MNHQ here: post your pregnancy & maternity work questions here for FREE legal advice from Maternity Action

(38 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 09-Sep-21 17:05:06

Hello

A big autumn-style welcome back to our regular FREE legal clinics with a brilliant team of volunteer specialist employment solicitors and barristers, organised by Maternity Action.

Are you confused about your rights during maternity leave? Have you come back to find you're in a completely different role? Has your employer told you it's not possible to take parental leave? Are you a dad who's struggling to get your employer to understand Shared Parental Leave? Do you think you are being treated differently since becoming a parent? We've got you.

See below for the details - but if you have a worry, concern or question about anything to do with work and pregnancy, maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave, then please put it here and hopefully the wonderful barristers and solicitors will be able to help you find a way through.

You can also take a look here to see some common questions and answers from previous clinics.

Free online advice clinic – 13 - 17 September 2021
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 Mumsnet, with members of the public posting questions about your questions on pregnancy, maternity and parental rights at work and benefits on a dedicated public discussion thread. 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 13th to Friday 17th September. 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
1.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.

2.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.

3.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: |
workdramas Thu 09-Sep-21 19:44:19

I'm interested in seeking advice.

How do I send a private message? I don't see an option to do so. I'm using the app.

I've returned to work after maternity leave. I asked for reduced hours from 35 to 32 per week. We have an unusual set up in that there are two departments under one roof but one person is managing the daily running of the branch and she is basically saying my hours don't work. I feel victimised and now she's persuading the owners to get me out so that her daughter can take my place. I wouldn't be sacked just changed role and redistributed out the town I live and work in.

It doesn't feel right. Please advise.

Hibiscusroses Thu 09-Sep-21 20:19:48

I'm currently on maternity leave. Have worked for my employer for 12 years. I've just found out that my appraisal was done on the basis of feedback that's never been shared with me and I have been blamed for a major issue that happened after I went on leave. As a result, I've had a negative appraisal with zero bonus or payrise awarded, for the first time ever. I've always been a top performer prior to this, and feel I've been disadvantaged by being on maternity leave. Is there anything I can do here?

1990b Thu 09-Sep-21 20:45:35

Hi,

I am being refused a payrise as apparently my maternity leave began in the financial year 20/21

I have been told that as the 6 weeks at 90% ended on the 1st of April, l am not entitled to receive the payrise which would be calculated based on the 90% pay.

Please can you provide some clarification. I am happy to send you emails sent by employer explaining why l won't be recieving it.

HadABabyAtTheWrongTime Thu 09-Sep-21 23:06:41

Where I work we get a non-consolidated lump sum, as well as a pay rise, if we meet performance criteria. If you are absent for 37 weeks in one performance year you lose this payment, even if you have always met performance criteria previously.
It means people who have babies and take a year off starting in Sept get the payment, but people who take a year off from March don't.
It has been queried multiple times with HR, but the response is just that you have to be present for the right number of weeks at the right time.
This doesn't seem to tie in with advice about performance rating during maternity leave, is it legal?

JasonMomoasgirlfriend Thu 09-Sep-21 23:54:11

I'd my job safe if redundancies are announced when I have actually started maternity leave? I know I could be at risk before I go off, so just want to clarify what would happen if I am already on maternity leave. Thanks.

theconfused Fri 10-Sep-21 20:07:44

My husband recently started a job (before we knew about my pregnancy) and he asked his employer to start a little later as he had to take me to hospital (usually arranged with my family but on this occasion we were stuck).

His employer quizzed him on why he didn't disclose this at the interview (not sure if he was meant to discuss with them?)

But anyways he's been told they need "notice" to go to scan appointments (I thought they'd be allowed 2 days off) and that he'd struggle for getting paternity?

Which I thought is due to some qualifying period which obviously he wouldn't meet but not even the scans?

