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On mat leave and p.t. job disappeared---any advice please?

(7 Posts)
snowgirl Tue 01-Jul-08 21:35:00

A complicated one this, but I'd really appreciate any comments or advice...I'm currently on mat leave with my 11 week old ds. Before that I was working two days a week since birth of dd (now 3 1/2) as a school assistant head (was full-time but negotiated part-time with a previous headteacher). This week a new job structure has been unveiled and all assistant heads have to reapply for their jobs but there isn't a part-time one. There are exactly enough jobs for everyone currently in role except for me. Head says I'm welcome to apply for a full-time one and my application would be considered alongside everyone else's. My head is totally fuzzy with baby brain and even if I wanted to I can't even countenance the idea of applying or interviewing, and I don't want to go back part-time, so effectively I'm being pushed out. Anyone got any words of wisdom??

madrose Tue 01-Jul-08 21:37:45

this is something you can do without. You really need to speak to your union.

Good luck

snowgirl Tue 01-Jul-08 21:46:28

Thanks. Will talk to union, Just wondered if anyone had any experience of any of the issues?

flowerybeanbag Wed 02-Jul-08 09:11:15

snowgirl the deal is when you are on maternity leave they must put you back either in your previous job, or if that isn't possible after Additional Maternity Leave if you are taking in they must offer you a suitable role on no less favourable terms and conditions.

if there is a restructuring while you are on maternity leave, they cannot make you compete for a role. As a woman on maternity leave you get preferential treatment and must be offered a suitable role before anyone else. The difficulty is as you can see, that there isn't a suitable role for you in the new structure as it stands, they seem to have created it knowing that it would not contain a role for you to come back to.

If it was possible to be an assistant head part time before, what reason has been given, if any, for the fact that this is not possible now? It seems to me there should have been a role for you in the new structure, and if your part time hours previously were not enough to cover the work, they should be considering job shares or other options, not just eliminating your job.

I do agree with madrose you must talk to your union. I think you should get them to formally approach your Head and say something like

'As you know, snowgirl is entitled to return to the same job or a suitable job on no less favourable terms and conditions, and cannot be made to compete for jobs while on maternity leave. Given the fact that you seem to have eliminated her job, what role do you propose to offer her?'

I don't know how good and on the ball your union are, but I've pasted a few paragraphs from the BERR website below

'Ordinary Maternity Leave
An employee who returns to work after Ordinary Maternity Leave – in other words a woman who has taken no more that 26 weeks’ maternity leave – is entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions of employment as if she had not been absent, unless a redundancy situation has arisen, in which case she is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy.

An employee who is not allowed to return to her job at the end of Ordinary Maternity Leave is entitled to make a complaint of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal. If she is not given the same job back, she may bring a claim for sex discrimination or a detriment claim in a tribunal, or might be able to claim constructive dismissal.

Additional Maternity Leave
An employee who returns to work after Additional Maternity Leave – in other words a woman who has taken more than 26 weeks’ maternity leave – is entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions of employment as if she had not been absent, unless there is a reason why it is not reasonably practicable for her to return to her old job, in which case she should be offered a similar job on terms and conditions which are not less favourable than her original job.


If a redundancy situation arises at any stage during an employee’s maternity leave which means it is not practicable for the employer to continue to employ her under her original contract of employment, she is entitled to be offered (before that contract ends) a suitable alternative vacancy, where one is available. This includes a vacancy with an associated employer or with a successor to the original employer.

The new contract must take effect immediately on the ending of the original one and must be such that:

the work to be done by the employee is both suitable and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances; and
the capacity and place in which she is to be employed and the other terms and conditions of her employment are not substantially less favourable to her than if she had continued to be employed under the original contract.
It is unlawful for an employer to make an employee redundant during ordinary or additional maternity leave period without first complying with these requirements. An employee made redundant in these circumstances will have a claim for unfair dismissal and may also be able to claim sex discrimination. An employee who has been dismissed in this way should appeal against the dismissal as part of the requirement under the Statutory Dispute Resolution Procedures. Failure by employers or employees to use these statutory procedures could result in an increase or reduction to any compensation awarded. The Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures sets out the statutory dispute resolution procedures that should be followed before an employee may, if the dispute is not resolved, complain to an Employment Tribunal. Employers and employees may also find the general Acas advice on dispute resolution helpful.

If the employer has a suitable alternative vacancy available but fails to offer it to the employee, the redundancy dismissal will be regarded as an unfair dismissal. If the employer offers the employee a suitable alternative vacancy (she is entitled to a four- week trial period in which to decide whether the employment is suitable, and this period may be extended beyond four weeks by written agreement) and she unreasonably refuses it, either before or during the trial period, she may forfeit her right to a redundancy payment. Further guidance on unfair dismissal and redundancy is available from BERR.


As you can see, you must be offered a job rather than being asked to compete for it, where there is one that is suitable. There isn't one suitable for you at the moment but there doesn't seem to be any good reason for that so they are risking a sex discrimination claim from you if they are not careful.

Get your union to approach the head formally and see what happens. So sorry you are having to deal with this during your maternity leave, it's the last thing you need with an 11 week old baby.

RibenaBerry Wed 02-Jul-08 09:54:07

What Flowery said!

abcmum Fri 12-Sep-08 13:23:09

Hi, Agree with everything that Flowery has just said. Let us know how you get on. I was made redundant while on Mat leave - my role was still there - just a different title with less money. I took them to Tribunal and won on the grounds of both Unfair dismissal and SD. Unfortunately, it is a long drawn out process which can be quite stressful but well worth it. Mine is not over yet - they had 6 weeks to appeal and missed the deadline (monday 8th sept) by 2 days, so its likely the appeals tribunal will throw it out. In the meantime - more waiting for me angry This all started when my baby for 5 weeks, so I understand the stress. Good Luck - need any more advice further down the line - let us know wink

abcmum Fri 12-Sep-08 13:24:25

meant to say when my baby was 5 weeks old!

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