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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50182
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Hi! I was wondering how would you dismiss a pregnant woman

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Hi! I was wondering how would you dismiss a pregnant woman who has worked for the company part-time since may 2014 and is on 6 months probationary period (from may 2014 until End of November 2014) and in the contract it says that either party has to give 3 months prior notice or payment of the 3 months salary in lieu of notice? (the reason of dismissal is the poor performance and reorganization of the company structure and not the pregnancy itself). How can you terminate the employment now without paying 3 months salary if her probationary period should end in 1 month (but as per agreement you need to give 3 months notice, how do you go about it in that case, do you extend the probationary period and serve the 3 months notice or it's possible to reduce the notice period somehow and also is she entitled to any maternity cover benefits if they are not mentioned in the employment agreement?) Thank you!
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.firstly can you tell me have you given warning's about her performance.


Hi Ben!


I have been commenting on the performance that I thought was insufficient at the time, yes

Ben Jones :

ok thank you for all of the information.leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.


Ok, appreciate it!


Just on a side note, it's regarding Singapore legislation which has some similarities with UK Law and I can see that you specialize in UK Employment Law but if you have any knowledge of how it's done in Singapore that would be great!

Ben Jones :

Thanks for your patience. Unfortunately I have no knowledge on Singaporean law and we have no one here that could help you either. So my answer will have to be based purely on UK law. If that is ok with you then please let me know and I will proceed, thanks

Customer: Hi! It's alright, please give me the most detailed answer based on UK Law
Ben Jones :

Hi, the starting point is that as this person has only been employed by you for less than 2 years they will not be protected against unfair dismissal, which means that they can be dismissed for more or less any reason as long as it is not linked to any discriminatory reasons. A discriminatory reason will include her pregnancy so to act legally you must ensure that there is nothing that links the reasons for dismissal to her pregnancy, whether directly or indirectly. As long as you can show that it was her performance that was poor and the reason for her dismissal, assuming that she did not perform poorly due to anything linked to her pregnancy, then you can use that as a reason for dismissal. You are advised to clearly state these reasons when you communicate her dismissal to ensure she is clear that her pregnancy had nothing to do with your decision.

In terms of the mechanics of terminating her employment, under contract she is entitled to 3 months’ notice, regardless of whether she is on probation or not. So at this stage, even if she has not yet finished her probation, she will still be entitled to 3 months’ notice. As there is a payment in lieu of notice clause in the contract you do not have to allow her to work her full 3 months; notice and can instead pay her the equivalent of 3 months’ pay and terminate her employment with immediate effect. You will also have to pay her for any accrued holidays which she has not yet taken.

In terms of maternity pay, she would only be entitled to these if she was employed for at least 26 weeks by the time she is 15 weeks before her due date. As she will be dismissed before she has reached 26 weeks of employment she would not be entitled to any maternity benefits.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer: Thank you Ben, that clarifies the question for me!
Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

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