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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 66752
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I'm on Maternity - I was just informed by my manager I will

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I'm on Maternity - I was just informed by my manager I will be made redundant immediately upon my return from Maternity
JA: Have you discussed the termination with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: manager
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: an employee - do not belong to a union
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I had a meeting with my manager - and I have a written meeting summary from him

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. Firstly, I need to ask some initial questions to determine the legal position.

What would you like to ask about this and how long have you worked for this employer, all in all?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I joined the company 01/02/2018 - i left for maternity 31/12/2018 - still on maternity - return date planned 30/12/19

OK and what is your specific question please?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
can they do that? can they make me redundant during maternity? i feel at a disadvantage because i was not physically at work in the past year. other employees recruited to cover for my absence will remain - with the same skill set i have

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience. Employees who are on maternity leave have certain rights if a redundancy situation develops whilst they are away. The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 state that if "it is not practicable by reason of redundancy" for the employer to continue to employ an employee under her existing contract, the employee is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy (where one is available) to start immediately after her existing contract ends.” This also includes a vacancy with an associated employer.

If the employee is offered a new contract so that redundancy is avoided, then it must meet the following criteria:

{C}· The work to be done is both suitable and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances.

{C}· The capacity and place in which she is to be employed, and the other terms and conditions of her employment, are not substantially less favourable to her than if she had continued to be employed in her old job

When a redundancy situation exists, the employer has a general duty to try and offer those who are at risk of redundancy any suitable alternative employment that is available at the time. However, the Regulations effectively give employees who are on maternity leave priority over other employees when such offers are made. If a suitable alternative position existed, it should be offered to the employee on maternity leave first, before being offered to others. Failure to do so would breach the statutory regulations and can also amount to discrimination because of pregnancy and/or maternity. The affected employee can consider raising a formal grievance with the employee first, before considering whether to take formal legal action.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
thank you. If in recent months the employer recruited someone with the same set of skills to fill the void left by my absence, Do I take priority over keeping that particular employee?

Yes they should not be making you redundant just because someone else had to come in and cover for you whilst you were on maternity leave

Ben Jones and 4 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
even if that person was transferred to a different department than mine - still doing the same job with the same skill set, correct? what if they deny this person was recruited to fill the gap i left behind, how can we prove otherwise, if at all?

Well you cannot directly prove it, you just have to put the pieces together and try to show as best as you can that this was the most plausible reason for their actions