1 in 7 women made redundant after maternity leave. Plus, new guest blog from Maternity Action(166 Posts)
Some of you may have seen this report in The Guardian of survey findings suggesting that one in seven women is made redundant after taking maternity leave.
The findings also suggest that 40% of the 1000 women polled found that, when they returned from maternity leave, their jobs had changed - with half reporting a cut in hours or demotion.
Does this surprise you? Or not? Maybe it's happened to you? Do share your thoughts...
*Update from MNHQ: We've now got a guest blog from Maternity Action over on the Bloggers Network. Do have a look, and let us know what you think about that, too.
I would be one of those statistics, I would imagine. I was back for 6 weeks before being made redundant, and I had to go to court to get what I was owed.
I'm one of them.
Back for 8 weeks, told there were to be cuts and had to be interviewed for my own job.
Boss told me I wasn't successful at interview, so could either take voluntary redundancy and get an enhanced redundancy package, or wait and see and gt basic redundancy.
I wasnt strong enough to fight even though I know I was being discriminated against. And that was local government.
Before I announced my pregnancy i was offered a promotion. As soon I announced I was pregnant this was never mentioned again.
During maternity leave I was made redundant.
Yep I've been told I'm being made redundant and am on maternity leave
it happened to me twice! I was made redundant after having both my children
I'm not surprised, but only because of what I've read on here over the years. Still outraged though.
My job completely changed beyond recognition while I was on ML (I never got it back from my cover, even though she was still asking for advice). It was less senior, less challenging, everything. I wouldn't have been eligible for a pay rise for years.
That said, I know several women who took voluntary redundancy at the end of ML as a good way of extending their ML by months or even years, so I don't know what difference that makes to the statistics.
When VR was mentioned at my work I enquired as I was bored stiff and had been there long enough for a reasonable payout equivalent to quite some months of SMP. My manager pretty much laughed in my face.
When I was pregnant with dd2 I didn't get a promotion I applied for. When pregnant with dd3 I was acting up in a role which was not made permanent at that point. I was in the midst of my maternity leave when it was avilable and I applied. I didn't get it. A man got it.
But heh, I'm sure pregnancy had no bearing on either situation right?
My daughter is 6 next month. I'm still about £5000 in earnings behind the man who got that job at that point.
And at DH's old company, those on ML repeatedly dodged redundancy when the company halved in size over eighteen months, even when their entire department closed. The HR dept was awful, and cowardly, and terrified of tribunals so didn't seem to dare even consider them.
Not surprised in the least unfortunately. I took redundancy after my first maternity leave. Alas I cannot go into details for legal reasons...
It's so easy not to notice it happening in your workplace too because of compromise agreements, confidentiality clauses and that some people do choose not to go back after maternity leave.
I wonder how many of the 1 in 7 were true redundancies and how many were "made redundant" code for "treated abysmally and paid off with a compromise agreement"?
By way of contrast, I was actually promoted during my second maternity leave (different, and current, employer)
I wasn't made redundant, but my job on return from mat leave was nothing like what it had been before. The trainee who'd been taken on while I was away for 6 months had my office and all the best bits of my job, and they decided to keep her on after I returned. She got to chose which days she did and which days I, the fully qualified, been there for 4 years person, got to do. I was criticised for being tired, asked constantly if I felt I should resign, paid less than the less qualified male member of staff, expected to stay late even though I had a child to pick up. Etc, etc. It was so horrible that the second time I went on maternity leave, I became so stressed about the thought of returning to work that, even though we couldn't really afford it, my dh & I decided I should just resign and I didn't go back.
Horry women on maternity leave have additional legal protection from redundancy so it may well be that the HR department weren't useless.
Terrifying. Though I have to say, a company have recently headhunted me - I've openly said I'll be having a baby before too long & they seem fine with it?
I was made redundant on maternity leave. Shoved sideways into a basic admin job on protected salary as a way of.protecting higher jobs. Was told whilst nursing my two month old son in an "informal" meeting. God I wish I had fought it. Five years on and I'm still pissed they did it the way they did and when they did.
Mumvskids mine was local government too.
Happened to me. Back for three weeks, restructure revealed, told I was being made redundant in three months time. They had done everything by the board and given me the right amount of notice, waited til I returned to work so I wasn't still on ML and under any protection. Bastards.
Happened to me twice.
Both times I was made redundant whilst on mat leave from director level positions. Once in a merger, once through 'restructuring'. I think 'treated abysmally and paid off with a compromise agreement' just about covers it
I'd been back a year when I was made redundant so I probably wouldn't count on the statistics but it was mainly due to me being a part time worker since maternity leave.
Yep happened to me too. Though actually it worked in my favour as I'd already decided not to return to work when my ML ended, so my redundancy payment was a nice bonus!
Katie, they were definitely useless as proven in other proceedings but it is interesting to know you are supposed to have additional protection on ML.
Me too. Demoted due to restructure with pay protection, informed 2 days after giving birth. Then informed about further restructure 1 month after my return, where my job was erased or the option if being slotted in to a job which would have been a further demotion. So I took 'voluntary' redundancy rather than 2 demotions in less than a year.
Another made redundant whilst on maternity leave here - from Director level position.
I was NHS. Another woman was made redundant during her mat leave in the first restructure with zero offer of slotting in to any other role, even though it was obvious there were similar jobs to hers available.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I was made redundant after my maternity leave. It was either that or being transferred to the other end of the country.
I'm another statistic. I knew it was in the offing as soon as I informed them I was pregnant with DS2. On my return I was told my position was redundant, I was offered a much lesser position, or voluntary redundancy.
It made for a very stressful pregnancy as DP was also made redundant.
Me too. I was phoned at home when my baby was a few days old and asked whether I would like redundancy due to restructuring. I was friends with someone in HR who knew that I didn't want to go back. Worked in my favour as I left with a nice redundancy payment which was more generous given the slightly tricky situation of me being on maternity leave.
Not remotely surprised.
I got made redundant just before I went off on maternity leave.
After six months (to comply with redundancy law) they employed someone else in my job but gave him a different title to me.
I was a department manager.