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onanadventure Sat 11-Sep-21 10:22:33

I'm interested in knowing how working while getting maternity allowance works.
Is it that in the week you do work (over the 10 KIT days), you don't get the allocation of Mat allowance? - I think I read that somewhere?
Or does it proportionally reduce.
So if in a week you do 2 days of work you get 5/7ths of the mat allowance for that week?
thanks

Anonymous06082020 Sun 12-Sep-21 16:33:39

Hello. I am hoping someone can help and sorry for the long post.
I am a single mother to 2 kids youngest 18 months. When I had my youngest I went back to work after 4 months (ppd) and it was bang in Covid.
I also went full time when I was originally part time. I am now struggling with the full time work load and have asked to reduce my hours as now I want to spend more time with my kids.
They have allowed me 2 half days, I asked for a full day but understand the business needs. So I was made up with two half days. However, this can only start from October and the first week my half days was meant to start I have been booked in for two meetings.
They are throwing more and more at me (workwisr) and I broke down on Friday and requested a sick note. Now I am struggling to sleep and feel like a complete failure both my career and my children.
I am so upset having to get a sick note but I tried to explain but I am not the type of person to start crying and telling management by business. Every day I plan to work from home a stupid reason comes up where I have to be I the office.
Please tell me it will be ok

DazzlePaintedBattlePants Mon 13-Sep-21 07:40:10

My work no longer has a maternity and pregnancy policy - instead it’s got a new and expectant persons policy. It’s particularly important because it covers health and safety around lab work, and because it is no longer specifying expectant mothers, we can’t keep proper records as expectant fathers also count. It makes no mention of the protected class.

I’ve repeatedly emailed both Occupational Health, HR and the Equalities team about this and no one has replied to my emails. Is the policy fit for purpose?

MaternityActionfreeadvice Mon 13-Sep-21 09:20:22

Good morning everyone, thank you to those who have already posted on the clinic. Just to confirm this is the username that you will have to PM your full name and the name of your employer to, this will enable us to allocate your query to a volunteer.
We will PM all posters to request this information if we have not yet received it.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Sep-21 10:33:22

workdramas

I'm interested in seeking advice.

How do I send a private message? I don't see an option to do so. I'm using the app.

I've returned to work after maternity leave. I asked for reduced hours from 35 to 32 per week. We have an unusual set up in that there are two departments under one roof but one person is managing the daily running of the branch and she is basically saying my hours don't work. I feel victimised and now she's persuading the owners to get me out so that her daughter can take my place. I wouldn't be sacked just changed role and redistributed out the town I live and work in.

It doesn't feel right. Please advise.

So sorry @workdramas - PMs don't work on the app. Could we ask you to log in on desktop or mobile and send a PM that way?

Apologies
MNHQ

OP’s posts: |
Anon12340 Mon 13-Sep-21 16:23:04

Hi, I've recently returned to work from a years maternity leave and I have found that the majority of my role has been given to the individual who was employed as my maternity cover. They have taken this individual on as a full time member of staff, not on a fixed term maternity contract. My job description is very vague and woolly and I held what they term an "appointment". This appointment is what I specialise in and took up to 95% of my day job for approximately 4 years prior to my maternity leave. My employer is now refusing to reinstate this part of my work without my consent and wishes me to do other work "for the good of the business". I just want to pick up where I left off prior to maternity leave. There have been no significant changes to the business which would necessitate such a change.

MaternityActionfreeadvice Tue 14-Sep-21 09:14:09

1990b

Hi,

I am being refused a payrise as apparently my maternity leave began in the financial year 20/21

I have been told that as the 6 weeks at 90% ended on the 1st of April, l am not entitled to receive the payrise which would be calculated based on the 90% pay.

Please can you provide some clarification. I am happy to send you emails sent by employer explaining why l won't be recieving it.

Dear 1990b

Thank you for your query. The timing of your maternity leave/pay does not make any difference to your entitlement to have a pay rise reflected in your maternity pay.

You are not entitled to 'remuneration' during maternity leave - this is your usual salary/wages - but you should be entitled to SMP or Maternity Allowance during your maternity leave period. Any pay rise that you are awarded during your maternity leave will usually only start to be paid from when you return to work, however, if you are awarded a pay rise at any time between the start of your calculation period for your SMP up to the end of your maternity leave, you are entitled to have your average weekly earnings recalculated and to be awarded any increase in your SMP payments. The start of your calculation period for SMP is the 8 weeks (if paid weekly) or 2 months (if paid monthly) before the 15th week before your baby was due.

