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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47914
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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we have an employee who is currently pregnant, and is off work

Resolved Question:

we have an employee who is currently pregnant, and is off work with "work related stress" -before she went on sick leave she made verbal allegations of sexual harassment at work occurring 18 months to 2 years ago - we have wrote to her requesting that she write to us with her grievance (as per the company grievance procedure) and to date (3 weeks after the allegations) we have heard nothing. Can she remain on "work related stress" sick leave until 4 weeks before the baby is due without informing us of her grievance in writing, and therefore not allowing us to resolve the issue ? I do understand that 4 weeks before the baby is due, if she is still on sick leave, we can request that she take maternity leave.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me know how long she has worked there.

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

She has been employed by us since May 2011, and the verbal allegations that she made to the General Manager, was of bottom slaping and verbal flirting - to complicate the issue, the allegations were against a co-director, who is also my husband, therefore I am really trying to stay impartial and need to make sure that I do everything correctly.

Ben Jones :

Just because someone is off sick does not mean that they have to inform you of their grievances at the same time. Often employees may be off with work related stress and require time off from all of this and would not be in a position to deal with any formal grievance material at this stage. This may be particularly true if the employee is also pregnant and may have other urgent matters to deal with. So they can remain off work for as long as necessary, as long as they have followed the required procedure when doing so and have supplied any required evidence to backup the reasons they are ff sick for (e.g. a doctor's note).


 


In terms of her maternity leave start, you cannot force her to start it early just because she is off sick. If she is absent from work "wholly or partly because of pregnancy" after the beginning of the fourth week before the baby is due, her maternity leave begins automatically on the day after the first day of her absence. However, the reasons for her absence must be as described above.


 

Customer:

Thank You - your explanation of what we should and shouldn't do is very clear & I now know that I was right to contact you for advice - I was informed by another source that I should request her starting her maternity leave 4 weeks before then baby was due if she was still on sick leave, so I am really pleased that you have cleared that issue, as I could have done the wrong thing at that time without your advice.

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