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Returning to work after sabbatical

(15 Posts)
buxtonballoon Mon 04-Apr-16 23:31:27

I am rapidly (next week) coming to the end of a 12 month sabbatical. I was told 4 weeks ago that my role is no longer available and under the terms of the sabbatical policy my employer is obligated to provide me with a 'broadly equivalent' role. There are no permanent positions available so today I have been offered something temporary. If I choose not to take the temporary position they will take that as my resignation. Would a temporary role be considered 'broadly equivalent' in this case or is that leap from permanent to temporary considered more significant?
Thanks in advance for any help.

flowery Tue 05-Apr-16 00:00:28

Well if there were also a permanent position available then clearly that would be more equivalent, but as there isn't, if this role is suitable for you and the same or similar pay etc, then I'd say they've met their obligations.

What do you feel they should do instead? They can't presumably magic up a permanent post if there isn't one, but when this temporary one ends it might become permanent, or another permanent one might become available. If nothing is available at that time, you will be redundant.

buxtonballoon Tue 05-Apr-16 00:15:41

Thanks Flowery

I'd rather they went straight down the redundancy route to be honest to avoid me having to deal with the uncertainty of going from having a secure permanent position to a temporary one (with no timescales attached) Do you think this is worth suggesting for those reasons?
I have also been offered the opportunity to extend my career break by another month to see if a position comes up in the meantime which I'd be ok with doing but again, I feel a bit like its prolonging the agony and again leaving me uncertain about the future.

daisychain01 Tue 05-Apr-16 05:46:18

I have also been offered the opportunity to extend my career break by another month to see if a position comes up in the meantime Someone is stringing you along there. What do they think will magic itself up in 4 weeks that isn't evident and in the vacancy pipeline today?

Is the temp position they are offering equivalent in your view? Was your presabbatical role more senior and how have your ts and cs potentially changed with the new role. How temporary is it in fact.

JontyDoggle37 Tue 05-Apr-16 06:03:03

I think you'll find they're trying to get out of offering redundancy at all - the words "if I don't take the temporary position they will they take that as my resignation" means they are following a standard governmental policy, and you either accept or leave as your choice. If it is a more generous organisation with a good employee rep, they may offer a 'negotiated exit' but it won't be called redundancy (different laws would apply to them then). Ring up ACAS or Citizens Advice on their free helplines - you need specific technical legal advice on whether temporary is construed as 'broadly similar'.

flowery Tue 05-Apr-16 09:36:32

If there is no end date, on what basis is it 'temporary'? Is it maternity cover or something, contingent on something else happening to trigger the end?

It doesn't affect your rights at all, being in a temporary post as opposed to a permanent one - the only issue is the uncertainty, but depending on why it's 'temporary' it may not be that uncertain at all, I don't know.

You could ask about redundancy but I can't see them going for that really - they have a role available for you, which (assuming it is suitable and equivalent t&cs) they can and should place you in, in order to avoid redundancy, which is what they are supposed to do. I imagine they wouldn't have specifically said a refusal of this post will need to be a resignation if redundancy instead were an option.

The whole' extra month' thing is weird. I could understand an extra 3 months or 6 months, but unless they have reason to think someone is going to resign or something in the next month, or there are some other changes planned but not confirmed yet (either of which are perfectly possible, of course, and which would mean they'd need to delay offering you anything for a bit) I'm not sure what doing that gains either them or you.

daisychain01 Tue 05-Apr-16 19:27:24

The temporary nature of the role does have a significant impact on employment rights. Converting from perm to temp will be a different contract with erosion of benefits and even annual leave entitlements

flowery Tue 05-Apr-16 20:05:41


It would be unlawful to reduce the OP's annual leave entitlement and/or remove benefits because of her transition to temporary status, just as it is unlawful to treat fixed term workers less favourably than permanent workers in general.

If the temporary role involved less holiday and fewer contractual benefits, then it would not be a suitable alternative anyway. But it wouldn't be because it was temporary, it would be because of the less favourable benefits.

flowery Tue 05-Apr-16 20:07:56

Plus the OP has given no indication that the temporary role in question involves fewer benefits and/or less holiday, so why assume that?

buxtonballoon Tue 05-Apr-16 21:00:12

Thats right flowery, it doesnt specifically involve less benefits etc, but I am unsure what happens with holidays etc as usually we would be allowed to use the years allowance at any point during the holiday year despite it only being earned while you work throughout that year.

I have been told today that they will not be extending the sabbatical, they have provided a different temporary role to the one suggested last week and said I have no option but to take it and turn up for work next week or resign. I feel a bit hard done by to be honest as even as late as last week they were saying not to worry about the return date etc as they were working on finding a role.

Not sure what i'll do next!

Horsemad Wed 06-Apr-16 19:00:35

Speak to an employment lawyer ASAP.

flowery Thu 07-Apr-16 08:59:53

Well, if they are offering you a role which is suitable for your skills and experience, on the same salary/benefits, and with your continuous service and related employment rights all protected, I think you need to either take it or resign to be honest. I can't see that them calling it temporary (but there being no end date anyway) means you can instead claim that you are redundant now, as opposed to when/if this temporary role may end at some undefined point in the future, I really can't.

flowery Thu 07-Apr-16 09:02:51

It might help to think of it the other way around. If you didn't want redundancy, your old permanent role wasn't available and they made you redundant, even though this suitable role with no end date was available, and they didn't offer it to you, and claimed that calling it temporary meant they didn't have to, you'd quite rightly not be happy about that, and they would be vulnerable legally.

StuffEverywhere Thu 07-Apr-16 10:25:52

I have also been offered the opportunity to extend my career break by another month to see if a position comes up

This could be a hint for you to start actively looking elsewhere - if you manage to find a good job outside the company within this month, then everyone is happy and they don't have to do anything.

buxtonballoon Thu 07-Apr-16 12:35:51

Just to update, we had a meeting yesterday and they have suggested redundancy can be made available if I want to take that option so thats what im going to do. thank you for all of your advice.

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