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Employer changing job whilst I'm on maternity

(10 Posts)
MamaJessica Tue 23-Jul-13 14:00:51

Hi, I'm after a little advice. I'm currently on maternity leave and have been informed that my job is changing. I will have a new job title, new office location (further away), new manager and new tasks on my job description.
I've asked for redundancy but have been told my post is still there, just amended.
How many alterations can an employer make? I feel like they've given me a completely new job but they don't want to admit that as I could leave taking a redundancy payment!
Now I'm facing a return to work in a job which I don't want to do sad
People I have spoken to agree that it doesn't sound right, but I need some 'legal' or official documents to refer to!

flowery Tue 23-Jul-13 14:25:41

Well it largely depends on how different the job is in terms of job content and terms and conditions as to whether your original role is redundant. It's not a question of how many changes an employer can make, it's an overall picture.

Even if your old role is redundant, that doesn't mean you are entitled to redundancy if the new role would be considered a "suitable alternative", which means same or no less favourable terms and conditions, and job content which is suitable for you in terms of your skills and experience.

How much further away is the office location?

A change in manager isn't really relevant.

Perfectly possible to have job description alterations without the post being redundant.

If you feel it is a completely new job, what is happening to the job you were doing?

Also try turning it on its head, and ask yourself the following: Imagine you didn't want redundancy and wanted to stay in your job, if they made your role redundant but wouldn't offer you or let you apply for this new/altered job, would you think that was perfectly fair?

If you are on maternity leave you also have some additional protection in that you are entitled to be offered suitable alternative work where it exists over and above other candidates. Its not surprising they are avoiding any question of your redundancy.

MamaJessica Wed 24-Jul-13 08:13:48

Thanks flowery

Roughly 50% of the job description has changed, keeping elements of the original job but mixing it with another completely different job, which I would never apply for as I don't feel I have the required skills or interest in the area of work it involves. Therefore I not think its suitable overall

The new location adds roughly 20 miles onto my daily journey and half an hour extra time in travelling which is important with my two children and school/nursery drop offs

Definitely feel that it's a new job as I would never have been involved with the 'new tasks' had I stayed in the original role

That's a good idea to turn it around and see if I would be interested, and I can honestly say I wouldn't. I wouldn't feel comfortable in the area if work it involves

Unfortunately I don't think they will give me the redundancy which I would like, but this has helped me to decide that the job offered isn't for me and perhaps they should be looking at more suitable alternatives smile

jchocchip Wed 24-Jul-13 08:16:33

Are you in a union and does your contract state that they can vary your place of work?

MamaJessica Wed 24-Jul-13 10:19:47

My contract isn't up to date unfortunately and doesn't state a place of work! The company isn't very organised! Wish I had chased this up now sad

Also I'm not in a union, as I've previously called upon them and didn't receive any support, so I saw this as a waste of money!

It's causing a lot of stress to me and effecting family life. I only have two months left of maternity leave then I will have been off for 12 months and will have to return to a new job which I'm not happy about, and there isn't much time to find me an alternative!

flowery Wed 24-Jul-13 11:33:07

If you don't want to go back at all I'd send the following:

"Thank you for your letter of [date]. I understand that the company’s need for work of the kind I have been engaged in to date has dimished significantly and the need for work I have been doing in the place in which I have been employed has ceased entirely.
On that basis I believe my role with the company to be redundant.

I understand there is an alternative role available in [x] location. This role is significantly different from my original role and I do not believe I have the appropriate skills and experience required. The location is 20 miles away and would have a significant impact on me due to childcare arrangements and travel costs and times. For these reasons I believe this role is not a ‘suitable alternative’ for me, and I therefore am entitled to redundancy pay."

When deciding if something is a suitable alternative, they should take personal circumstances and the impact on the person into account so what would be suitable for a young single person without family commitments wouldn't necessarily be suitable for a parent with small children and childcare issues.

MamaJessica Sun 28-Jul-13 22:21:12

Thanks for taking the time to help me flowery, it's really appreciated smile I'll give the letter a try x

nicksinger7 Mon 29-Jul-13 14:05:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nicksinger7 Wed 31-Jul-13 12:37:53

Hi Mama Jessica

Just note:-

1. If the terms have changed sufficiently drastically you might have actually been dismissed, possibly unfairly;

2. If not, you might be able to resign in response to what is considered unfair treatment and claim constructive dismissal;

3. The timing whilst you are on maternity leave might raise some eyebrows - is this change due to them not wanting you back (maybe part time) i.e. is there some element of discrimination here?;

4. Assessing whether there has been a redundancy is a very technical process.

5. If you ever think of bringing a Tribunal claim, there are very strict time limits - so beware!

I should emphasise that these are just things to consider and there may be many other things to consider too. All of these things depend very much on the facts of your situation and your post doesn't give enough information for someone to make a fully informed judgment or give you proper advice. You may, however, wish to consider legal advice given this might be a more complex situation than you think. A letter from a solicitor or barrister, may also help you in getting the outcome you want.

Good luck!

Nick Singer, Barrister

MamaJessica Thu 01-Aug-13 17:28:37

Thanks very much for the reply Nick
I'm waiting to hear from my employer following a meeting with them over a week ago...
I may well be in touch with you, pending their response!

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