Fixed Term Contract and Pregnancy

(9 Posts)
PaddingtonBrown Thu 14-Nov-19 12:48:13

So I have working for the same organisation for 5 years now, always in the same department. I am currently pregnant and am off sick due to pregnancy related issues, my current department are obviously aware because of this. I have been offered an interview for an internal vacancy that I applied for before I found out about the baby. It's a job I've been desperate to do since I started there but opportunities haven't really come up or when they have, I've unfortunately just missed out. The new job, for now at least, is a 12 month Fixed Term Contract. I don't know when it's expected to start, but January is my guess (there's security and financial checks etc). It is highly likely that the contract will be extended or that I could apply for a permanent role doing the same job on a different project at some point however obviously this cannot be guaranteed. So I'm now panicking a bit about what to do. I will be going off on Maternity Leave at the end of May and would be due to come back in March. My first worry is when to tell them that I'm pregnant, I don't want to discount myself straight away by telling them at interview but also don't want to wait until I start and will most likely be showing by then anyway. I know legally I don't have to tell them however it just feels, I don't know, cheeky? If I tell them once I have an offer in writing is that bad? Plus my current department already know. I wouldn't worry about this if the job was perm from the outset. My second worry is, if the contract is not extended or made perm. I know you have more rights whilst pregnant or on maternity leave and have read they have to give a justifiable business reason to end the contract as it's seen as redundancy if they don't renew, that you get priority over someone not pregnant or on mat leave if they only extend say 4 people's contracts out of 6. I've also read that they must find you an alternative position elsewhere within the business (which would be highly likely, there's ALWAYS jobs in my old dept - not that I particularly want to go back if I can help it). I just don't want the stress whilst on maternity leave, but at the same time I cannot pass up the opportunity to do the job I have wanted to do for so long and there's no guarantee it will come up again any time soon. So any advice on what I should do/what you would do etc and what my rights are beyond what I have already read about. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
flowery Thu 14-Nov-19 12:56:00

Don’t worry.

With regards to telling them, as I’m sure you know, they can’t take pregnancy into account when making decisions about appointments/promotions. Therefore there is no value at all to anyone in telling them before they’ve made the decision. All you would be doing is burdening them with a big piece of information they cannot use. Do them the favour of letting them make an unbiased decision based purely on your suitability for the job. Then both you and they will know that your pregnancy was not a factor.

If your role is redundant while you are on maternity leave and there is a vacancy that is suitable for you, you must be offered it without having to compete. So you’d be fine. smile

PaddingtonBrown Thu 14-Nov-19 13:13:10

Yes that was my thinking regarding not telling them at interview. I know technically they can't base their decision on that, however they can always spin it in a way to make it look like that's not the reason for me not getting the job. As I stated, I've been unsuccessful for the same role on more than 1 occasion so would be no suprise. I will say, the competition previously was very tough and there were a hell of a lot of candidates for far fewer jobs than they initially anticipated and I only just missed out. My chances this time are much better due to the fixed term contract because not as many people have applied due to potentially being without a job at the end of the 12 months and they're only interviewing 2 more people than the number of vacancies they have. I suppose in that respect I'm actually in such a better position in that the chances of me being without a job at all at the end of the 12 months are very very slim. It's just anxiety inducing.

OP’s posts: |
flowery Thu 14-Nov-19 15:32:39

Yes, if you tell them before they've decide one of several things could happen:

They could discriminate against you and not offer you the job.
They could not offer you the job because you're not the best candidate but you'll always wonder if you were being discriminated against.

They could be so worried about being accused of discrimination that they offer you the job even if you're not technically the best candidate, and resent you for it.
They could offer you the job genuinely because you are the best candidate but you'll wonder whether it was because they were terrified of discrimination.

By not telling them, you'll all know for sure that decisions were made for the right reasons. And I would agree that the chances of you being without a job at the end of 12 months are vanishingly small.

PaddingtonBrown Thu 14-Nov-19 16:33:13

Yes that is true, at least I will know I have got the job based on my own abilities and experience etc. I would definitely always be wondering which of those scenarios it is. I also feel like I'd half be talked out of it because of it being a 12 months fixed term.

I know in theory that is true about unlikely being left without a job, but my brain just can't reconcile it and I just keep going round and round in my own head with a load of what ifs.

It's just my luck that this would happen now, dream job and new baby on the way at the same time, arrrghhhh!!

Thanks for replying and confirming my thoughts.

OP’s posts: |
Rockchick1984 Thu 14-Nov-19 22:07:55

@flowery out of curiosity, does the fact that it's a fixed term contract make any difference to rights in this situation? What if it was (for example) a 6 month contract which would fall during a maternity leave, does the employer have the right to refuse to employ someone as they would not be available to do the job for the duration of the contract?

I know it's not directly relevant however I am studying towards a degree in a linked area and this is something I've never considered previously.

flowery Thu 14-Nov-19 22:47:59

They don’t have the right, no. The pregnancy must be disregarded. Have a look at Tele Danmark A/S v Handels og
Kontorfunktionaerernes Forbund I Danmark (HK) 2001, IDS 696. Personnel Today article

Rockchick1984 Sat 16-Nov-19 23:02:03

Thankyou so much flowers

flowery Sat 16-Nov-19 23:14:21


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