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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 68928
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I returned back to work after having 10months off maternity

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Hello I returned back to work after having 10months off maternity leave. I'm contracted to 13 hours a week and they want to cut my hours down to 11.5 hours a week and they want me to do the bakery even tho I don't have a good hygiene certificate? Are they legally allowed to drop my hours?
Assistant: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No
Assistant: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Employee and no union
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No thank you

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

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Okay thank you

What is your actual job title and why does your employer want you to reduce your hours and work in the bakery? Also, how long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I work in budgens supermarket as a retail assistance. I've been there for nearly 2 years including 10months away for maternity leave and everybodys hours have been reduced due to low money intake that budgens make
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I don't have a good hygiene certificate but I've done 2 shifts in the bakery already
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
They want me to sign a letter saying I agree to my reduced hours which I'm not happy to do so

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. 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 terms of taking the matter further, what options are available would depend on what has happened so far:

· If the employment has not terminated but the employer is unreasonably denying the opportunity to return to the old job, that could amount to pregnancy and maternity discrimination

· If an alternative job has been offered, which is unsuitable, the employee can resign and make a claim for constructive dismissal and/or sex discrimination

Each of the above claims will be made in the employment tribunal and the remedy would be compensation for loss of earnings and/or injury to feelings.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
would I be better off to sign the letter regarding my reduced hours even tho I'm not happy with it or fighting the case? I have a meeting with the managing director on Thursday and he said he wants it in writing why I'm not happy with it as it's part of their nect procedure

Only sign it if you have tried everything else and are not willing to resign to pursue your rights. Does this clarify?

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