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MNHQ here: Another FREE legal advice clinic from Maternity Action about pregnancy, maternity or parental issues at work

(17 Posts)

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JuliaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 05-Mar-21 15:25:08

Hello

Mumsnet and Maternity Action are teaming up to provide an online legal clinic, offering free advice on pregnancy, maternity and parental rights at work from volunteer employment solicitors and barristers who are members of the Employment Law Association.

Maternity Action reports huge demand for its advice line, especially topics such as redundancy during maternity leave, return to work and maternity pay, and on Mumsnet's Talk forums, the topic of employment rights is a hardy perennial.

The clinic will respond to this demand in a hopefully innovative way, providing free, accurate, public advice online and raising awareness of parents' rights at work. It will also enable Maternity Action and Mumsnet to identify trends and produce permanent content to address areas in which employers and workers could benefit from clear, upfront guidance.

The clinic will take the form of a 'Q&A' session on this dedicated thread, with members of the public posting questions about your questions on pregnancy, maternity and parental rights at work and benefits. Specialist solicitors and barristers will take necessary additional detail via private messaging before posting up answers and advice.

The clinic will run for a week from Monday 8th to Friday 12th March and will be held on a quarterly basis. We will do our best to provide all answers during the week but, at the latest, by the Tuesday of the following week. You can find information on where to go for more help once the clinic has ended here.

What to do if you’d like to post a question
If you have a question about your rights at work during pregnancy, maternity or parental leave please post it online during the week of the clinic. Please give as much information as possible but remember that this is an online forum and can be viewed by the public – including your colleagues and employer. Please don’t name your employer publicly if you are likely to be taking action against them in future. You can use the private message facility to disclose any information you would prefer to keep off the public forums.

Please send your name and the name of your employer by private message to @MaternityActionfreeadvice so that it can be passed on to the volunteers to do a conflict of interest check. We cannot post a reply until you have sent this information by private message. Once your advice has been posted online, you will have an opportunity to provide feedback. This helps us to find out whether you found the advice helpful, whether it helped you to resolve your situation at work and some information about you. All survey responses are anonymous and confidential. Providing feedback will help us to see what improvements can be made in developing this type of online free legal advice clinic. You can fill out the survey here

Ts and Cs – please read
The advice provided to an individual poster is based only on the information provided by that poster. Advice on this thread is also particular to the individual who has asked for it and is likely to be specific to that person’s situation. A poster may have provided further relevant information by private message which will not appear on this thread. So please take care if you choose to apply that advice to your own situation - it is recommended that you first take legal advice from one of the sources we have suggested here.
Mumsnet, Maternity Action and Maternity Action's volunteers accept no liability for any loss suffered as a result of an individual choosing to follow advice provided to another poster's question on the thread.
The lawyers, all of whom are specialists in employment law, will be working as volunteers for Maternity Action in respect of the clinic.
Any personal information collected as a result of the clinic will be held by Maternity Action and will be deleted after 18 months. If you wish to make a complaint about the service you received, you can use Maternity Action’s complaints policy here.

OP’s posts: |
Sadweeb Sat 06-Mar-21 13:30:24

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Mrscollier16 Tue 09-Mar-21 08:51:40

Would being put on furlough rather than full pay suspension at 28 weeks be classed as maternity discrimination?

I am currently 24 weeks pregnant. I informed my employer in writing on 10th January and have yet to receive a written response.I asked for but not had a risk assessment but my employer is discussing furloughing me from 28 weeks and employing someone else in my role. I am the only person who is employed by my employer currently.

As I work in my own office, I am happy to continue to work in the office with some minor changes but I don't feel listened to.

MrsWarrentobe Tue 09-Mar-21 18:29:51

I was made redundant in July whilst on maternity leave, two weeks after my mat leave started which was four days after my baby was born. I’ve found that you only have 3 months to do anything about this, is this true? It’s now been 8 months. It was the last thing on my mind what with having a newborn to look after and two other children under the age of four. Thanks

MrsABBab Tue 09-Mar-21 19:32:52

So I am returning back to work from Mat leave on Thursday. I have recently been told that I’m in fact pregnant again and am due in September. I have been categorised as a high risk pregnancy by my obstetric consultant and my gp has written a letter saying I need to work from home due to this. My employers current stand point is I can’t work from home. Is there anything I can do?

