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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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    273 Reviews

    Mark M

    I found Redmans very easy to work with. Mel was very responsive, her advice led to an improved settlement. . Recommended.!

    Posted 2 days ago

    Anonymous

    Fantastic service. I would recommend Redmans to anyone who needed a Solicitor. The communication was second to none and consistent clear guidance was given.

    Posted 4 days ago

    Anonymous

    Everyone I dealt with at Redmans were professional, empathetic & always responded promptly and helped make the transition as smooth & efficient as possible for me. If you need legal advice, don’t hesitate & contact the team.

    Posted 6 days ago

    Anonymous

    Sacha was incredibly helpful and professional. Timely and accurate advice at a time I most needed it. I was extremely impressed and grateful.

    Posted 6 days ago

    Sue W

    The people at Redmans talk to you with respect and make you feel like they take your situation personal. They clearly care and are extremely professional. I have recommended Redmans to many people.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors were consistently prompt, efficient and professional from the start of my reaching out to them for support in relation to contentious negotiations of an employment matter that continued for almost two months resulting in a positive settlement agreement. Chris Hadrill was diligent, thorough, empathetic and objective in his advice and guidance, showing deep and broad knowledge of the law and legal processes plus extensive practical experience in handling complex matters, resulting in clear and pragmatic advice in ambiguous circumstances that resulted in a very good outcome. I fully recommend Chris Hadrill and Redmans Solicitors! I have made this review anonymous purely because of the confidentiality obligations in the settlement agreement concluded.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Michelle W

    Redmans solicitors provided legal support and advice for a settlement agreement. Excellent customer service, very professional. The senior associate solicitor kept me updated throughout the process, showed empathy and the agreement was signed-off / completed within the agreed timeline.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mark W

    Redmans Solicitors were extremely professional and helpful! Chris Hadrill handled my case and was an amazing help! His guidance, advice and understanding to my redundancy settlement were always clear, concise and very helpful and I am very grateful to him, and glad I found Redmans to help with my settlement. I highly recommend them!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Alison M

    Very happy with the advice I received

    Posted 2 months ago

    Margaret A

    I found everything about the company to be extremely professional and efficient. During my initial contact with Chris, he listened well and was reassuring, so I felt confident that my case would be well handled. Caroline was excellent at explaining all the legal points and answering my questions, as well as being very supportive and understanding throughout the process. I would definitely recommend this company.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Sanja K

    Very efficient and professional service.

    Posted 2 months ago

    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 2 months ago

    Karen T

    Great service. Thank you.

    Posted 2 months 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 2 months ago

    Shanine M

    Excellent service, thank you so much!

    Posted 2 months 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 2 months ago

    Gayle B

    Excellent company very professional would definitely recommend

    Posted 2 months ago

    Alex K

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

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Great job done on my employment law

    Posted 2 months ago

    Dominica S

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

    Posted 2 months 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 2 months ago