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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71328
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My company is making head count redundancies and have cli

Customer Question

Hi my company is making head count redundancies and have cli clustered my job with another that has someone on maternity and they are claiming that that person is covered by maternity law however I have been made aware that the marternity law does not count if it is a head count reduction? Also I came off maternity early to help the business and now I am in this position with a three year old baby. I wanted to know if she is definityly covered on maternity and therefore I have no job and also if I am covered with a small baby after coming off maternity on 12th oct and also if I can go back on maternity? Thanks
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: just my HR manager but she is unaware. She believes they are covered and was unsure if I am covered also or if I can go back on maternity
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: employee. No i dont have a union
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: not at the moment i dont think
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

What maternity law in particular? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you today. Thanks

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I am unsure of exact details of the law but the company are claiming that those on maternity are automatically covered in redundancy even though they are just making head count cuts. They are clustering my role (Birmingham) with Northampton where the person is on maternity and therefore I have no job to apply for. I have a three month old and agreed to come back to the business early before covid happened. Can I go back on maternity at this point? Also a colleague mentioned I may still be covered as it is quite soon after I have come back from maternity. I came back on the 12th Oct
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Hi are you still there?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

There are certain protections about people on maternity and it will make no difference whether it is a headcount reduction or not.

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.

You can refer to the specific regulation here:

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

- The work to be done is both suitable and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances.

- 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.

Unfortunately you cannot go back on maternity leave – once you have returned and have made your decision you will be treated in the same way as someone who is not on maternity leave.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
am I protected as I came off maternity so recently?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

Hi there, no you will not be protected under the above rules as these end once you return. Even if you only returned recently you are no longer officially on maternity leave. I hope this clarifies things for you a little bit more.