I'm currently on maternity leave, coming to the end of my SMP period. I am on the verge of giving my notice as I don't want to go back.
Work have just announced a round of redundancies. It sounds like it's going to be a long process, though should be finished long before I would be expected back. Should I ask about voluntary redundancy? Should I hang in there and see if I get made redundant? Or should I just quit as I was going to, saving myself the hassle of dealing with the process and the company some money (and therefore potentially a colleague's job??)
As a rough rule of thumb, as someone on maternity leave you are very unlikely to be made redundant, as you have priority for any retained vacancies.I therefore wouldn't keep quiet and wait if you're keen to go.
If work is asking about voluntary redundancy or you think they'll be amenable, by all means go for it. If it's a big company, they will have redundancies in the budget and won't really mind spending it on someone who might not have come back - most will just be relieved that they're not having to dismiss someone for whom it's the end of the world.
Unless the packages are mega generous (or the company mega mega tiny), you resigning instead of being made redundant is not going to save any extra jobs. Most packages would be 3-6 months ish (with favourable tax treatment possibly bumping up the real value) and the economic downturn isn't going to end that quickly. Don't feel guilty on that one.
Thanks, it is a big company, so that's reassuring. I think I'll ask about voluntary redundancy. They've talked about a consultation process. Do you think that even if they are amenable to it they'll still have to go through all of that before agreeing to it?
Are there going to be 20 or more redundancies? If there are then there are legal group consultation rules, and often they cannot confirm even voluntary redundancies until that is somewhat progressed - the employee representatives will want to discuss the idea of volunteers and the package with management as part of the consultation.
Otherwise, they can normally confirm pretty much straight off - subject to any internal sign off. If they do, it will all be done 'without prejudice' - i.e. off the record- and they will want you to make it clear that you're a volunteer so that they don't get in trouble for breaching the rules about giving maternity leave people priority for retention.