This will usually mean that you are entitled to an increase in your SMP for the first 6 weeks during which your SMP is based on 90% of your average weekly earnings. If you are on a low wage and did not meet the qualifying conditions for SMP or you were not entitled to the standard rate (currently £151.97 per week) for the remaining 33 weeks, you would be entitled to any increase for that period as well.

I suggest showing your employer the following guidance on the Government website which confirms your entitlement to have your SMP recalculated:
www.gov.uk/guidance/statutory-maternity-pay-employee-circumstances-that-affect-payment

This says: 'Employee earnings affected by a pay rise

A pay rise must not be withheld because of maternity leave.

You must recalculate the average weekly earnings (AWE) to take account of pay rises awarded, or that would have been awarded had your employee not been on maternity leave.

This applies if the pay rise was effective from anytime between the start of the 8 week relevant period for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and the end of the statutory maternity leave.'

Your employer is entitled to reimbursement from HMRC of the SMP they pay you, including any increase as a result of a pay rise. If your employer needs further advice on calculating and paying SMP or how to claim reimbursement, they can get help from the HMRC Employers Helpline on 0300 200 3200.

I hope that helps. If you are refused an increase in your SMP, you should seek further advice: maternityaction.org.uk/where-to-go-for-more-help-legal-clinic/

Anon0987679 Tue 14-Sep-21 13:17:25

I require a non-pregnancy related medical procedure which cannot be performed while I'm pregnant, so will likely take place relatively soon after giving birth. Recovery following the procedure is likely to take several months minimum and could be much longer. What are my options in terms of paid time off from work?
In an ideal world I would have taken 9 months maternity leave (28 weeks of which is fully paid by my employer, with a further 11 weeks SMP) and then made use of the shared parental leave scheme to allow my partner to take the remaining 13 weeks unpaid while I return to work. I'm quite concerned that much of my maternity leave will be spent recovering from this medical procedure, rather than caring for my baby. In addition, my partner will need time off from work much earlier than planned to help take care of me and the baby during recovery. However from what I understand my only options are to take my 9 months off as planned (accepting I will be out of action for much of this, and my partner may need to use his 3 months off simultaneously to care for me) or to use SPL to 'return to work' before the procedure, allowing me to instead use sick leave for recovery and preserve the SPL time off. As we work for different employers the latter means we would take a quite financial hit, as we would only be entitled to the minimum ShPP rather than my 6 months of full pay. Are there any other options I've overlooked? It all feels very unfair given that if the procedure could be performed now I would be entitled to sick leave to recover, as well as maternity leave as normal!

ahanna91 Tue 14-Sep-21 13:34:03

Hi,

Hoping to get some advice on returning to work after maternity leave - I was due to return to work in April 2021 after taking a years maternity leave.
I emailed my place of work in January to ask whether I would be able to return on a part time basis after having my child, preferably 2 days of work. They responded the following day stating I could only return full time. I then got in touch with maternity advice who told me I should ask for more flexibility etc. I did this to then be told they could offer me a Tuesday/Thursday & 1 Saturday morning a month once they resume after Covid restrictions were lifted (I worked 1 sat a month before going on maternity leave). I then asked for the PM to send me over a new contract with everything in, hours, pay, holidays etc due to me going from full time to part time. I was then emailed a contract not fully filled out & told that they were back to deciding on what days they needed me due to business needs but 16 hours still remained. I replied saying I understand but would need to know days for childcare. I was then told Weds/Fri & every Saturday. I explained the week days were ideal but every Saturday was not with having a young family so there would be any flexibility? As the contract I had been sent did state 1 Saturday a month. They said no I would be required to work every Saturday. I felt I had no option but to hand my notice in.
I have now found out after taking my son to an appointment today that none of the staff are even working Saturdays at present. Is there any further action I can take as I feel like I was pushed out?

Thanks.

