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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My wife is about to start her nvq having been in her job for

Customer Question

My wife is about to start her nvq having been in her job 4 years now.
She is due to start the course in the next 4 weeks
Her employer has told her she must suspend the course whilst on maternity leave which is due to begin in April.
She feels more than capable of continuing the course during leave.
She feels discriminated against because of this. After all she's still employed by the company.
They have told her the course would be suspended until/if she returned to work.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones :

, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Why do they think she is not able to do the course whilst of on ML?

JACUSTOMER-davi296t- :

There is no justification in the email.

JACUSTOMER-davi296t- :

It just states the course will be suspended during her maternity leave, I'm not sure if it's a like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey as a step to ensure her return to work.

JACUSTOMER-davi296t- :

Is there any legislation that states she can or can't continue whilst on maternity leave.

JACUSTOMER-davi296t- :

My thoughts are if they say she can't continue it whilst on maternity leave does she have ground to push and say she's within her rights to carry on whilst on leave. She can use her keeping in touch days

Ben Jones :

Apologies slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues earlier on and could not get back on to the site. All seems to be resolved now so I can continue with my advice.

The law says that the contract of employment continues throughout a person’s maternity leave, unless either party expressly ends it. During statutory maternity leave, an employee "is entitled... to the benefit of the terms and conditions of employment which would have applied if she had not been absent", except terms as to remuneration. Therefore, all her other benefits will continue. Any attempt to provide otherwise in the contract would be void. So the first thing to consider is whether this course was something she was entitled to under contract as if it was, then she will have the right to continue with it.

Even if this was not a contractual benefit, she could claim that she is being treated detrimentally by reasons of her pregnancy/maternity leave and that can in itself amount to discrimination. If others, not on ML, have been allowed or would be allowed to continue such a course then preventing her from doing so just by reasons of her being on ML can be discriminatory. The employer has not provide any genuine reason as to why she should not be allowed to continue with it so she can raise this argument with them if needed.

In terms of taking this further she has a couple of options:

  • Initially she should consider raising a formal grievance over this to allow the employer to formally deal with this internally

  • If the grievance, and subsequent appeal do not resolve the matter, then she can either just make a claim in the employment tribunal, which she can make whilst still employed and on ML, or f she believes she can no longer work there as a result, she can also resign and claim constructive dismissal and discrimination.

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

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else in relation to this? Thanks