Can I be demoted while on maternity leave?

(13 Posts)
daisychain01 Wed 16-Dec-20 06:43:47

Plus, replace the word "maybe" with the word "definitely" - tell them you are a professional, you would definitely have picked up the change in your contractual terms and conditions (which includes your status, position, role title etc - it's all part of your complete contractual "package") and you would have strongly challenged it They made sure you didn't have that opportunity.

daisychain01 Wed 16-Dec-20 06:40:06

The point that *@daisychain01 made about my being at a disadvantage in not being there in the moment to talk it through is very true. I was fuzzy headed from tiredness and stress; if I'd been at work and switched on, maybe I'd have picked up on something.*

This is something to grip onto with all your strength OP. You describing how you were, having had your baby, is the most powerful message you can give them, plus reminding them that pregnancy is a separate protected characteristic under the Equality Act (2010) so what they did was break the law, by significantly changing your contractual terms, when they knew you were unlikely to have visibility of the implications. It seems to me they've purposefully drip-fed information to you disparately, rather than giving you the complete picture. Really shabby.

StressedAndDemoralised Tue 15-Dec-20 22:16:41

I did a bit of digging and for some reason they sent a confirmation (of the new role) letter to my business email address, instead of my personal email address (when the consultation period started I requested that all important correspondence should go to my personal email, as access to my work emails was suspended (security) ). The letter confirms my new role title but explicitly states that all terms and conditions remain the same. I don't know how they can say everything remains the same when I now have a more junior grade!

I also realised that I was actually told at the time that the new role would be the same grade as my existing role - I had thought that a joint role might go up a grade, and was disappointed when I was told it would be the same!

I've put my issues in an email to my line manager and asked him to review the situation. Hopefully they'll realise that it's dodgy ground and revert me back to my original grade. If not, I'm quite prepared to engage a solicitor and fight if necessary.

The point that @daisychain01 made about my being at a disadvantage in not being there in the moment to talk it through is very true. I was fuzzy headed from tiredness and stress; if I'd been at work and switched on, maybe I'd have picked up on something.

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prh47bridge Tue 15-Dec-20 21:54:20

Salary isn't in our contracts

As I say, it always forms part of your contract. It may not be written down in the document they call your contract, but they cannot pretend that it is somehow separate.

As per my previous post, you should raise a grievance. ACAS can give good advice, but I've also seen them give extremely poor advice on occasion. If you want to be certain of the legal situation you should consult a solicitor. If you have legal cover on your home insurance you may be able to get them to pay the costs of legal advice.

daisychain01 Tue 15-Dec-20 20:37:57

I would definitely formalise your objections in a grievance and also validate the legal situation via ACAS and a solicitor. Ask if there are grounds for discrimination because this all happen while you were on Mat Leave thereby putting you at a severe disadvantage compared with being able to talk it through in the moment at work. They have clearly used your absence to pull the rug out from beneath you.

It cannot be considered a lower grade role when your responsibilities have been increased. The fact the other manager deciding to take redundancy speaks volumes, they weren't willing to be undervalued. By rights they could have advertised the team leader role rather than you getting it by default but I bet you they wouldn't have attracted any interest on the meagre rate of pay you've had to put up with. They've tried to pull a fast one on you and get your services on the cheap. Push back and don't put up with them doing that to you!

StressedAndDemoralised Tue 15-Dec-20 14:02:04

Salary isn't in our contracts, @JustLikeStitch, but grade/level of seniority is, and this is what has changed in this situation.

I'll consult ACAS and the "pregnant then screwed" helpline as advised - thank you.

I'm completely disappointed in my line manager and the organisation. They're now expecting me to do the work of two senior colleagues but in a reduced grade. And yes, although my salary remains the same, it's at the top of the band for this lower grade so I won't be eligible for payrises in the way I would if my grade had remained unchanged.

