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Thanks for your patience. According to Reg. 18 of The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, an employee who takes Additional Maternity Leave (i.e. between 6-12 months off) is entitled “to return to the job in which she was employed before her absence, or, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to permit her to return to that job, to another job which is both suitable for her and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances.”
This means that there is no guarantee of a return to the job you performed before going on maternity leave. If the employer can show that it is not reasonably practicable to allow you to return to that job, they need to find you something that is both suitable and appropriate for you to do instead.
If this develops into a redundancy situation, an employer has a duty to offer those employees at risk any suitable alternative employment (“SAE”) that may exist at the time. The objective is to keep the employee in a job rather than make them redundant. Therefore, if an employee accepts an offer of SAE, their employment will continue in the new position and they would lose their entitlement to a redundancy payment.
If the offer is considered unsuitable and the employee refuses it, they will be made redundant and still receive redundancy pay. However, if the offer was suitable and the employee unreasonably refuses it, they would effectively be resigning and will lose their entitlement to redundancy pay.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on suitable alternatives and what factors are considered when assessing the suitability of such offers, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Hi there, the most common factors that would make an offer unsuitable are:
· Job content/status – drop in status, substantial changes in duties, etc.
· Pay and other benefits – significant drop in earnings/benefits (e.g. basic pay, bonuses, overtime, sick pay, holidays)
· Working hours – change in shift pattern, removal of overtime, extension/reduction of working hours
· Change of workplace – new location making it unreasonable to travel to the new place of work
· Job prospects – going from permanent to temporary work, becoming self-employed or being employed on a fixed-term contract.
Where an offer of alternative employment has been made and its terms and conditions are different to the employee's current terms, they have the right to a 4-week trial period. If during the trial period they decide that the job is not suitable they should tell their employer straight away. This will not affect their employment rights, including the right to receive statutory redundancy pay.
So the main questions for you to ask are what the current availabilities are, if they are unsuitable what could they change to make them suitable and discuss any trial periods as well if you are keen to trial the jobs.
An employer has a duty to consult with employees once a redundancy situation arises. So there is a requirement to inform you and to start a consultation process when the is a redundancy. In terms of starting in a new position that is why there is a trial period there if you are unsure about it, so you can spend 4 weeks trialling the job before deciding whether it is suitable and wish to take it up permanently.
your interpretation is on the whole correct. The only thing I would say is that this move for a couple of months should only be treated as a temporary one and you need to advise the employer that you are not accepting it as a permanent move and at the end of it you would expect to either be offered a suitable alternative job or be made redundant.