ensure that your specific circumstances are taken into consideration during the redundancy process.”

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

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    Testimonials

    4.78 Average

    262 Reviews

    Anonymous

    I found the advice I was given by Redmans Solicitors to be clear and useful and found the solicitor on my case to be both knowledgeable and approachable.

    Posted 3 days ago

    Karen T

    Great service. Thank you.

    Posted 5 days ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service from Chris & Mel Chin. The best outcome was achieved from the redundancy process. They were extremely thorough, listened carefully and acted swiftly on my behalf. I highly recommend Redmans Solicitors

    Posted 6 days ago

    Shanine M

    Excellent service, thank you so much!

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    I found Caroline and Chris very Helpful and provided excellent service. Caroline especially provided great legal advice and made me feel at ease with the whole process. I would highly recommend them. Thank you!

    Posted 1 week ago

    Gayle B

    Excellent company very professional would definitely recommend

    Posted 1 week ago

    Alex K

    Redmans provided an excellent service, timely and effective. Will definitely recommend.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Great job done on my employment law

    Posted 1 week ago

    Dominica S

    Caroline & Chris were very prompt and efficient.Very happy with the service and will definitely recommend Redmans Solicitor to everyone !

    Posted 1 week ago

    Sandra K

    If you are looking for a group of solicitors who are Professional, Caring and on point, then look no futher than Redmans. I was literally hand held through out my case. Can not find fault with this company, very happy with the result and the service i received. Would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    I found dealing with Redmans a pleasure. I got to speak to someone quickly, the advice was profferred promplty and the service was not 'pushy'. In addition, the administration was excellent. What more could you ask for?

    Posted 1 week ago

    ALISDAIR L

    Redmans did a brilliant job regarding my redundancy agreement. I miss read an extra charge which wasnt the case so doing a new review to clarify. I would recommend Redmans for any employment law issues you may have.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Christos G

    Great legal advice and quick correspondence. Very supportive and helpful through the entire process. Thank you Redmans!

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Chris Hadrill advised me on a redundancy settlement agreement. He was very responsive, easy to deal with and gave me good advice at a stressful time.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Zara M

    Rana at Redmans gave me support and confidence I needed to ensure a wrong, was put right. I couldn’t recommend enough.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Stuart T

    Chris provided an excellent service, he was efficient and friendly and I had no doubt when recommending him to my colleagues

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service, prompt responses. Chris Hadrill provided excellent and efficient service.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Jane M

    Wonderful solicitors who really listen to you and who are there to offer expert legal advice but they also have a personal touch and you really feel supported both from a legal aspect but also from a personal aspect. They really listen .

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    They dealt with my case professional and swiftly. The advise was helpful and enabled me to make the right decisions in my case.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    I have received a great legal advice from Redmans on a very short notice. I’d highly recommend them.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Michael D

    Excellent, efficient advice - the whole matter was concluded with minimum fuss and an excellent outcome.

    Posted 2 weeks ago