LB13LB13 Tue 09-Mar-21 20:20:31

My company has announced they are going through a restructure, reducing from 13 roles to 11 my current job is still there but yet I am being put into a pool and having to reapply for it. I have been on maternity leave for 9months and was planning to take 12months. Are they allowed to make me re apply for my role?

Linzmum2020 Wed 10-Mar-21 10:15:04

I've just returned from maternity and my role has changed, I've got less responsibilities than before my maternity. I don't have an up to date contract either. Do I have any rights or do I have to except my reduced role?

Gnomegnome Wed 10-Mar-21 16:08:03

Does anyone know if you can claim the new SEISS if you’ve just started maternity leave and are claiming maternity allowance please? Got nothing at all so far so keen to see if my business is worthy of this government!!!!

MaternityActionfreeadvice Thu 11-Mar-21 12:28:59

Gnomegnome

Does anyone know if you can claim the new SEISS if you’ve just started maternity leave and are claiming maternity allowance please? Got nothing at all so far so keen to see if my business is worthy of this government!!!!

Dear Gnomegnome

Thank you for your query. Guidance from HMRC on all previous SEISS grants has stated that receiving Maternity Allowance does not exclude you from the SEISS grant providing you meet the other eligibility conditions and can show that your business has been affected by coronavirus or would have been had you not been on your maternity leave.

We are still waiting for the Government to publish the full conditions for the fourth grant (Feb to April 2021) and fifth grant (May to Sept 2021) but it is unlikely there will be any change to this. This is the guidance that is available so far, so keep checking for updates: www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension

Maternity Action will also update our Covid FAQs on support for self-employed women when we get more information: maternityaction.org.uk/covidmaternityfaqs/

I hope that helps.

MaternityActionfreeadvice Thu 11-Mar-21 12:30:53

Mrscollier16

Would being put on furlough rather than full pay suspension at 28 weeks be classed as maternity discrimination?

I am currently 24 weeks pregnant. I informed my employer in writing on 10th January and have yet to receive a written response.I asked for but not had a risk assessment but my employer is discussing furloughing me from 28 weeks and employing someone else in my role. I am the only person who is employed by my employer currently.

As I work in my own office, I am happy to continue to work in the office with some minor changes but I don't feel listened to.

Dear Mrscollier16,

You asked whether being furloughed, rather than suspended on full pay at 28 weeks, would count as maternity discrimination. You have explained that you are 24 weeks pregnant; you informed your employer in writing on 10 January, but have not yet received a written response. You have asked for a risk assessment; this has not been carried out. Your employer is discussing placing you on furlough from 28 weeks and employing someone else in your role.

You are currently the sole employee. You have explained that you work in your own office, and would be happy to continue working in the office with minor changes.

The very short answer is “yes, that would be discrimination”. If your employer does not think that it is safe for you to work (and does not think that it can be made safe), then they must provide you with suitable alternative work, or suspend you on full pay. They are not entitled to furlough you as a cost-saving alternative.

The fact that your employer is considering employing another employee suggests that the amount of work has not diminished. They are unlikely to be able to furlough you as a result.

A failure to carry out a risk assessment is also likely to count as unlawful pregnancy discrimination.

The law says that the employer must not treat you “unfavourably” because of your pregnancy.

The employer is required to undertake a risk assessment (because of Regulation 16 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999), if the work is of a kind which could involve risk to the health and safety of either the mother or the baby. If that risk assessment identifies a risk, then the employer has to try to avoid that risk by changing working conditions or hours of work. If it isn’t reasonable to change working hours or conditions, then the employer shall suspend the employee on full pay.

Maternity Action has a helpful FAQ on rights and benefits during pregnancy and maternity leave here: maternityaction.org.uk/covidmaternityfaqs/

In terms of next steps, I recommend that you talk directly to your employer about this. Explain to them that they cannot use the furlough scheme as an alternative to suspending you on full pay, and that you are happy to continue working in the office with appropriate changes. Whether or not that is feasible will depend on the risk assessment. If the risk assessment flags up a workplace risk which cannot be avoided by changing working conditions or hours, then the employer should suspend you on full pay for as long as necessary to avoid the risk.