MaternityActionfreeadvice Tue 14-Sep-21 15:55:29

onanadventure

I'm interested in knowing how working while getting maternity allowance works.
Is it that in the week you do work (over the 10 KIT days), you don't get the allocation of Mat allowance? - I think I read that somewhere?
Or does it proportionally reduce.
So if in a week you do 2 days of work you get 5/7ths of the mat allowance for that week?
thanks

Dear onanadventure

Thank you for your query. You are entitled to work for up to ten Keeping in touch (KIT) days without bringing your maternity leave or pay to an end. Any work you do, even for an hour on one day, will count as a full KIT day so, wherever possible, it can help to do as much work as you can on a KIT day, rather than spreading your work across the week.

You must notify DWP of your days of work. Once you have done more than ten KIT days, DWP can disqualify you from receiving the rest of your Maternity Allowance (MA), however, you should only be disqualified 'as is reasonable in the circumstances'. This means that they should consider how many days you used to work before your maternity leave and how many days you are continuing to work after your ten KIT days. If they think that you have returned to your old working pattern, you are likely to be disqualified from any remaining weeks of Maternity Allowance (unless you notify them that you have stopped work for the remainder of your MA period).

The decision-maker's guide gives some examples of a reasonable disqualification, for example, if you used to work full time before your maternity leave and you return to work for one day a week during your MA period, you should only lose 1/7th of your weekly MA payment (after the ten KIT days). If you returned for 2 days a week you should only lose 2/7th of your weekly MA payment.

However, in some circumstances, you could lose a full week's MA if you do a lot of work in that week or you appear to have returned to your old working pattern. For example, if you used to work 2 days a week before your leave and, after 6 months on maternity leave, you start working 2 days a week, you are likely to be disqualified from the remainder of your MA.

If your work is self-employed, DWP ignore essential administrative tasks, including maintaining your website and qualifications (providing it's not paid-for training) and arranging and accepting work that will begin after your maternity leave.

If you take on more than ten KIT days during your maternity leave and you are unreasonably disqualified from Maternity Allowance you can challenge it by asking for a mandatory reconsideration (a review) of the DWP decision. You should set out your old working pattern, the dates of your KIT days and ask DWP to reconsider a reasonable reduction in your weekly Maternity Allowance payments.

I hope that helps.

MaternityActionfreeadvice Tue 14-Sep-21 16:04:53

JasonMomoasgirlfriend

I'd my job safe if redundancies are announced when I have actually started maternity leave? I know I could be at risk before I go off, so just want to clarify what would happen if I am already on maternity leave. Thanks.

Hi JasonMamoasgirlfriend,

Many thanks for your question.

The short answer to your query is unfortunately yes, you can be made redundant while pregnant or on maternity leave. However, certain special protections may apply in some cases. Your employer should remain in contact with you during your maternity leave in respect of any redundancy process.

Firstly, when selecting employees for redundancy, your employer cannot use the fact that you are pregnant or on maternity leave as a reason to select you. Nor are they permitted to treat you less favourably because of something connected with your pregnancy/maternity leave. For example, it is common in redundancy situations for employers to have to select who to make redundant out of a group of people who perform similar jobs. In order to decide who to select, they may mark staff against a list of categories (attendance, performance, experience, skills etc.). It would be discriminatory for an employer to give you a low mark for absence if the reason for absence was maternity leave or pregnancy related for example. As such, they should take care to ensure that you are not scored less favourably because of something connected with your pregnancy or maternity.

Once the scoring has been carried out, it may still be that you fall to the bottom of the group and as such are provisionally selected for redundancy. It could also be that all staff (or all staff who carry out a role similar to yours) are being made redundant and so no scoring was carried out. Unfortunately, you are not protected from being selected for redundancy provided the process used has not disadvantaged you because of pregnancy/maternity. In some redundancy situation, this will be the last step, and all those provisionally selected for redundancy will be dismissed by reason of redundancy.

However, that is not always the case. In some circumstances, while your current role may be disappearing by reason of redundancy, your employer may have some alternative vacancies available for staff who are provisionally selected for redundancy to apply for. If the alternative vacancy is sufficiently similar to your current role, it will be classed as a "suitable alternative vacancy". Employees on maternity leave have a right of first refusal on suitable alternative vacancies. This means that even if your employer would prefer to give that role to a colleague, they are legally required to offer it to you first. If other employees are absent on maternity leave (or shared parental leave for example) they have the same right so you can find yourself competing with those employees for the position. If you are offered, but unreasonably refuse a suitable alternative vacancy, you will lose your right to statutory redundancy pay.