I think it kind of happened to me.
I got my hours cut the first time when newly pregnant and then again when returning from maternity leave. Not a lot but enough to make a difference. I was only working the bare minimum I could afford and after 3 weeks back at work, my hours got cut even further. I went and got another job, am starting next week.
My boss even had the cheek to tell me upon handing in my notice, that I was being selfish by quitting.
While working one of my last shifts, I found out that EVERYONE had gotten a pay rise while I was on ML but I hadn't. What's worse though, now even the staff more junior than me (people I trained) were actually earning more than me. I made the decision there and then to not work my last week and enjoy some time off with DD before starting my new job.
I'm terribly disappointed and feel utterly unappreciated!
I find it shocking that there is such a negative attitude towards women in the UK taking their full entitlement of ML. Todays babies are the future of tomorrow and it will pay off for a society in the long run to have them well cared for by loving parents instead of being farmed out into nurseries at too early an age.
Dare I mention that Germany has 3 years ML per child and somehow businesses are still able to function. Women also aren't judged for taking up tis opportunity. It's a very different attitude over there, one that a lot of people over here can learn from. Weirdly enough their economy is not being ruined by all these lazy women producing children and then wanting time off while beng partly paid!
I was made redundant on maternity leave too
Everyone else was too though so surely that must be something that happens and messes the stats up a bit?
OhdearIquit if they gave everyone else a pay rise and not you, they directly broke the law.
You might want to go and see a solicitor for a free half-hour consultation.
I was only curious when I opened the thread. NOW I'm shocked. In 3 mat leaves this hasn't happened to me. If it had, I would have felt victimised and appallingly treated. I am aghast.
And another one to add to the stats. Made redundant while pregnant, after months of bullying and harassment by an awful sexist bastard of a boss. Fortunately, I wasn't planning on returning after ML, so took the money & thought it a lucky escape.
Happened to me. I sent a letter asking for reduced hours when I returned and was offered voluntary redundancy instead ...
It has happened to me twice. The first time, I was demoted after announcing my second pregnancy - supposedly temporarily - then officially when I was on maternity leave (I found out through an email to the team officially promoting the person who was supposed to be senior temporarily). When I returned part time I was refused a promotion on the basis that I worked part time (not in writing, of course,but this was the unofficial reason my line manager told me). They paid me off in the end but although the money was useful, I would rather have had the job because I really liked it and was good at it.
I have just lost another job because my employer changed their mind about wanting someone part time. Rather than discussing it with me they told me I now 'wasn't a good fit', ditched me and employed someone more junior (cheaper) on a full time basis.
What I have learned is that it is not possible to be a woman in a senior position and work part time. The only choice if you want that job is to spend very little time with your children.
My last boss was a working mother and I think keeps her career going because she doesn't really care about her kid. She is a shit mother, admitting she only really ever sees her child on a Saturday and she probably goes away without him at least one weekend a month. She won't go on holiday anywhere that doesn't have a kids' club, so she can ditch him and 'enjoy the holiday'. She has just had twin girls - maybe she will make a bit more effort to care for them than she does for her poor son. But I doubt it .
I was made redundant after returning from first maternity leave, been back about 9 months but was also 7 and half months pregnant with my second child.
We had a round of redundancies when I was pregnant the first time; in fact the letter which confirmed I still had a job arrived on my due date.
I returned part time, which obviously reduced the number of FTEs in the team and when I announced I was pregnant the second time my colleagues were relieved because with me gone (and therefore fewer in the team to spread the work around) their jobs were safer from redundancy.
There were 4 of us on mat leave when I was off - both times; and only 6 women in the team. Our boss declared he was never appointing a woman of child bearing age again. Tbf, I don't think he's recruited anyone since but it will be interesting to see his next appointments...
Not surprised by this at all. I was very definitely one of the 40% - demoted within a few months and then told there really wasnt a role within the division for me. I foolishly went to an employment lawyer who advised me to open a grievance as I was clearly going to be made redundant and it would improve my payout. I followed his advice, ended up £1000's out of pocket and was offered a job elsewhere internally which i really didnt want. The new boss then moaned about me for 2 years before I finally quit.
I was made redundant after returning from maternity leave, however I know this was not related.
Anecdotes aren't stats.
How many people get made redundant over their career? Then you can compare that figure with the one for women during/after mat leave.
I'm guessing about 20% of people get made officially redundant during their career? Wild guess, though.
I've sort of had the opposite - guaranteed job, but everyone works on short-term projects, so I've had to find a new role while on mat leave, or be dumped wherever HR decide on my return, which has twice been very stressful during ML but worked out ok in the end.
Another one here. I was made redundant while on ML about 14 years ago. Took them to tribunal, got a nice little pay out.
Notcitrus the government don't collect stats on this, they prefer a head in the sand policy.
I was expecting to move up a grade at work last year (had it in writing). After informing the company that I was pregnant I was instead made redundant so I didn't even make it to maternity leave.
Not me but a friend was. Went back for a meeting and she knew she was going to be made redundant as her job had been shuffled off to a different office and wasn't coming back. Luckily for her she had already decided to leave as she was pregnant again. She waited until after they'd agreed a redundancy payment before she told them.
I'm pretty sure they weren't being particularly legal by doing this even though her job had technically gone. I'd worked there until my son was born and my boss was doing everything she could to get rid of me when I announced my pregnancy. I just kept throwing the law in her face until she gave up.
I'm two of these statistics, but all is not as it would seem.
The first time I was rung while I was on mat leave to be told that my entire department was being closed down. I went back to help close it and look for another job in the sector (using my accrued holiday to take 2 days off each week), I was offered a job in head office overseas, which I declined, and they were really cooperative about holding my job until I was about to start a new one, at which point they coughed up my redundancy package.
The second time I'd been on a temp contract for 9 months. They kept me on until I went on mat leave - triggering my mat pay, and then gave me my P45 at the end of my 9 months paid benefits - because I'd been temping there was no actual redundancy. Arguably I was underpaid for accrued leave during mat leave, but I subsequently went back to work for them on a flexible part time basis so overall I'm not unhappy.