If your employer refuses to suspend you on full pay, but instead places you on furlough, they are likely to be in breach of discrimination law and also the “furlough” scheme regulations.

MaternityActionfreeadvice Thu 11-Mar-21 14:21:02

MrsABBab

So I am returning back to work from Mat leave on Thursday. I have recently been told that I’m in fact pregnant again and am due in September. I have been categorised as a high risk pregnancy by my obstetric consultant and my gp has written a letter saying I need to work from home due to this. My employers current stand point is I can’t work from home. Is there anything I can do?

Dear MrsABBab

Thank you for your query. Your employer has a legal duty to provide you with a safe place of work and must carry out a workplace risk assessment specifically covering risks to you as a pregnant employee. If your employer has not undertaken a risk assessment you should ask them to carry this out straight away. If your GP does not believe it would be safe for you to attend the workplace and has written to say so then your employer would appear to be in breach of this obligation if it sought to compel you to attend work irrespective of any further assessment.

Your employer must take reasonable action to remove any risks, including risks of infection from coronavirus, and must take account of any medical evidence and Government guidance on working from home wherever possible and making the workplace Covid-secure. If reasonable action such as altering your working conditions or hours of work would not avoid the risk, your employer must offer suitable alternative work on terms that are not "substantially less favourable" and where suitable alternative work is not available, your employer must suspend you on full pay.

If there is work that you can do from home and as that is advised by your GP I suggest talking to your employer about how this could work and what their objections are. If it is not possible to work from home your employer must suspend you on full pay if there are risks are work that they cannot remove. In practice it can be quite difficult to enforce your right to a maternity suspension so it is important to get information for your employer about your rights and, if necessary you could contact the HSE or your local environmental health officer (depending on your workplace): www.hse.gov.uk/contact/

The first step to take would be to ask your employer to carry out a risk assessment and take account of the evidence from your health professionals and Government guidance on pregnancy at work during the pandemic. You can find more information and a model letter for writing to your employer on the Maternity Action website here: maternityaction.org.uk/covidmaternityfaqs/

If you are unable to resolve it you can raise a grievance and I suggest seeking further advice. If there are risks at work and your employer does not carry out a risk assessment or provide adequate adjustments you may have a claim for pregnancy discrimination and/or indirect sex discrimination as a refusal to allow you to work from home may be a requirement which you cannot safely comply with at the current time because you are pregnant and have been medically advised against doing so.

The other options you may wish to consider are that if your workplace is affected by coronavirus you can ask your employer to place you on furlough leave until September, but bear in mind that your employer does not have to do so.

Finally, if you cannot work from home nor be placed on furlough leave then you would be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay if you are clinically “extremely vulnerable” but this can affect your entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay if you are on SSP in the middle of your pregnancy.

MaternityActionfreeadvice Fri 12-Mar-21 09:36:30

Linzmum2020

I've just returned from maternity and my role has changed, I've got less responsibilities than before my maternity. I don't have an up to date contract either. Do I have any rights or do I have to except my reduced role?

Hello Linzmum2020,

Your rights on returning to work after maternity leave are slightly different depending on how long you were off for on maternity leave. The quick answer is 6 months or less, you have a right to return to the same job. More than 6 months absence, and you have a right to return to the same job or if that’s not available, a suitable alternative. Because of those different rights, it’s important to figure out which applies to you, so I’ve included a bit more detail below and then some general advice on what to do.

Duration of maternity leave

The first 26 weeks of maternity leave is known as Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML). If you were off for 26 weeks or less of OML (or a combination of OML and shared parental leave (SPL)) then you have a right to return to the same job on no less favourable terms. That rule also applies if you took 26 weeks of OML (or OML and SPL combined) and then immediately went on to a period of less than 4 weeks of parental leave. I’ll just refer to that as being off for up-to 6 months.