As explained, if no suitable alternative vacancies exist and there is a genuine redundancy situation you can be made redundant. However, you are entitled to any statutory redundancy pay, contractual redundancy pay, notice pay and accrued but untaken holiday pay that you qualify for. If you have qualified for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you will be eligible to be paid for the full period even if you are made redundant during your maternity leave. This can be paid periodically or in a lump sum. You may lose your right to enhanced maternity pay.

If you feel you are being unfairly targeted as a redundancy candidate, due to being pregnant or on maternity leave, you should raise this as soon as you can with your employer. Normally this would be done as part of the redundancy process in the first instance. You can raise a grievance to try and resolve matters internally. If that is not successful you must contact ACAS if you want to pursue a tribunal claim. There are strict time limits to raise a tribunal claim, you must contact ACAS Early Conciliation within three months (less one day) from the date of any redundancy. If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed or discriminated against during any current or future redundancy process I would advise you speak to a solicitor about your individual circumstances and the likelihood of success if you were to bring a claim.

I wish you all the best and please refer to the Maternity Action website for more information relating to redundancy during pregnancy, maternity and parental leave maternityaction.org.uk/advice/redundancy-during-pregnancy-and-maternity-leave/

Panda8383 Tue 14-Sep-21 19:41:29

I’ve been off for a while at work due to a miscarriage( I believed this was classed as a pregnancy related issue) so this wouldn’t affect your normal absences and there was no limit on how long you could be off for as long as sick note stated pregnancy related sickness or miscarriage. My manager told me that the legal team advised I would stop being paid and I did argue the case, am I correct in saying I should be paid as long as sick note stated pregnancy/miscarriage.. however I then fell pregnant again not long after this conversation and my line was changed to pregnancy related..I was told by manager this would be reviewed on a month to month basis and they wouldn’t change the reason I was off on my sickness record( I didn’t think this was following procedures?) where do I stand with that? Also is your miscarriage classes as pregnant related with no time limit on this as long as this is stated on your doctors note? I have also sent a PM with my details, many thanks

JasonMomoasgirlfriend Wed 15-Sep-21 08:24:57

@MaternityActionfreeadvice thank you very much for the detailed response. smile

rose1012 Wed 15-Sep-21 12:41:47

RowanMumsnet

Hello

A big autumn-style welcome back to our regular FREE legal clinics with a brilliant team of volunteer specialist employment solicitors and barristers, organised by Maternity Action.

Are you confused about your rights during maternity leave? Have you come back to find you're in a completely different role? Has your employer told you it's not possible to take parental leave? Are you a dad who's struggling to get your employer to understand Shared Parental Leave? Do you think you are being treated differently since becoming a parent? We've got you.

See below for the details - but if you have a worry, concern or question about anything to do with work and pregnancy, maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave, then please put it here and hopefully the wonderful barristers and solicitors will be able to help you find a way through.

You can also take a look here to see some common questions and answers from previous clinics.

Free online advice clinic – 13 - 17 September 2021
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 Mumsnet, with members of the public posting questions about your questions on pregnancy, maternity and parental rights at work and benefits on a dedicated public discussion thread. 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 13th to Friday 17th September. 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
1.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.

2.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.

3.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.


Hi my partner is having issues with child care from work as I work weekends for nhs and he is a bus driver. He has asked his work place if they could assist him by allowing him not to work weekends to care for our son but they have refused what can we do

MaternityActionfreeadvice Wed 15-Sep-21 13:17:26

Hibiscusroses

I'm currently on maternity leave. Have worked for my employer for 12 years. I've just found out that my appraisal was done on the basis of feedback that's never been shared with me and I have been blamed for a major issue that happened after I went on leave. As a result, I've had a negative appraisal with zero bonus or payrise awarded, for the first time ever. I've always been a top performer prior to this, and feel I've been disadvantaged by being on maternity leave. Is there anything I can do here?

Dear Hibiscusroses

I understand that you are currently on maternity leave, having been employed for 12 years. You have since found out there was some negative feedback on a matter which was not shared with you, having been blamed for an issue which occurred after you left. This resulted in a negative appraisal and no bonus or pay rise.

