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Pregnancy affecting my work role - is what they are doing to me fair?

(12 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Wed 29-Mar-17 10:03:09

I'm currently pregnant and after a month of being on reduced hours and in an alternative role (at my request) Occupational Health decided yesterday that they don't want me returning to my usual role or usual hours at all which actually came as a bit of a shock to me.

Due to them saying I must work reduced hours they are making me use up my Annual Leave to facilitate this which equates to me being made to take 16 hours annual leave each week.

Can they do this as the are the ones telling me I can't work full time?

I was obviously saving up my annual leave to take towards the end of my pregnancy before having to get my Maternity Pay kick started but because I'm now being made to use up my annual leave it means I'm going to have to go off on Maternity at 30 weeks because that's when my annual leave will have ran out. I made Occupational Health aware of this but they basically said tough.

It's all so unfair.

Why should their decision about my role mean I'm forced to start my Maternity leave at 30 weeks which will leave me in the financial shit when baby is born and mean I'm going to have to return to work much sooner than I wanted to?

I really thought that if my hours are being reduced by OH due to pregnancy related illness then surely I wouldn't have to use up my annual leave as it's upon their orders that my job role is being changed - it's not something I actually want to do myself.

Are issues like this covered by pregnancy and discrimination laws?

Can I actually just refuse to go along with what I've been told and tell them I'm coming back to work and doing my usual role and hours because what they're telling me to do isn't fair?

Bluebell9 Wed 29-Mar-17 10:39:38

I would contact ACAS and get their professional advice.

TopKittyKat Wed 29-Mar-17 17:13:17

I'm pretty sure they can't do this.
My understanding is that if it isn't safe for you to do your normal role, they need to offer you an alternative. If they can't, then they need to suspend you on full pay.
I'm not sure about annual leave - I don't think they can force you to take it but you will need to check.
With regards to starting mat leave, they can only force you to take it from 36 weeks! Defo not 30 weeks.

Here's some government info:
www.gov.uk/working-when-pregnant-your-rights

flowery Wed 29-Mar-17 18:33:25

"Occupational Health decided yesterday that they don't want me returning to my usual role or usual hours at all which "

That's a rather odd turn of phrase, unless you work in the OH department itself. Do they not want you to return to your usual role or hours, or is it that they have advised your manager that you will not be able to return to your usual role or hours because of pregnancy-related sickness?

If its a case of your employer preferring you not to work your full hours/normal role (nothing to do with your health) then you shouldn't be penalised. But this doesn't sound like that, if it's being advised by OH rather than your manager deciding that for operational reasons it's more convenient for them this way.

"My understanding is that if it isn't safe for you to do your normal role, they need to offer you an alternative. If they can't, then they need to suspend you on full pay"

That's true, but irrelevant. The OP gives no indication that her role is not safe, she mentioned pregnancy-related illness being the factor.

OP do you feel you are fully fit to return to full time hours? Has your own doctor signed you as being fully fit for full time hours? If you have a fit note from your doctor confirming that you are now fit to return to full time work and your employer is deciding they'd prefer you not to, then I would agree they should pay you as normal and not deduct your holiday.

But if you are not fit to return to full time hours there's no reason to pay you full time pay, they are perfectly fine to pay you only for the hours you do.

if it is the case that you are only fit for reduced hours, would you prefer to go on reduced pay accordingly and save your holiday entitlement?

Writerwannabe83 Wed 29-Mar-17 19:23:44

I feel absolutely fine to return to normal duties and normal hours and I was 100% expecting this to be the outcome of the meeting. My Managers were also expecting the same and are happy for me to return to my usual role.

However the OH doctor said he doesn't think I'm medically well enough and thinks that if I return to normal duties my health will deteriorate again. So he's basically said I've got to stay in my current light duty role and stay on reduced hours.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 29-Mar-17 19:31:59

*With regards to starting mat leave, they can only force you to take it from 36 weeks! Defo not 30 weeks.
*

I'm thinking that if I'n made to use by A/L to get me through to 30 weeks then following that I will just get signed off sick by my doctor to cover me until 36 weeks. If my employers are the ones saying I'm not well enough to carry out my job then it's obvious I would be signed off sick and not start my Maternity leave ridiculously early.

flowery Wed 29-Mar-17 20:19:26

If you're happy to return to your role and your managers are also, why are they going along with the OH recommendation?

Do you have a fit note from your own doctor?

seven201 Wed 29-Mar-17 20:53:09

How bizarre! How shit. I think acas is the way to go. I was signed off just after 33 weeks for 3 week and as that spanned over to 36 weeks it meant my maternity leave kicked in early at 36 weeks. Work said I could return to work before 36 weeks as long as I got a fit note. Not the same I know but sort of relevant. Good luck!

Writerwannabe83 Wed 29-Mar-17 20:58:07

flowery - I assume they are going along with him because the OH guy is a doctor and therefore they can't go against his medical advice? If they were to ignore it and return me to normal duties and my health deteriorate as a result I'm not sure where they'd stand?

I haven't got a Fit Note from my GP because it was never my GP who requested that for the last month I be on reduced duties and hours, it was me that asked my Managers as my midwife advised it. My Managers initially said no so my midwife advised I go through OH and when I said this to my Managers they relented and said I could do the reduced role/hours for all of March and return to normal duties in April.

They put in a Managers referral to OH so there was a record of all this and to show they were taking action to protect my health etc and that was the appointment I had yesterday.

flowery Wed 29-Mar-17 21:42:46

Ok well if their OH adviser is the only doctor involved and you and your managers would like to go against his advice you should get your own doctor involved. Get him/her to sign you as being fully fit to work your full hours (assuming they share your opinion on that) and take that to your manager.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 29-Mar-17 21:58:27

I'm under Cardiology for the problems I'm having and I'm tempted to contact my Consultant and get her opinion....

flowery Thu 30-Mar-17 08:59:19

Sounds very sensible.

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