So some of these women are probably legitimately redundant, and some are probably happy to be made redundant - if you didn't plan to return anyway you'd be delighted to get a small redundancy payoff, and you'd probably find a way to let your HR department know that. But one in seven is a huge number so I'm sure many of them have been the victim of discrimination.
Yep -it happened to me.
6 weeks after DS (DC2) was born I had a phone call, followed by a meeting & a letter saying I was at risk. The department I was affiliated with was moving to another country.
They found me a position in another department but refused to match my existing T&C's (full time hours with later starts/later finish one week & early start/early finish the other on an alternate basis) so I had to take the redundancy package they were offering.
I should add that the whole sorry saga continued until 2 weeks AFTER my return to work - so all of my mat leave was under this cloud. Bastards.
The department I worked in is still in this country - they couldn't even get that right.
Happened to me, requested flexible working. Refused. After a (fight) discussion on the detail it was approved. Only people who left were those with recent ml or flexible requests pending or approved. All late 20s mid 30 region
Sorry to clarify, made redundant 3mths following approval of request.
I wasn't made redundant, I resigned, but as my job had been advertised before I told them whether I was coming back or not, it was a bit of a fait accompli really!
Second time round I was a freelancer and lost one of my biggest contracts while I was on maternity leave.
It's one of the biggest reasons I only have two children TBH.
my company was taken over, they never contacted me, and i just fell off their radar.
Also, to be fair so it's not just poor me so to speak, I was ordered to make 2 women redundant too before I finally went myself. One in ml, one recently announced. Pregnancy or ml offers zero protection to compromise agreements. Just no way to fight if u have service as u end up in such a bun fight and likely losing or only making the money being offered at tribunal. Extremely depressing. Relieved to go in end....
I am about to leave my job, 18 months after returning from mat leave. Effectively, it is possibly constructive dismissal. I was part time (at my request) after returning, with the understanding that I would move back to full time in 6 months when the new financial year started. That never happened, with the boss claiming they could not afford me to be full time- despite hiring consultants for 13 months on 3 times my salary - who was doing a smiliar job to me. My workload increased and increased until I was effectively working full time PLUS over time, and whenever I requested a review of my tasks was told that the organisation 'had done enough favours for me already' by allowing me to be part time.
Finally after a great deal of stress I resigned. OIddly enough, my line manager as soon as I resigned said they could not do without me and could I continue to work for them, but on a self employed and ad hoc consultancy basis.
Yep I'm one of the statistics. Without going into specifics I was excluded and excluded to a point where it would have been impossible to return.
Yes it did happen to me. Although to be fair it happened to other employees as well at the same time. Also after speaking to the 'boss' about it - he didn't have a clue who I was or that I'd only recently returned from maternity leave, so I don't think the events were related.
I wasn't made redundant as such, but they made my life so difficult after I tried to negotiate different hours, that I decided to resign This was despite the fact that before my pregnancy they would bend over backwards to change hours to suit my commute and to suit them. Their attitude changed drastically during my pregnancy.
I wasn't made redundant. However in retrospect I was pretty much pushed out of my job one way or another, with my maternity cover waiting in the wings to replace me.
I have been back at work less than 6 months. I recently applied for a job - which prior to my Maternity leave I did for over a year - I didnt even get an interview. I feel like I am stuck in my current role - with little or no chance of progression as I am a parent / at risk of needing more maternity leave.
If redundancy was an option I would possibly cut my losses and take it.
Yes that is how I feel. Not made redundant, but pushed out. My working situation has become untenable, and there is no effort to negotiate. I am paid for 21 hours a week- I am obliged to work much much more (well over 50 a few weeks ago, and certainly about 40 usually) and am told that the issue is not workload, but my lack of ability to manage my workload. .
DH is all for going to employment tribunals, but I just want shot of them.
I think the most awful thing about redundancy whilst on mat leave is that you get a whole extra raft of stress and worry from your employer at a time when you are at your most vulnerable.
When I got 'restructured' out when DS2 was born I had a sick baby, was unwell myself and my dad was dying. On top of this my employers HR manager came round to my house to tell me that they didnt want me back! It was a horrible time.
However, my grasp of employment law is now so good that when similar happened to a friend recently, I drafted a very clear letter to her employer outlining her rights and she got her job back
Was made redundant during maternity leave. It's a nightmare scenario, because if you want to go back to work PT you have NO chance of finding PT work in my field unless you have done a lengthy stint of FT work with a company. I ended up not going back to work because I had never intended FT work once i had kids. I have had to set up in business myself. Work is sporadic to say the least.
I asked to come back on reduced hours, they suggested I return as self employed consultant. They then gave me very, very reduced hours.
I'm another who wasn't made redundant but was instead effectively forced out in unpleasant circumstances.
Happened to me. I found out I was being made redundant from a coworker who had heard it from one of our clients. I was told two months later. Disgraceful behaviour. I didn't fight it, I was too knackered at the time.
I have a similar story.
I was demoted from my senior leadership position after having a miscarriage and complications following the erpc.
I've just returned after mat leave and instead of returning to my class, they're keeping my replacement on and I am in a vastly different role with no real 'base.'
I was told I was to get a promotion then announced I was pg with dc1 . Promotion was never mentioned again . I was barely out the building to start mat leave when my young single no-intention-of-having-kids colleague announced she had been promoted.
I am currently on mat leave with dc2 and I was treated appallingly by my boss during my pregnancy to the point I had to take sick leave and have meetings with my boss' boss and the hr Dept . Thankfully while on mat leave my boss has been "relocated" so I am hoping things will be better when I return.
Happening to me at the moment. Currently on mat leave and work are "restructuring"...my job is the only one affected (surprise, surprise). Options for return involve pay cut. Currrently seeking advice from ACAS and UNISON.
I was made redundant whilst on mat leave with DD2, but in contrast to a lot of posts here, I feel it was entirely fair - 55% of my department was made redundant. All of the positions the same as mine were made redundant, and my peers only stayed if they took a different job. I was pleased to take the redundancy payment as I was stuck in a rut with that company and was pleased to have the kick up the arse I needed to move somewhere else.
