The lady originally started with us on a fixed term contract from 1st May until 31st October 2012 working full-time. She then came back in February 2013 on a part-time basis, 3 days per week and has been with us since then continuously, going on maternity leave at the end of January 2014. We have been paying her SMP every month since then. The issue we have is that the location she has been employed at is closing at the end of this June. We do have another location we could in theory employ her at, but it is fully staffed right now. I know I have to keep her job open, but are there exceptions to this rule or will I have to pay her redundancy or something if she wants to come back to work at the end of her maternity leave.
Thanks very much, this basically confirms what I suspected that my employee should be treated as if the role is disappearing while she was at work, so redundancy regs. and process would apply. She is due to come off maternity after the location has closed.
The location that is closing is in Kingston Upon Thames and the alternative location where I could theoretically offer her the same role is in Clapham. Her (train) journey to Clapham would be longer than to Kingston - about 30 minutes longer I think - so would this be seen legally as an appropriate substitution, do you think? I currently have the same role there filled by a fixed term contract currently terminating at the end of July, so I could negotiate a new fixed term contract to take that role up to the date when my maternity leave person is due to return.
One final question; if my employee on maternity leave decided in the end that she did not want to return to work, would that then absolve me from any obligation to pay her redundancy?