If you were off for more than 26 weeks of maternity leave (that means you had a period of what is known as Additional Maternity Leave), and for some reason it is not reasonably practicable for you to return to the same role, you can be offered a different job provided it is suitable and appropriate, and the terms and conditions (i.e things like pay, hours and grade) are no less favourable than they would have been had you not been absent.

Often people take holidays or other forms of parental leave at either side of maternity leave. The 26 weeks mentioned above is calculated using time on maternity leave and SPL only. It does not include holidays. If you took normal parental leave of 4 weeks or more immediately after OML then there are slightly different rules. If you are right on the threshold then these points may be relevant.

Right to return to the same job

If you fall into that first category of returning to work within 6 months, you have the right to return to the same job on no less favourable terms. It sounds like your job is perhaps not exactly the same. I am not clear about how different it is though. Small changes may not amount to the job being different legally. Larger changes would. Your employer is only able to justify any differences if there has been a redundancy situation. That doesn’t need to mean dismissals, but could cover a general reduced requirement for your role as it was before. If the responsibilities that have been taken away from you have been given to someone else, then you should be entitled to get them back. If those responsibilities have gone, or changed in some way, then it may be that you should discuss with your employer other ways of making up the difference to try and put you in an equivalent position.

Right to return to a suitable alternative job

If you were off for more than 6 months, then the default is still that your employer should give you the same job back if they can. They have more scope to make changes if for some reason that is not practicable. For example, there had been a general re-structure or they are keeping on a maternity cover. They still need to offer you something suitable and appropriate (which I think your role would be as it seems the same but with some elements missing). The terms also need to be no less favourable (i.e. same hours and pay). You could argue that the remove of responsibilities means the terms are less favourable because you are not as senior or not getting the same experience. That may be true, though in practice if you haven’t suffered a formal reduction in status or pay, then you may not have clear and quantifiable loss associated with it. Again that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to correct the issue, it just means there may not be much financial benefit in pursuing matters formally.

Contract

You can ask for an updated contract. Your employer should provide one or explain that your existing one still applies, but if they do not, then legal recourse can be limited especially if you have a contract but are just keen for it to be updated. In practice most employers will comply with a contract request.

What can you do about it?

If you continue to be paid the same, then you have no financial loss. That means taking any legal action is not likely to be attractive either now, or unfortunately even if the matter persists. That doesn’t mean you should do nothing. In the first instance I suggest simply starting a conversation with your employer about the fact that the role/responsibilities seem to have changed, understand from them why that is (and if they are aware of it/agree), explain the impact it is having on you and importantly, that you do not think it is a suitable alternative to your previous role and you have a right to come back the same role or at least one that is no less favourable, and see if you can find a resolution. You may as part of that want to make them aware of your concerns that the change is unfairly linked to your maternity absence. However, I would always recommend trying to keep the dialogue positive and focus on finding a solution as in practice, that can often lead to the best result.

If that doesn’t work, then you can explore matters more formally through the grievance process. You should always keep in mind your desired outcome which I expect would be to get your old responsibilities back. With a larger employer the formal grievance can help to ensure the right people are addressing the problem. A word of caution is that unfortunately, raising a grievance formally can put an employer on the defensive and in some situations make matters worse. That shouldn’t happen but in practice it can do, so if you do go down this route, I still suggest trying to keep things amicable and forward looking as the aim will be to find a way to make your role work going forward.

It is normally best to only use legal claims as a last resort. The claim would likely be for discrimination on grounds of sex and/or maternity and pregnancy. If you win, you could get a remedy of injury to feelings, loss of earnings if any, and potentially a declaration about returning to your old role. But you would need to weigh up the pros and cons of taking that approach and it is not something I would suggest doing without working through what your desired outcome is and the impact the proceedings can have. A final word on claims is that there can be strict time limits that apply. You have 3 months (less one day) from the time the act you are complaining of took place, to contact Acas and start the tribunal process. So keep that date in mind. You cannot raise a stand-alone claim for failure to provide a contract, but if you are raising a claim anyway, then you can add in this complaint and it can lead to a slight increase in award.

