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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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Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

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W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.76 Average

204 Reviews

Anonymous

Excellent advice and customer service.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Aneet G

I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

Posted 1 month ago

Fern M

Very efficient and friendly

Posted 1 month ago

Neville S

A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

Posted 1 month ago

Daniel T

Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

Posted 1 month ago

Paul T

Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

Posted 1 month ago

Marina E

Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

Posted 1 month ago

Rosa B

Fabulous service all round.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

Posted 1 month ago

Alkhas K

Excellent service.

Posted 1 month ago

Mathias G

Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

Posted 2 months ago

Mark W

Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Posted 3 months ago

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I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

Posted 3 months ago

Wavenie B

They were very straight to the point, friendly and understanding people. I felt they had my best interest. They were easy to get hold of, replies were almost instant. 5/5 for customer service

Posted 3 months ago

Christina P

Caroline was fantastic to work with - extremely knowledgeable, supportive, thorough and honest. I definitely recommend Redmans!

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Very well done and fast support. Professional and reliable. Highly recommended!

Posted 3 months ago

Helene L

They were very knowledgable in the respected area in terms of change in law/regulations that is crucial for the clients who are seeking for legal arvice.

Posted 3 months ago

Sara R

Very helpful and wonderful advice

Posted 3 months ago

Marie D

very good service all digitalised

Posted 3 months ago