Yup me too. Went back to work and was made to interview for my own job within 4 weeks of returning. Faced taking VR or being made compulsorily redundant. Fought back, kept job. Not been promoted ever since.
It's frustrating and builds anger and resentment that present itself in many different ways.
Happened to me. I'd been back 4 months on part time hours (was originally full time and then some) in a slightly different role. Myself and 3 other females all aged mid 20's to mid 30's got the heave ho.
I'm currently on mat leave again and thankfully was part time to begin with and work are looking forward to me returning. My current employer was rated quite highly in the '100 Best Places to Work in the Public and Charity Sectors' by the Sunday Times.
I am appalled at what I have read on here, whilst I appreciate a lot of people are losing their jobs at the moment simply due to the economic climate, there is absolutely no excuse to penalize people for having children or requesting flexible working.
I have seen this happen to a number of women, but very often it has been exactly what they wanted. Women who were planning not to return, being offered a pay off to leave is not really bad news for them.
Obviously there are others who would have dearly loved to go back, but most of the people I know have considered it very good news indeed. Usually their managers have done them a favour by making sure they were on the list, rather than discriminating against them because they have become mothers.
I wasn't made redundant but my career was down the toilet - I was constantly sidelined and passed over for promotion and my boss was constantly moaning - I took voluntary redundancy in the end and moved on.
I had the opposite experience. When I was on maternity leave for DC2 half of my deptment was made redundant. I was told I was exempt and protected from redundancy because I was on maternity leave, I was the only person in my deptment not included in the process.
I was gutted because I really wanted to be made redundant but wasn't allowed to even volunteer myself, which would have spared somebody else, who might have really needed the job, from being made redundant.
It happened continuously where I worked.
Was used in conjunction with a complete refusal to offer flexible hours on return from mat. The excuse provided was that as it was a sales organisation it was impossible to provide the service required on PT or reduced hours.
Our CEO said openly that a woman's mind would never fully be on her job on her return from mat.
My role was reduced due to a restructure that I wasn't informed about until my return. They had decided my new role on my behalf as I would never be able to manage my old role with a new baby
HR advised that I could take the role or take redundancy as the company had now restructured. HR Director said that it was a good deal as my new role had less responsibility but with the same salary.
I realised that she might not have my best interests at heart...
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Yes it happened to me. My role was changed and HR said that it had changed by a big enough percentage (by their definition) that it was classed as a "new" role therefore would be advertised and I would have to apply for it - if I wanted to come back - alongside other candidates. In fact that was wrong, and under UK legislation I had more protection when on maternity leave than any other employee against redundancy. I should have been reappointed without any need to apply (unless they could prove that i was not eligible to apply, which i was, as the role was the same role but with a slight change in responsibilities, but nothing I was not qualified or experienced to do, and it was at the same level). I took legal advice, and my lawyer negotiated a handsome redundancy payout which also "compensated" me for the mistreatment.
I was lucky though. HR department were a bit thick and hadn't checked UK legislation (they were using the "global" policy), - in the words of my lawyer "it's a black and white case of discrimination, they would lose if you took them to tribunal" but i didn't want that stress, and neither did they so they settled.
I think in many cases the redundancy is cloaked in business restructure etc, so it's less easy to claim / prove discrimination. In my favour was the fact that emails from HR and my manager proved they were effectively going against the UK legislation (they didn't realise it at the time) and couldn't claim otherwise when the evidence was produced.
I should add that it was only my role in the department that changed, so less easy for them to claim a business case for the change. I actually put it to them after we'd settled that they'd tried to be clever and get rid of me because I'd indicated I wanted to return part-time. I still think that's true.
Redundancy happens to people regardless of their mat status. Maternity does not protect you completely from redundancies they must still be justified and anyone who solely made one mat role redundant would be in court in the blink of an eye. As it happens you have more protection for redundancy than a worker who isnt on mat leave. You also cant be demoted during maternity leave. You get the same job back....if however on return you fail to do the same job then yes you will face that. Sadly this article was very misleading and most of the other women posting on this board seem confused, most of them are claiming that their company acted illegally....which is unlikely...if they did its your own job to go and redress it... As to other issues if anyone actually has ANY PROOF that they are REALLY being paid less than a man for the same role with the same length of service then I really don't see why you don't do something about it instead of moaning about how unfair it is when there is a remedy.
It does surprise me at a personal level as I don't know anyone this has happened to in RL, apart from one person who requested 2 days a week, down from 5 days. They said there was a good chance they would make all PT redundant by the end of the year so recommended she stay FT. She said she'd take the chance, and then they did phase out all PT. The only other person I know was a Fixed income trader and then they made the entire department redundant, so that was that really. Then there are a few people who didnt really want to go back, so when the VR opportunity came up, they took it.
One of my close friends got made a partner at a magic circle law firm whilst on mat leave, although I know that's the exception, not the rule.
However, most of my friends have had positive experiences of returning to work and usually moan that their bosses are on at them to do more days rather than talking about redundancy
Yup, my role was restructured (the only one) during my mat leave. I know this has happened to one other mum of my cohort and know two mums made redundant on mat leave. I have several female colleagues tell me they are putting off having children now for fear it will damage their careers.
Yep, me and the other two mums in my office were just made redundant. Local government. My boss who made the decision has two kids, he is a bastard!
I was made redundant 8 weeks after having a MMC. It was no coincidence!
It was strongly hinted that there would be no job to return to after my maternity leave. I had been in post for 13 years and just before I went off a newborn was advertised which comprised of 95% of my current work. When I asked what I would be doing when I returned I was told not to worry my head about that and to enjoy my baby
I resigned and consequently left a job in a place that I had loved and had been my dream job for years
New job not newborn ffs!
mungotracy dont be so irritable. Most people were responding to the questions which were- were you made redundant in maternity leave and if not had you job changed when you went back? Tis an interesting question.
Some people who did loose their jobs will have done so under dubious circumstances, others not and this is reflected in the range of replies. We are all aware that we can appeal to tribunals and other legal systems if we have been discriminated against but not everyone wants to as it is a long and tiresome process that can also affect your chances of future employment.
