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Boss revoked job offer after being told about pregnancy

(6 Posts)
donkey86 Mon 03-Apr-17 12:29:11

My organisation has very generous maternity pay: six months at full pay. I know I should be grateful so I feel a bit bad questioning this. But I've told my pay will be at a lower level than it would have been had I not been pregnant. Do I have a case to challenge them?

The issue is: I'm currently on an 18 month contract at a higher level to my previous one, with a significantly higher salary. The original agreement was that, after the 18m, I would have to either drop back to my previous role, or leave - unless someone else at the higher level left in which case I'd be given their post. The term is up in September which (coincidentally!) is when I'll be starting mat leave.

A few weeks ago, my boss said that there was very little chance of someone else at this level leaving. He said he understood I wouldn't want to drop back to my previous role and he didn't want me to leave the company. He therefore offered to create a new role for me, that would be halfway (in terms of pay and responsibility) between the two roles and would start as soon as this contract ends in September. I accepted - but all this was only verbal.

I've just told him I'm pregnant. He has said I'll have to drop back to the lower salary for the duration of my mat leave, and I can then have the halfway role when I come back. Is this right? As he'd already agreed to give me the middle amount, shouldn't I get that despite not being around to do the job?

I'm guessing that as it was all verbal, there's nothing that I can do. But it's certainly frustrating, as it's a difference of several thousand pounds.

flowery Mon 03-Apr-17 12:34:12

What does your maternity policy say about maternity pay? I'm just asking to establish whether it would make any difference to anything. If they calculate enhanced maternity pay the same way as statutory maternity pay, it will be based on your higher salary anyway.

donkey86 Mon 03-Apr-17 12:44:25

It says:

"If you have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with ORG NAME at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, you are entitled to receive:-
•26 weeks at an amount equivalent to your average full rate of pay;
•followed by 13 weeks of SMP at the standard rate"

I wonder how they calculate 'average rate of pay', it doesn't say. I assumed it would be whatever was in my contract at the time I left, but it doesn't say 'contracted'.

flowery Mon 03-Apr-17 16:37:06

Well that's unhelpfully vague isn't it?!

The fact that they use average suggests that they don't just take whatever contractual salary you are on at the time you go on maternity leave. That makes sense. SMP is calculated on average salary, and lots of women reduce their hours temporarily later in pregnancy, so just taking whatever salary they're on then wouldn't be fair either.

The first thing I would suggest you do is contact HR to find out what calculation is used, so you know exactly where you stand. I imagine they use the same period as is used to calculate SMP, but you need to check. If that's the case, you've got nothing to worry about.

Once you've found that out, it may make absolutely no difference at all, or it might, in which case you can think about options. I imagine your boss has spoken without actually thinking it through. It might seem logical to him that if he is going to create a role, he does it from when you'll actually be there to work in it. That's not to say that's what he should do, but pragmatically, and bearing in mind there's probably no malice involved, I'd suggest finding out exactly what the deal is before taking anything further.

donkey86 Tue 04-Apr-17 15:06:46

Thanks, that's useful. The difficulty is, it's such a small organisation we don't really have HR. My line manager is the Chief Exec and any HR type decisions tend to be made by the Finance Director.

I've spoken to the FD and pointed out that it says 'average'. She said that doesn't count for anything as it'll just be taken to mean my normal salary - so the question comes back down to what should count as my normal salary, the one I'm on now, the lower one, or the mid way one that doesn't really exist.

I really don't want to fall out with anyone over this, but I may have to. Still, I've months to go yet, perhaps I'll leave my arguing to a bit closer to the time.

Afo Tue 04-Apr-17 15:36:46

Could you start your maternity leave a wee or 2 earlier OP? Then your average salary will be the that of the higher role?

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