It is surprising that the feedback took place without you. If it is a normal process of the company to conduct an appraisal without the input or feedback of the employee, and the company can demonstrate this is normal practice, then this is arguably just the company operating “business as usual” and there hasn’t been any different treatment of you because of your maternity leave. It’s a questionable practice but not discriminatory.

If, however, you were deprived of the opportunity to input into an appraisal or explain the poor feedback, or explain why you were not culpable for the issue, because you were on maternity leave, then this may amount to unfavourable treatment because of your maternity leave. In short the argument would be that you didn’t have the opportunity to explain this issue, which has then resulted in a negative outcome and resulted in financial losses. Had you been given that opportunity, perhaps the position with the bonus and pay rise would be different. If this is the case, then this is something which you may wish to raise with your employer, initially through their internal grievance process.

If this cannot be resolved internally, you may wish to escalate this claim formally in the Tribunal. The first step of escalating any claim in the Tribunal is to use the Acas Early Conciliation service to seek a resolution. You should be aware that there are time limits to do this and that, as a general rule, you must approach Acas within 3 months less one day of the last act of discrimination. There is more information on time limits and further support, please look here: maternityaction.org.uk/where-to-go-for-more-help-legal-clinic/

johnsel Thu 16-Sep-21 08:24:06

Hi,
I’m in my first trimester (8w) and on the verge of a promotion / pay rise (review booked in Oct)
I wasn’t planning to tell my boss about the pregnancy yet until after my scan etc and until after I got this pay rise written in stone… just in case.

But unfortunately my morning sickness is so severe it’s affecting my work, so I have mentioned to my immediate team that I’m pregnant so they can cover for me when I’m having a really bad sickness day. But I have asked them not to tell the boss or HR yet.

So I guess I’m looking for advice around:
1. If they say my sickness is too frequent that they need to tell my bosses, can they do this without my consent if it’s affecting my performance?
2. If my bosses are to be informed could this affect my promotion and pay rise?
3. Am I better holding out as long as I can until my promotion is confirmed before telling anyone else?
4. Am I entitled to pregnancy related sick days (so not on my record as loads of sick days) even if I don’t ‘formally’ tell bosses & HR that I’m pregnant? Or do I have to formally report it to get support?

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!!
Thanks

MaternityActionfreeadvice Thu 16-Sep-21 12:57:49

Anon12340

Hi, I've recently returned to work from a years maternity leave and I have found that the majority of my role has been given to the individual who was employed as my maternity cover. They have taken this individual on as a full time member of staff, not on a fixed term maternity contract. My job description is very vague and woolly and I held what they term an "appointment". This appointment is what I specialise in and took up to 95% of my day job for approximately 4 years prior to my maternity leave. My employer is now refusing to reinstate this part of my work without my consent and wishes me to do other work "for the good of the business". I just want to pick up where I left off prior to maternity leave. There have been no significant changes to the business which would necessitate such a change.

Dear Anon12340,

Thank you for your query.

I understand you were off for a year on maternity leave. That being the case, the law says that you are entitled to return to the same job unless it is not “reasonably practicable” for your employer to permit you to do so. There are two parts to this:

What is the same job? I appreciate that you say your job description is vague and woolly - however, determining what the ‘same job’ is goes beyond simply what your contract/job description says; this would also involve looking at what you were actually doing before your maternity leave started

It being reasonably practicable for your employer to permit you to do so. From your post, it sounds as if the substantive work you were doing before (and had been doing for 4 years prior) is still required and being done. However, it is your (now permanent) maternity cover who is continuing to do this work instead of you. The fact that your employer might prefer for that individual to keep performing this role is unlikely to mean that it was not “reasonably practicable” for you to return to that role. If they cannot justify why you are unable to return to that role, your employer’s actions here may amount to discrimination because of pregnancy and maternity.

The next question is therefore what you do about it. Your informal discussions to date have not led to a resolution. I would therefore recommend that you write to your employer through its internal grievance system and formally express your disappointment at not being allowed to return to the same role you left. Ask them to explain why this happened. You should also be clear on what you would like to see as an outcome.

