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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47907
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My maternity leave has now come to an end and I am in annual

Customer Question

My maternity leave has now come to an end and I am in annual leave for another month. However my boss called me today that they have now recruited for my mat leave and someone will be starting shortly for y months and we will have to work side by side. This doesn't sound right to me. Can they do this?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

Will you still be able to do your normal job or will your hours/responsibility be reduced?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hours and pay remain the same but we will be sharing my old workload. I never struggled with this previously. It just seem strange tgatvsoneone can start my mat leave cover 4 weeks before I return and I'm no longer on mat leave!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

How long were you away for?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
My mat leave began September 19th 2016 and ended July 10 2017. I am on annual leave until August 21st
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

Thank you. 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 and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances.”

This means that there is no guarantee of a return to the job the employee performed before going on maternity leave. If the employer can show that it is not reasonably practicable to allow a return to that job, they need to find something that is both suitable and appropriate for the employee to do instead.

A common issue that arises is whether the reason for not being reasonably practicable to allow the employee to return to her old job is relevant and justifiable. Sadly there is very little case law that covers that and there are only a handful of lower tribunal decisions that have examined this. For example, formal reorganisations of the business can amount to a justifiable reason, whereas a simple preference over someone providing maternity cover will not suffice. In your case you have not been replaced per se, but you will be sharing your duties with someone else. Whilst you have no guarantee of doing your old job, the employer may struggle to justify why it is no longer reasonable or practicable to allow you to return to it because they have employed someone to start a maternity cover position when you are returning from maternity, which makes no sense whatsoever. Even if this person had started the cover when you left, the employer should have planned ahead and only given them a fixed term contract for the duration of the leave you were taking.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss your options on taking this further. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a quick second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

Hello, not sure if you are having trouble seeing my posts? Do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the response to your query? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Sorry. I'm awaiting my team leader responding to my email. I will notify you if following this I require any further assistance.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

No problem, thanks