MaternityActionfreeadvice Fri 12-Mar-21 09:39:18

LB13LB13

My company has announced they are going through a restructure, reducing from 13 roles to 11 my current job is still there but yet I am being put into a pool and having to reapply for it. I have been on maternity leave for 9months and was planning to take 12months. Are they allowed to make me re apply for my role?

Dear LB13LB13

Thank you for your query.

When an employer engages in a process that may result in redundancy, women on maternity leave do have a number of legal protections. While these protections do not mean that you cannot be made redundant while on maternity leave, they are designed to prevent your period of maternity leave from being detrimental or a negative factor for you in any redundancy process.

What this would normally mean for an employer selecting potential people for redundancy is that they would need to avoid criteria that puts you at a disadvantage because you are on maternity leave. For example recent performance, attendance, or projects etc.

I see from your summary below that your employer is proposing a process that only seeks to interview at risk employees with a view to reducing numbers from 13 to 11 employees. At the very least, your employer should be transparent about the criteria is using in the interview process to select the 11 people who stay. It will need to be clear that your period of maternity leave will not count against you in considering any of the responses to the interview panel. This can be very hard for an employer to do.

You can use this to try to demonstrate that it will be difficult for your employer to ensure that an ‘interview only’ redundancy process does not put you at a disadvantage because of your maternity leave. Presumably colleagues who are not on maternity leave will be able to discuss more recent and perhaps more direct experiences of the current challenges facing your employer. This would place you at a disadvantage because of your maternity leave, which is unlawful. So you should challenge the fairness of asking you to interview because you may already be starting on the back foot compared to others.

There is an additional provision which could assist you in general, and in challenging the above as part of the consultation process. Where an employer has a potentially suitable available role for a women on maternity leave, they have an obligation to offer that role to person on maternity leave without the need for an interview, even where this prioritises the person on maternity leave above someone who is also at risk of redundancy. You could argue that because your employer is only interviewing, this shows that you should be automatically placed in the role without having to interview. You could argue that all the 11 roles are effectively suitable alternative employment. Or, if that fails, you could explain that the reason women on maternity leave do not need to interview is because it is understood that there is an inherent unfairness in the interview process for people who have been away from the workplace, even for a relatively short period of time. As a result, the law has inserted this protection to automatically prioritise women on maternity leave over other at risk people.

I hope this helps.

ALifeofChaos Fri 12-Mar-21 12:06:55

I freelanced for a client for around 1.5 years before they asked if I wanted to go on a 6 month FTC. I did so so as not to lose a client and because of lockdown. I also missed being part of a team.

When we had the chat, it was clear that it's more of a "let's see if it works for us both" as it was with a view to going perm. I don't see that the work I'm supposed to do is temporary at all - it's ongoing. The big question is whether it makes sense for someone to be doing the job permanently or not i.e. more cost-effective.

Anyway, the general day-to-day talks suggest they see me in their future (things like my line manager asking what I'd like to explore more in my role as it develops, etc, and invites for big meetings after my contract expires). It's coming to the end of my contract though in a couple of months and I obviously need to know if it will be extended.

The problem is, I'm now pregnant but very early days (7.5 weeks). By the end of the contract, I'd be past 12 weeks. Me being me, I'd feel so guilty chasing and trying to push for perm (if they're happy) knowing I'm pregnant. Equally, I feel like the FTC means I have less protection and so I don't feel like I want to admit to it now just in case as we need the money and would have to move without the job. (I got no covid help either as new to freelancing but lost a very big retainer.)

I don't know how to broach it. To make matters worse, I am utterly exhausted and it's affecting my productivity so badly. I'm working at about 25% productivity and having to do extra days to catch up (I'm part-time) but it's still not enough. I have to be in the zone for what I do.

I feel bad for effectively being useless for half of the contract. I'd love to say it's just that though but I wasn't 100% before either as employee distractions have once again not mixed well with my ADHD (which I've not told them about as I usually just make up for it with extra work and I still need to send the report to my doctor - the diagnosis came in lockdown when the issues I'd always had came to a breaking point). Plus I felt my productivity already go down a bit with the latest lockdown - I think maybe I've been slightly depressed as I was getting tired so easily and getting brain fog. (Though nothing like the pregnancy.)