If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may have a potential legal claim against your employer for pregnancy/maternity discrimination if you wished to go down that route. You can contact ACAS to register for early conciliation to see whether they can resolve the dispute and finally bring an employment tribunal claim if you cannot resolve matters. Please be aware that there are strict time limits which operate for bringing claims to the employment tribunal. Generally speaking, you have three months (less a day) from the date of the act or series of acts that you are complaining about to contact ACAS. If you have already been back at work for some time you may need to do this sooner rather than later i.e. you do not need to wait for a response from your employer to your grievance if you write to them as suggested above and you are getting close to your time limit.

If you do not accept the changed role and choose to resign, you would also potentially have a claim for constructive dismissal. However, this can be quite a drastic option as it would require you to leave your employment. If you are considering this, I would recommend you take legal advice prior to making any decisions.

There is more information on time limits and further support, please look here: www.maternityaction.org.uk/where-to-go-for-more-help-legal-clinic/

I wish you all the best.

MaternityActionfreeadvice Thu 16-Sep-21 12:59:42

Panda8383

I’ve been off for a while at work due to a miscarriage( I believed this was classed as a pregnancy related issue) so this wouldn’t affect your normal absences and there was no limit on how long you could be off for as long as sick note stated pregnancy related sickness or miscarriage. My manager told me that the legal team advised I would stop being paid and I did argue the case, am I correct in saying I should be paid as long as sick note stated pregnancy/miscarriage.. however I then fell pregnant again not long after this conversation and my line was changed to pregnancy related..I was told by manager this would be reviewed on a month to month basis and they wouldn’t change the reason I was off on my sickness record( I didn’t think this was following procedures?) where do I stand with that? Also is your miscarriage classes as pregnant related with no time limit on this as long as this is stated on your doctors note? I have also sent a PM with my details, many thanks

Dear Panda8383

Thank you for your enquiry, first and foremost I am so sorry for your loss.

I will try and answer your query as best as possible based on the information that you have provided. You have not stated how long you have been off sick for (you say a while) and it is also not clear to me what the entitlements to pay whilst off sick are and whether these are limited to a certain period of absences, or what the process may be for any short term / long term or intermittent absences from work. However, you are entitled to take sick leave if you are not well enough to work and you should follow your employer’s sickness reporting procedures.

There is no time limit on sickness absence following a miscarriage. If your GP has certified your sickness absence as pregnancy-related, this applies for as long as your sick leave lasts and as long as you are unwell enough to attend work. Your employer must count any sick leave related to your pregnancy or miscarriage separately and must not use it against you, for example, for disciplinary or redundancy purposes.

For time off work following the loss of a baby through miscarriage you can also ask your employer if they provide compassionate leave or you could ask to take annual leave or agree a period of unpaid leave.

It is up to your GP or medical practitioner to decide whether your sickness is related to your pregnancy or miscarriage. Miscarriage-related sick leave would ordinarily be treated as pregnancy-related and sick leave can be certified as pregnancy or miscarriage-related for as long as necessary.

You are entitled to any sick pay that you would normally qualify for when off sick. It is advisable to check your contract to see if you are entitled to contractual sick pay. If not, you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you meet the qualifying conditions. SSP is paid by your employer once you have been off for four or more days in a row, including non-working days. You do not receive SSP for the first three waiting days. SSP is payable for up to 28 weeks.

The Equality Act 2010, section 18, provides protection against discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy or pregnancy-related sickness for a protected period of two weeks from the end of a pregnancy for women who are not entitled to maternity leave. During this period you are protected against discrimination, dismissal, redundancy or unfair treatment related to your pregnancy, miscarriage or related sick leave. This may be what your employer is referring to. After the two week protected period you may have some protection from sex discrimination and/or indirect sex discrimination if you are treated unfairly because of a miscarriage.

As you are now pregnant again, any sickness would still be pregnancy-related and your employer should not discriminate against you because of this absence as you are still protected under the Equality Act. This means they should record and sickness absence related to your current pregnancy separately from other sickness absence so that it is not used to your disadvantage. However, any sick pay will remain what you are entitled to under your contract, as above, which will be either contractual sick pay (if your employer normally provides it for a period of sickness absence) or SSP.

I hope that helps.

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