Well I am horrified No kids yet...
Smithson 6 i'm not irritable?????? what an ofd thing for you to say. Im Honest. Just pointing out many posters have not answered the question asked and chosen to use it as a generic platform to discuss their perceived mistreatment and some rather irrelevant items about men being paid more. (Which might be relevant in another thread,, they are not relevant to the guardian article.) There is a distinct difference between 'made' redundant and pressured to resign and 'voluntarily redundant' Im simply keen the topic is not derailed by people who want to broaden the area of discussion, theres other topics for that. This is about being MADE redundant or the role changing significantly........
Yes, happened to me with my first child. Returned to work FT after 6mths, was told the week before I returned that my role was being terminated and that I would need to find another role in the company. I returned to try and do this, found the only roles available were lesser ones so went down redundancy route. Having had a second child and been out of work for a while (not through choice) I feel I face the prospect of my career being over at the grand age of 36. With hindsight I wonder whether taking the lesser roles/pay would have been the better option but it was a very difficult decision to take with hormones/child not settling. I accept my employer made a business decision but I still feel there must have been a better way.
mungotracy well you came across as being chippy to me. A lot of the interesting posts here have talked about how posters felt sidelined or pushed out under restructuring etc. which is relevant because they are grey areas where women can be discriminated against but probably wont stand up in tribunal. I read the thread and didn't see anyone "moaning" or "confused" about the situation or anyone talking about men being paid more.
I wasn't made redundant, but ended up leaving for another job anyway.
Before ML I was the Support and Testing manager with two teams under me. I returned from ML to find that my assistant had been promoted to a new (and better paid) position as Testing manager, taking half of my team with him. On top of that my boss started to override my decisions, where before he had full faith in me. He also undermined me with my staff, even when it involved someone who had a holiday request refused, but went and booked it anyway then told my boss I'd approved it. I said that was ridiculous as it would leave the team without any staff for two weeks, but I wasn't believed.
The only bright side to that episode was that I did manage to get a new, and much better paid job AND did it before all of the holiday, so they were left with no one in support for two weeks. HA!
I would call that constructive dismissal.
I think this might trump most for shittiness. Obviously this happened to a friend <cough>
Not only was my friend's job advertised without telling her but she found out her job was being restructured after her FIL read an article in The Telegraph that her office where she was the manager was being merged with the office next door. In other words the
bastards employer briefed the press before they spoke to her. Does she win the thread?!
I have hundreds of these because I do some voluntary work helping women who have been screwed over after leave. They have all got a pay out but when the career damage, emotional fall out and reduced earnings are taken into account it's hardly adequate compensation.
"I read the thread and didn't see anyone.... talking about men being paid more."
Please see page one
"I'm still about £5000 in earnings behind the man who got that job at that point."
So ill be ignoring your attempts to attack my position by branding me as 'snotty' until you've actually read the thread ok....
Smithson to explain further.........Its one of those odd stat things......redundant after maternity is pretty broad, you could get similar stats off men I expect if you asked "were you made redundant within say three years of having a child?" redundancys common these days....... redundant as a DIRECT result of maternity is entirely different and where the focus should be and is where the discussion should be based...
well that's 1 out of 95 then. I'm not out for an argument, I want to read the stories that the posters have about their experiences in the workplace after having a child and wanted to reply that I don't think that anyone is "moaning" or "confused". Its an important issue.
I was replaced by my maternity cover so they had no motivation to agree to my request for flexible working. So in essence it was made impossible for me to return.
and actually, this thread has not asked for specific clarity about whether redundancy is a direct result of maternity leave, it has asked whether posters have been made redundant on maternity leave, whether their jobs have changed when they got back to work and for them to "share their thoughts" which is actually very broad. If it is important to you that people clarify what their actual status was then ask them to. Don't call them confused and infer that they don't understand how stats work. over and out.
Having read the thread, there are a large number of posts here which could easily be regarded as constructive dismissal.
The problem is that most women dont have the energy or the resources to take a case to tribunal, so they just go, and their rights get trodden on.
Or they dont want to ruin their chances of re employment at a senior level through a high profile tribunal case, so they just sign a compromise agreement and take the money. (Like my friend too )
But, there is no doubt that the majority of posts here support the guardian piece. Sadly, discrimination is alive and well in UK plc
I was on a temp to perm contract and was told that they were happy with me and I would definitely be made perm. I announced my pregnancy and then all of a sudden the perm disappeared and I was back on the dole. This was a couple of months after being made redundant from a different company a couple of weeks before my wedding.
I was made redundant by 'default' I suppose you'd call it
I was covering ML as a temp, and was promised the FT contract as the woman in question had already given notice verbally.
She was just coming up to her last month of ML, and the company offered her redundancy. She accepted, I lost my job with immediate effect, no notice, nothing.
Proving constructive dismissal is very, very, very difficult. The costs of making a tribunal claim with legal support run to tens of thousands of pounds and you cannot claim costs from the other side in normal cases.
It's often not worth the gamble for many women.
KateMiddleton one of my coworkers was successful at proving constructive dismissal at tribunal and she told me if she could go back she would not do it again. She said that the stress levels were unbelievable, her whole family suffered and that if she could go back, despite having won her case, she would have just picked herself up and moved on to another job.
I have gone back to work after each of my three children. The first and second time was fine, it was on the same, pay, same terms and conditions with some home working thrown in. The third time, I was asked if I would come back and was asked to help the company find my "temporary replacement" which I did. 6 months later they didn't want me and kept my replacement. I was a little upset and felt let down as I'd been at the company for 10 years. It was a real kick in the teeth at the time but you have to get on with life. A month later, I found a job at the same company but different dept. It wasn't a pleasant job, but I managed to negotiate three days wfh and 2 days in the office. I wasn't too keen on getting this job so laid all my cards on the table, which to my surprise paid off and was hired the next day. 8 months later I lost this job as did many others due to dept being outsourced to India. Since then I changed career direction completely and went from It consultant to part-time property developer with my husband. This works well for us and gives me quality time with the family. We just had our first holiday in three years last month. What us women are great at is taking a bad situation and turning it around for the better! What seems like a nightmare at the time can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.