When I took the contract it was clear I was their first choice out of a lot of freelancers. Previous clients also rate my work highly BUT they rate the end result and don't see the chaos and disorganization behind the scenes.

So in short:
1) I'd like to work for them on a perm basis.
2) I don't know when to tell them about the pregnancy - before or after trying to negotiate the contract? Would doing it now explain my unproductivity or shall I try to overcome this until I get a contract?
3) Should I ever admit to the ADHD? Once breastfeeding is over with (though that took forever last time) I could take meds.
4) When I do tell them is it best to be honest about the fact I knew I may try but had no idea how long a second child would take?

I could still miscarry at any time as only 7.5 weeks. I absolutely hate lying and being deceptive, though, and worry about being called out on getting behind.

MaternityActionfreeadvice Tue 16-Mar-21 12:41:41

ALifeofChaos

I freelanced for a client for around 1.5 years before they asked if I wanted to go on a 6 month FTC. I did so so as not to lose a client and because of lockdown. I also missed being part of a team.

When we had the chat, it was clear that it's more of a "let's see if it works for us both" as it was with a view to going perm. I don't see that the work I'm supposed to do is temporary at all - it's ongoing. The big question is whether it makes sense for someone to be doing the job permanently or not i.e. more cost-effective.

Anyway, the general day-to-day talks suggest they see me in their future (things like my line manager asking what I'd like to explore more in my role as it develops, etc, and invites for big meetings after my contract expires). It's coming to the end of my contract though in a couple of months and I obviously need to know if it will be extended.

The problem is, I'm now pregnant but very early days (7.5 weeks). By the end of the contract, I'd be past 12 weeks. Me being me, I'd feel so guilty chasing and trying to push for perm (if they're happy) knowing I'm pregnant. Equally, I feel like the FTC means I have less protection and so I don't feel like I want to admit to it now just in case as we need the money and would have to move without the job. (I got no covid help either as new to freelancing but lost a very big retainer.)

I don't know how to broach it. To make matters worse, I am utterly exhausted and it's affecting my productivity so badly. I'm working at about 25% productivity and having to do extra days to catch up (I'm part-time) but it's still not enough. I have to be in the zone for what I do.

I feel bad for effectively being useless for half of the contract. I'd love to say it's just that though but I wasn't 100% before either as employee distractions have once again not mixed well with my ADHD (which I've not told them about as I usually just make up for it with extra work and I still need to send the report to my doctor - the diagnosis came in lockdown when the issues I'd always had came to a breaking point). Plus I felt my productivity already go down a bit with the latest lockdown - I think maybe I've been slightly depressed as I was getting tired so easily and getting brain fog. (Though nothing like the pregnancy.)

When I took the contract it was clear I was their first choice out of a lot of freelancers. Previous clients also rate my work highly BUT they rate the end result and don't see the chaos and disorganization behind the scenes.

So in short:
1) I'd like to work for them on a perm basis.
2) I don't know when to tell them about the pregnancy - before or after trying to negotiate the contract? Would doing it now explain my unproductivity or shall I try to overcome this until I get a contract?
3) Should I ever admit to the ADHD? Once breastfeeding is over with (though that took forever last time) I could take meds.
4) When I do tell them is it best to be honest about the fact I knew I may try but had no idea how long a second child would take?

I could still miscarry at any time as only 7.5 weeks. I absolutely hate lying and being deceptive, though, and worry about being called out on getting behind.