It's the dishonesty too. I think my boss didn't want to have a difficult conversation with me at the time and decided to deal with it when I came back, but he clearly doesn't understand that it would have been factored into my decision-making process.

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prh47bridge Tue 15-Dec-20 13:56:11

I’ve never seen salary or rate of pay in an employment contract before, you’d need a new employment contract every time your rate of pay changed if that was the case

It always forms part of the contract. You don't need a new contract when your pay rate changes. A letter confirming the pay rise or even the employer starting to pay at the new rate and the employee accepting it constitutes a variation of the contract.

@StressedAndDemoralised - if the change means you can no longer earn the 10% bonus this may be discrimination. It is, in any case, odd that a job with apparently more responsibility than your old job has a lower grade. You should start by lodging a formal grievance. You may also want to consult a solicitor who specialises in employment law.

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JustLikeStitch Tue 15-Dec-20 13:08:26

@DietCokePolice apologies, I assumed “terms” meant contracted terms for work hours, location, holidays etc. I’ve never seen salary or rate of pay in an employment contract before, you’d need a new employment contract every time your rate of pay changed if that was the case

DietCokePolice Tue 15-Dec-20 12:49:39

JustLikeStitch

You accepted the job despite not having any details about it, the job description being unfit for purpose and despite not knowing what the salary would be. Unfortunately I don’t think you’ve got a leg to stand on here, but I’m not well versed in employee law so I could be wrong

She was specifically told by her manager that there would be no change to her terms. That’s not at all accepting a job without any details.

OP please consult ACAS or the pregnant then screwed helpline for advice.

Sockbogies Tue 15-Dec-20 12:43:50

You have taken advanced maternity leave, and are entitled to return to the same job, on the same T&Cs as if you had not been absent unless there is some reason why it is not reasonably practicable (the old chestnut). Try ACAS for free guidance and support.

mvmvmvmv Tue 15-Dec-20 12:38:08

Are they keeping your salary where it was? So your pay won't go down, but you'll also not get future increases since you'll be being paid above the range for your new grade?

That's a bit shit. I suspect it's legal tho.

I am by no means a legal expert. You should speak to an employment lawyer, your company may be willing to fund or contribute towards this cost.

JustLikeStitch Tue 15-Dec-20 12:17:03

You accepted the job despite not having any details about it, the job description being unfit for purpose and despite not knowing what the salary would be. Unfortunately I don’t think you’ve got a leg to stand on here, but I’m not well versed in employee law so I could be wrong

StressedAndDemoralised Tue 15-Dec-20 12:12:50

I took a year's maternity leave starting December 2019. I'm now using some accrued holidays, but working a day here and there (1-2 days a week) to get back into things before I begin full-time in January.

My company had a restructure during the summer. I was told that my role as a team manager was being made redundant, and a new role was being created that would manage two teams (mine and a related function). The other manager decided to accept redundancy, so I was given the new joint role (by default, I guess).

I happened to log onto our HR system yesterday, and noticed that my grade is one lower than it should be (and has always been, since I started with the company four years ago). I texted my manager, thinking it was a mistake that just needed putting right, but he phoned me this morning saying that he'd wanted to tell me face-to-face when I was back from mat leave that the new role was benchmarked by HR during the restructure at the lower grade.

I'm very angry about this as I feel that he should have told me during the consultation meetings during the summer, as it would have impacted on my decision as to whether to accept the role or not. I didn't receive any documentation for the role; no contract, no letter etc. I had to repeatedly ask for the role description, and when I received it, it was riddled with mistakes and the grading had been left blank. Given that my manager had told me there would be no change to my terms, I had no reason to query this.

I'm so upset - firstly, from a professional point of view, but also financially it will have an impact as my salary is at the top of the band for the lower grade so I won't be eligible for any payrises or bonuses that I may earn (typically 2.5% payrise and 10% bonus).

Is this even legal? Can someone be demoted without their knowledge or consent?

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