A round of redundancies were due before I told my boss I was pregnant. The week before I mentioned it we were advised that our department was safe. 1 week after I told my boss I was made redundant. Worked out for the best in the long run for me and my family but its so unfair all over.
What is interesting though is the question of 'being made redundant' means it is quite a formalised process, with records.
Alot of us here are talking about essentially being coerced to leave. Bullied, pushed, demoted. The stats on that would be harder to verify, as like me, many of the women here have said they ultimately made the choice to leave. So it looks like a resigning, when it was not really.
I think I was sidelined and yes demoted. Technically I was at the same level- but my job involved alot of travel, and I was always passed over for that. Other part timers travelled and then got time off in lieu, so it was not just being part time. I did have a one week trip to the States this year because our US office refused to take anyone else as it was my portfolio. Technically i was due for 4 days off as I work 3 days a week, travelled two and worked two extra, and my boss said to ask for that was 'taking the piss' and so i just got the 2 time off in liue days that a full timer would have gotten. So they got 2 extra days out of me for free. (plus really, I have worked so much overtime that i could have finished way back in September...)
Incidentally, I am 'not working' today and have been. And my boss has just called and begged me to extend my notice period beyond April as they 'really need' me.
(Ps- it is SnowyWellies here. Recent nc)
Not necessarily a formal redundancy process SmellieWellies. As I posted up thread some exits labelled "redundancy" are nothing of the sort unfortunately.
Smithson6 yeah it's shit isn't it
I'm not shocked in the slightest. It's happened to several women I know. My boss tried it with one woman in my workplace but backed down when she said she'd take him to tribunal. I was the next pregnant one but was accommodated fairly well, but persuaded by him to become a full-timer again far too soon and had a workload greater than I could cope with heaped upon me. I lasted 6 months like that then stopped work to be a SAHM for a while. I was mired in the whole thing at the time, but looking back, if I had documented all the comments and demands I could have had a case for constructive dismissal.
There are diff types of redundancy too depending on numbers involved. Many big firms just serve compromise agreements - agree to this doc or lose earned monies. Effectively sacking in nicer wrApping.
Happened to someone I know - she was made redundant from a city law firm when on maternity leave. She was one of their senior employment lawyers.
I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave with my first child. Officially the redundancy happened the day I went back, but I was actually told that my job wouldn't be there when I got back during the week that DS was due
Yes, I was made redundant. "Restructuring" apparently, because there were too many people at my senior level . However, while I wasn't on maternity leave, I had an ectopic pregnancy which required (limited time - total 4 days) off work, so my company were, unfortunately, aware I was TTC. Fatal.
Their attitude, after initial sympathy, totally changed towards me. I was a maternity risk and was about to cost them money. Suddenly, from being top performer of my peer group and headhunted for my job, i was getting interim appraisals because there was "a perception" that my work wasn't up to scratch. I.e. they couldn't point to any examples and all comments were mysteriously anonymous, but wanted rid of me and had to go by the book. I was exceeding targets and had excellent client feedback. It all happened in about 4 months and I was made redundant along with mostly other women of childbearing age. Six months TO THE DAY they employed someone else in my role.
Happened to me, kind of. They made things so utterly soul-destroyingly vile for me when I got pregnant, I believe they wanted to just make me leave, before maternity leave would even kick in. I'd have had a good case for constructive dismissal, had things come to it. I'd been there nine years, no trouble, so for it to start when I came back from honeymoon, having been stupidly open that I'd be TTC on honeymoon, was rather suspicious. I ended up going on sick leave due to work-related stress when I was 17 weeks pg, and didn't go back! They were therefore forced to pay me sick leave for five months, then my full maternity package. Part-way through my ML, I got a letter that said they were considering making some Voluntary Redundancies, and wanted to gauge interest. I said I would be interested. My rep/solicitor ended up negotiating for me a very decent payoff/redundancy, which I happily took.
I was made redundant whilst still on Mat leave
I'm grateful that it worked in my favour. Less than a month before I was due to go on ML, a wave of redundancies were announced, and I was surprised that my (shared) position wasn't at risk as that position had been lost from several partner organisations at the time. All staff were offered a one to one with the CEO, so I asked why I was considered worth saving when elsewhere the role wasn't. She was very honest and told me that it all came down to the bottom line, and it was cheaper to have me on maternity than a redundancy payout, but if the bottom line didn't improve before my return then I may not have a job to return to.
My job share and I were on ML at the same time, and in that time our job descriptions were changed to create 2 unique PT roles rather than 1 FT role. The theory being that it would reduce duplication. In practise I suspect it was a clever move by my manager and the CEO to protect us both, so they couldn't bow to pressure to say the job could be done by just one PT member of staff. We are both still happily working there
Having read of the awful experiences on this thread, I'm very grateful that, in my case, pregnancy saved my job
I went back for four months before I was made redundant.
Half of my team went at the same time, but I do think there was a link to my maternity leave, not least because I hadn't been there to argue my team's case for survival (I was the manager).
I returned from. mat. leave to no work to do. Within a few months my useless boss started bullying me out.
He did me a big favour as I have run a successful business for nearly 9 years now.
I went back after first mat leave until my second. After that i returned and they had 'nothing suitable' as department restructuring had removed my previous role.
They offered me a (quite frankly rubbish) alternative role (which would have been career suicide) or to leave under a compromise agreement. If i didn't leave then I would be included in the next round of formal redundancies.
16 years i worked for them. Wankers
Yes it happened to me, made redundant whilst coming to end of ML. Luckily, I had anticipated and already started the job search. Whilst they did offer me a temporary job to cover another persons ML, I told them I had accepted another post elsewhere. This turned out to be a really good move for me and my family . So sometimes it can work out for the better.
Its a shame that some employers still question whether some women will be able to work, or if they will be distracted by becoming a mum. I'm the main breadwinner in our family, so I always have to be committed and dedicated to work.
