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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

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Anonymous

efficient, responsive and effective

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Andrew B

Very good service

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Anonymous

Excellent service, compassionate and a good outcome

Posted 1 day ago

Anonymous

I had an employment issue which required legal advice. Chris was very supportive and knowledgeable, resulting in an optimum resolution in my favour. Would definitely recommend.

Posted 1 week ago

David M

Very professional and first-rate advice. I would use again. With thanks,

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Anonymous

Got the job done swiftly without going too much in to detail.

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Derek W

Redmans dealt with my case very efficiently and I was happy with the outcome.

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Anonymous

Timely professional advice!

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Anonymous

Very good service

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

I was in contact with Chris and then worked with Caroline on an employment matter. I was very pleased with the service and professionalism throughout, and came away with satisfied with the outcome. Would happily recommend.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Nikki

Received advice re employment law. Chris was very helpful and advised accordingly. Would happily recommend them and if ever I need help again, will not think twice before using them.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Samantha K

Absolutely brilliant thank you. Caroline Lewis is a legend

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The legal advice was clear and helpful.

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Davinder P

Good Service

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Adrian V

I was using Redmans services for a Settlement Agreement. Very quick and professional service. The outcome was favourable and I was very pleased with the amendments and results. Pretty glad to recommend them for any type of legal advice.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very responsive, efficient, clear and supportive. Thank you! Highly recommend.

Posted 2 months ago

Tiago S

Chris was always prompt to help me with legal matters that are beyond my comprehension and very helpful leasing with my former employer. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors to everyone who needs help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional advice tailored to what was needed. Thanks for your help Chris Hadrill and team.

Posted 2 months ago

Peter S

Really pleased with the outcome and the advice I had from Chris and Sacha.

Posted 2 months ago

Harika A

Redmans solicitor's helped me with my settlement agreement, Chris has been very helpful throughout the process.He was very prompt in his responses and made my settlement look simple.Special thanks to Caroline for her efficient communication, thorough explaination of contract terminology and negotiations.I highly reccommend Redmans solicitors for anyone seeking employment related legal help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Good and quick service

Posted 2 months ago