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HR view needed (Flowery, Ribena etc!) on "discretionary" enhancement of maternity package for colleague...

(6 Posts)
ZakuroFujiwara Wed 12-Aug-09 15:35:19

I'd like to get your take on this situation if possible.

A very close friend at work was pregnant at the same time as me and we went on maternity leave on the same day (10 weeks ago). We are both senior managers within our 600 person company and report in to the same MD. Our job titles are different but we are commonly accepted to be of the same 'level'; we have both worked in the organisation for 10 years plus. The company's standard maternity package enhances SMP by adding 3 weeks at 50% of salary after the initial 6 week/90% period. My friend approached out boss and asked if there was any possibility that the company could review the package for people who are senior and had a long length of service etc etc when we were both about 20 weeks; he said that he would discuss it with the CEO and come back to her. Nothing was heard back until about 1 week before our maternity leave started at which point the company made her an offer of an enhanced package {I don't know the financial details) if she came back to work after 4.5 months. This offer was to her only and she was asked to sign a letter to keep it confidential. At that point she said to our boss "I'm happy to keep it confidential but I have already discussed it with Zakuro because obviously we are such good friends and are both due at the same time and our intial conversation was about the company reviewing the package for everyone". Our boss knows what close friends we are and said something like "oh, if only Zakuro had said something I would have been happy to discuss it with her - I'd hate her to feel like she had been treated differently" (obviously this is secondhand and may not be a direct quote!).

I had one more meeting with my boss after this cnversation that my friend had but didn't bring it up as it was my handover meeting for going on leave and, to be honest, there wasn't really time to discuss it.

I'm not sure whether I would actually do anything about this now but I do feel a bit put out that it seems like I have been treated differently and that it shoudn't really have been about whether I specifically asked for this or not given the fact that I am always told what a "valuable" employee I am etc etc. But, on the other hand, I understand that it has been done in such a way that it would be viewed as discretionary and therefore I have no automatic "right" to similar treatment/a similar package. What do you think? Have I been treated unfairly in this scenario? Or, do I just accept that that this is a bit of a case of "if you don't ask, you don't get" and chalk it up to experience? As I say, not sure I really want to "do" anything either way i.e. lodge a complaint etc, but I would be interested in your HR viewpoint....

Many thanks.

MamaKaty Wed 12-Aug-09 16:40:52

I think that if you don't bring this up with your line manager directly then you would have no right to lodge a complaint. The enhanced package that your friend got was, as you said, a discretionary gesture. However given the circumstances, if you approached your line manager and asked them to consider offering you the same package I would expect a good justification if they refused! Is it too late for you to have a non-confrontational conversation with your line manager about current circumstances? (You don't say in your message if you are still on maternity leave or have already returned to work).
You won't know unless you ask!

flowerybeanbag Thu 13-Aug-09 11:15:15

You don't have an automatic right to the same package, as you realise, however it doesn't mean it's not unfair. I would suggest you raise it with your boss and ask for your package to be matched with your colleagues. If you are refused, you can then decide whether to formally complain.

It's all a bit rubbish I agree though. Obviously they know you know about it and are still not doing anything.

RibenaBerry Thu 13-Aug-09 14:00:13

What Flowery said grin!

ZakuroFujiwara Tue 18-Aug-09 22:21:18

Sorry - only just got a chance to get back to this - thanks for your comments. I think I'll just suck it up for now....

Thank you :-)

StealthBearWipesBumOnDailyMail Wed 19-Aug-09 10:59:40

would you want to go back after 4.5 months??

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