It did not happen to me, but I chose not to return to an emplyer who treated me badly and tried (but failed) to not pay me mat leave!
No, I wasn't officially made redunant, but my employers must have been jumping for joy when I asked to return to work part time after mat leave. Despite the fact that about 60% of the company's employees are part time. They refused, I appealed, they refused again. Their reason being that due to restructuring, they could not re-distribute the workload between the remaining team members. I handed my notice in, as they knew I would. Funnily enough, they did not replace me. Guess they must have found a way to redistribute the work after all.
I wasn't made redundant. But I was transferred to another office about 1.5 hours away. Which made the job impossible to fit into nursery hours. Apparently all the vacant jobs in the nearby locations were filled by other staff who were relocated from my office. I didn't have the chance to apply for these as , guess what, I was on maternity leave.
So I had to resign. NHS employer .
I'm due to return to work in July. I'm fully expecting to be made redundant on 31st March.
My job mysteriously became redundant after DC3. They did what they had to - they offered me another job at the same pay. But it was a job I could have done when I was 17 - it was really junior, junior shit. The sort of soul-destroying job I'd spent years getting away from. They absolutely knew I wouldn't take it - they were wankers.
Yes it happened to me, after first mat leave I went part time, and in the following three and a bit years, had very few opportunities to progress despite actively putting myself forward. All the while those that were less senior than me were starting to become more senior.
I fought hard for the one opportunity I got, and was told in front of about ten people that they did got know if I could cope due to my outside responsibilities. This solidly confirmed what had been happening all the while I had been working part time.
Following second mat leave, after not doing any real work for the whole time I was back was made redundant. I was back for five months.
Oh and they sent an email saying part time work no longer fit their business model.
I got made redundant on ML to in 2008. Offered me a job the other side of Manchester knowing full well I couldn't get there.
Currently on mat leave and panicking about bring made redundant as department being restructured post munro report. Any experience/advice welcome
It happened to me. Just after I'd spent a fortune on breast pumps etc, which I thought I'd need for my return to work...
Left me absolutely pole axed. I was quite excited about going back to work, in all honesty. I felt I could conquer the world at that stage. And then they tried to stiff me on my redundancy pay, which just added insult to injury.
Thank God for my union. They really supported me. (Oh, and I have 2 employment lawyer friends in the City who were also made redundant on ML. Both said there was no point in challenging it - they felt they wouldn't work again if they did And if employment lawyers feel like that...)
This doesn't surprise me in the least. Having the audacity to become a mother seems to be the death-knell for many women's careers even now.
For me, I had barely announced my pregnancy at 14 weeks when I was suddenly targeted for a mysterious redundancy consultation process that only affected me, no-one else in my team or in my company. Apparently my job was 'unique' even though I had changed jobs within teams prior to that and others shared my job title!
I had one unannounced, unwitnessed meeting with the director of my company, who claimed not to know I was pregnant, and who told me not to come back to the office other than for a second consultation meeting. I immediately called ACAS and then an employment law solicitor as I knew if I came back in for the second meeting the director had set up, I could be fired on the spot and wouldn't be entitled to any maternity pay. So I fought my corner with my solicitor's help and got a settlement that was alright.
UK employment law is a joke. In the US, where I live now, with a case as blatant as mine, I could have sued for loss of earnings, loss of future earnings, damage to career, stress, harassment, intimidation etc but under UK law only loss of earnings / future earnings can be compensated for in the tribunal system. The harassment and awful stress they put me through for a whole trimester of my pregnancy was just tough luck for me. There is a lot of talk about employee rights but you find out pretty quick when it happens to you that the system is nicely set up to circumscribe your rights within very narrow parameters. It's sad, when you think that this happened under a Labour government (and continues with the Tories/Lib Dems). Ramsay MacDonald would be spinning in his grave.
I wasn't made redundant but my title and role changed whilst on mat leave and the woman who was doing maternity cover was promoted above me without me being given the opportunity to apply for the vacancy. This was in a charity championing women's rights at work!!
I wasn't made redundant, but I was shunted sideways after DC2 into a dead end role, followed by an equally dead end job that had no prospects and with the sword of Damocles hanging over the entire departments' heads. This after building my section up from nothing into a £5 million turnover group that provided multi-million sales leads to the rest of the business.
After I came back, and as this shunt happened, I made it very clear that I felt they were acting illegally and that my salary and bonus package had to be maintained. They were not happy that I had taken legal advise on my rights, and they made it very clear.
My new department had already seen an 80% redundancy programme and was left with a skeleton crew. In a recession. When similar service providers were going to the wall every week.
WHen I fell pg with No 3, I already knew in my heart that I would return to a couple of years of dreadful dullness and no prospects before inevitably being made redundant - and so I took the decision that no redundancy payout (our company only ever paid statutory minimum) would be worth it a couple of years of misery.
Yes happened to me mid 2012 at a bank. Told me was fine to do 4.5 dyas per week. went back and redundnacies. Paid me off 6m pay and had to sign compromise agreement.
Hard job hunting when want part time, not surprised so many women 'drop out' after having children..if I hadn't have had relatives to have my 2 kids while registering at agencies and having short-notice interviews, I couldn't afford the nursery/ didn't want to spend the 6m pay when didn't know if could lead to anythig job wise in a rescession & nurseries are so inflexiuble, sign a contract for a year ahead etc when sign up so couldnt do this with no job!
Makes me really angry.
I think I will be made redundant after ML next year. Currently under TUPE situation, then new employer will restructure in 6-12 months. My role had been advertised for maternity cover but not filled so essentially my work will be "absorbed" by colleagues in my absence leaving me nothing to go back to.
I don't see this as a bad thing though as I don't really want to go back after ML and stand to get approx 28 wks full pay if made redundant. Also my boss (a mum of 4) has a very negative attitude to anyone requesting flexible working or needing time off if child is sick. She is also an appalling manager with zero people skills and a nightmare to work for because she undermines you and provides zero support to the managers below her (I'm her deputy). So after 8 years of crap I would gladly take a payout.
I do realise that this is not everyones view or indeed perhaps the point of the OP but it would not be a negative for me.