Dear ALifeofChaos

I sympathise with your position. You clearly want to take an ethical /responsible approach as well as protecting your position, which is commendable. What I am not quite clear on is whether your current contract is a fixed term employment contract, or still a freelance one. I assume from what you have said that it is a 6 month fixed term employment contract. This will impact your entitlement to statutory maternity pay (SMP), as outlined below. Taking the key issues in turn:

Notification of pregnancy – Your employer has a duty not to discriminate against you because of your pregnancy, which will bite once you inform them of this. So, if they did not offer you a permanent contract because you are pregnant, you would have a claim. That said, it may be hard to prove that was the reason for the refusal and, more importantly, your wish is to continue the relationship, not end with a dispute. My pragmatic advice would be not to tell them at this stage; partly because it may affect negotiations and also because you are in the early stages of pregnancy and do not know what will happen. I suggest that you wait until after the 12 week scan- by this stage you will, hopefully, have secured a new contract and, it is perfectly understandable and indeed usual, not to announce a pregnancy before then. On the basis that the new contract is an employment contract, not a freelance one, you will then be entitled to statutory maternity leave which will give you the right to return to the same job after your leave if your contract is permanent or up until the end of a fixed term contract if that ends earlier.

Maternity pay - If you have been continuously employed for 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth and you are still employed in that week and you have average earnings of at least £120pw in approximately weeks 18 - 26 of your pregnancy you will be entitled to SMP from your employer. You can qualify for SMP if you have a contract of employment or if you are freelance and paid through the employer's payroll with tax and NI deducted at source. If you are not able to meet the qualifying conditions for SMP or your fixed term contract ends before the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth, you can claim Maternity Allowance from DWP. You can claim Maternity Allowance on the basis of your employed work and freelance work if you are a self-employed freelancer. Maternity Action has an information sheet on maternity pay here: maternityaction.org.uk/advice/maternity-pay-questions/

ADHD - ADHD is potentially a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act, entitling you to protection from discrimination (as with pregnancy) but the same arguments against informing your employer at this point apply here too; the risk is that it could muddy the waters in terms of your being offered a permanent contract. It may be appropriate to inform your employer later on but given this is such an early diagnosis and you do not yet know the ramifications, I would not do so at this stage. If it appears down the line that the condition places you at a substantial disadvantage in terms of certain aspects of your role (eg, due to the inability to concentrate ), then your employer may have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to alleviate this disadvantage, so informing them would be helpful. However, at the moment there are too many other factors involved to be clear about the effect of this, in and of itself, and I would suggest waiting to do so at least for the time being and potentially until after any maternity leave.

From what you have said, you are clearly very able and good at your job, which is why clients and the company rate your work highly. It would appear that you are most likely to be the one suffering, by having to put in additional hours, so I would try not to feel too bad about it from the company’s perspective. You are entitled to think about best protecting your position, just as the company will be considering what is best for it.

I hope this provides some help.

MaternityActionfreeadvice Tue 16-Mar-21 12:42:39

MrsWarrentobe

I was made redundant in July whilst on maternity leave, two weeks after my mat leave started which was four days after my baby was born. I’ve found that you only have 3 months to do anything about this, is this true? It’s now been 8 months. It was the last thing on my mind what with having a newborn to look after and two other children under the age of four. Thanks

Dear MrsWarrentobe

I am sorry to hear of your redundancy. Unfortunately you are right in that for most employment claims there is a time limit of three months (less one day) for starting tribunal proceedings. This means that you must contact ACAS within the time limit in order to start early conciliation and if ACAS are not able to help you and your employer resolve your dispute, you have a further month from the date of the ACAS Early Conciliation certificate in which to issue your employment tribunal claim.

If your claim is for unfair dismissal, you would ordinarily be expected to start your claim through ACAS within three months from the date your employment ended. A tribunal can consider a late claim if it was not 'reasonably practicable' for you to make the claim within the time limit. The tribunal will still expect you to have presented your claim within a reasonable period. If your claim includes a claim for discrimination e.g. pregnancy discrimination or disability discrimination, the time limit is also three months from the date of the act you are complaining about (i.e. the date of redundancy) and a tribunal can extend the time limit if they consider it is 'just and equitable' in all the circumstances.

In practice it can be difficult to successfully argue that the time limit should be extended so it is important to get advice on what claims you might have, the strength of those claims and whether it is worthwhile pursuing in view of the time limit difficulties you may face. You can find more information here: maternityaction.org.uk/where-to-go-for-more-help-legal-clinic/

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 16-Mar-21 13:21:19

Thanks so much to Maternity Action and to their volunteers, as ever, for their work.

We're going to close this thread now - thanks for your questions.

MNHQ

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