I'm not shocked, this is happening to me now.
Can say too much but I am basically being forced into taking voluntary redundancy and I work for a local authority!
"Can't say too much" is a big part of the problem. Women are generally forced to enter into compromise agreements as soon as there is a hint of complaint, and these contain gagging orders.
To give an anecdote from the other side, I was in the early stages of pregnancy when a redundancy process was started at my last job. I told my boss and they still went through a proper process and I kept my job.
Sorry so many people have suffered
Happened to me as well
I took ML and towards the end found out my mother was dying, yes actually really dying. I had a heart to heart with my boss who let me extend my leave with some 'unpaid leave of absence'... ie no protection whatsoever. The same week as the funeral he made me redundant. Wanker. Now realise I should have gone through proper channels and been on 'carers leave' and probs wouldn't have been touched as the company is generally legally nervous... oh, and obviously the person doing my job while I was on leave is still there! Grrrr
Just wanted to draw your attention to this media request from the Sunday Mirror - they are looking for women to talk about this very subject.
Do get in touch if you'd like to share your story.
My experience is in the public sector (though now i am self-employed after redundancy) and I would say that women in my old organisation were absolutely NOT discriminated against and opportunities for job-share and pt working were sensible and flexible.
HOWEVER the entire organisation is being decimated with around 25% of all staff redundant of a workforce which was already disproportionately female and probably around half of those females had children.
And to be clear, this public sector organisation is not a bunch of pen pushers, it's not life or death but it's something that contributes to the quality of life of people all over the uK and a service i bet most families use.
Erm no thanks. Since when do MNHQ tout for journos on threads?
You see most people cannot comment because of the mutual confidentiality clauses contained in compromise agreements and the rest, without evidence, could be potentially libellous when published. Or you take out all the specifics and then there's no story. < That is why it goes on unnoticed and not brought to account.
One of those too.
One month who're coming back from maternity leave, my boss said that she could only "offer" me half I my pre maternity hours. I put my foot down and threatened to sue them so she backed down and allowed me to come back on my pre-maternity hours. However, I envisaged that as soon as she felt that she cold get away with it, she would make me redundant or cut my hours as planned so I looked (an found) another job while still on maternity leave.
Oh waffle that's awful.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I am one too. I was made redundant 8 weeks after returning from maternity leave with DS2 but my boss had been trying to get me out since birth of DS1. To be honest I understand that the worker I was pre kids was better than the worker I was after them: more single minded; accepted longer hours; less absent. But I was still annoyed. It's worked out for the best as I am able to be a SAHM and loving it a lot.
Yes, another one here. Currently taking my employer to tribunal as apparently they didn't follow any proper procedure.
The whole experience has been exhausting, frustrating, demoralising, humiliating.
Particularly as my "replacement" spends most of the day on Facebook, apparently.
I'm not surprised at all. But then I've always struggled with the idea that women should be 'entitled' to hold a job for 6 months/a year/whatever while they take ML. And I work full-time and have 3 kids! Just something I've never really understood - it doesn't surprise me women get treated like this at all. Sad as it is.
Conors, how long did you/your DW take on maternity leave for each child?
Yes I was threatened (if that's the right expression)with redundancy on my return from maternity leave. I actually found a (better) job and gave in my notice instead. I wouldn't appear in your stats.
Me too. Made redundant on my first day back from a 4 month mat leave.
They clearly had forgotten about me in the reorganisation and had 2 men doing my job.
What really really and still upsets me all these years later is that I put ds into a nursery at 3 months so he would have a month to settle in. I will never get that month back.
I got just over a years salary plus other things so about 18 months all in after an initial tribunal hearing.
Very very very stressful, the hurtful things they said, made me depressed during a time that should have been the happiest.
One liein So sorry . I too had to pull my 7mo dd out of nursery where she was settled and happy.
Wish don't be sorry for me. I hate them still with a passion that has led me onto much bigger and greater things.
I hope they can't sleep at night. I certainly wouldn't be able to if I had to do that, lie, treat unfairly and illegally.
OneLieIn, so glad you got the money (and the bigger and greater things).
I'm also one of these statistics - made redundant on mat leave.
Doctrine - 10ish days with the first, 5ish days with two and three - but I only went in to work three days a week and did the rest from home for the first 6 months or so until they were settled into day care (much easier with 2 and 3!!). Not sure I really count as a statistic as I am the employer, however, with only 6 staff and a very niche industry - maternity leave would cause us absolute chaos. I can see both sides of the coin.
Thanks conors. Do you think you'd've done the same if you'd been an employee?
I think I would have left work if I was an employee .. my ex employer was the sort that would have sacked someone for ML (illegal or not). As far as they were concerned it was YOUR choice to have a baby, not their problem. This thread has some desperately sad stories - however, I've always had this little niggle at the back of my mind about WHY this entitlement exists, hence why I was drawn to read it. I can understand 3 months, I think that's fair, but a whole year to me seems crazy ... and then if you go on to have another child fairly soon after etc... I've heard of people that have been off on ML for the best part of 5 years. I can't see how that is benefiting the employer .... but I can see how it benefits the employee!
conors I would have thought it was easier to find maternity cover for twelve months than three though, no?
Why shouldn't they be 'entitled' to ML ? ML creates a fairer workplace between the sexes (ie women still have an income while having dc) and creates a fairer society . Without ML only women with wealthy DHs could afford to have DCs . Couples who are equal earners would not as the drop in money would be too significant .
Frustrating - I type a reply and it gets 'lost' when I post it... ggrrrrr ....!
I understand the theory of ML, and for what its worth I think its a good move for society in general, however, it only takes a few to spoil it for everyone else. There are women that take advantage and take jobs with the sole purpose of getting ML and taking as much leave as they possibly can - leaving the employer not knowing what's going on for some period of time. Employers then become wary of employing potential mothers-to-be ... I have spoken to many over the years that have 'avoided' taking on women because of the ML regulations. Which is, I think, much more of a worry ...
If I had a MLeaver on my staff, it would be administrative so I would juggle their job for a few months, in which case, yes, 3 would be easier than 12!
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