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Stressed pregnant lady needs help with redundancy during pregnancy :-(

(7 Posts)
singingsister Thu 13-Aug-09 14:45:32


I got called into a meeting today to be told my job is "at risk". They are cutting costs (isn't everyone!) and the powers that be have decided my job isn't needed anymore (although the rest of the office I support seem to think it is and have told my boss so!)

They have said they are looking for alternative employment for me, but I work in a small satelite sales office in Buckinghamshire where there are about 7/8 of us in total...only 5/6 work regularly in the office. They said they are having trouble finding alternative employment for me, but if anything comes up, I know the probability is that it would be at our head office in the North of England. Now I'm not prepared to commute from Hertfordshire (where I live) to Lancashire on a daily basis (and my salary wouldn't allow for that either!).

If they can't find anything for me, they say it would be redundancy (but they don't want it to come to this). Please note, I am the ONLY person being told this. One other staff member has been asked to cut his hours to 3 days - but he made it clear to the bosses over a year ago that now he's heading to retirement age, he WANTS to reduce his hours.

I am 19 weeks pregnant, been working for the company for over 2 years and am now feeling extremely stressed and anxious because like all mums and mums to be, I can't afford to be out of work for any longer than I have to (and that includes in my case maternity leave). My dad seems to think it might be unfair dismissal because I'm being "forced" into redundancy.

HR have said they want to come to a mutual agreement with me - mutual for me would be full pay until I go on maternity leave in December (baby due 5th Jan 10) and then SMP. BBut if they are going to do that, they might has well keep me in my job!

My head is spinning, I need some advise on where I stand, what to do.

StillSquiffyandshagsimmigrants Thu 13-Aug-09 14:56:43

Do you do a substantially different role to the others in your office? If so, then I am afraid it would be very difficult to argue against such a decision, unless of course you have clear grounds to suspect that they are letting you go because you are pregnant, rather than because you have the misfortune to be sitting in the one job they think they can do without. Compulsory redundancy is perfectly acceptable if the company follow the correct process and are able to argue that they do indeed need to save jobs. It doesn't help you to know this, of course.

Are there any grounds to think that there is anything untoward going on here, other than the fact that you are the only person going through this? Are other people in your office underemployed and therefore more obvious candidates for redundancy? How are they going to cover your role going forward? Give it to one person, or share it out amongst everyone? If you have a suspicion that this IS being done because you are PG, then what makes you think this?

singingsister Thu 13-Aug-09 14:59:44

Yes, I do a substantially different role. I am the customer services for the company. All the other guys are sales engineers.

I don't know if it's because I'm PG but if I'm going to be made redundant - do I have anything to loose to leave fighting?

I'm not sure what is going to happen to my role once I'm gone but I suspect it will attempt to be shared out to the sales engineers. The sales engineers have already said they will kick up a stink coz they've got enough work to do without having my job to do as well!


StillSquiffy Thu 13-Aug-09 15:00:09

blush changes name back and apologises profusely - had namechanged for the daily mail thread and forgot to change back blush

flowerybeanbag Thu 13-Aug-09 15:25:37

If you are the only person performing that function, and they have decided they don't need or can't afford that function any more, then it may be very difficult to challenge that decision. Just because you are being forced to take redundancy doesn't make it unfair.

I would suggest you have a read of these sections here to make sure they are doing everything they are supposed to.

If they are prepared to carry on paying you full pay, keeping you employed until December, you could ask them to commit to keeping looking for something alternative between now and then? In other words if the proposed termination date is December, asking them not to make a final decision until the last possible minute, in case something does come up?

To be fair though, as long as they have followed an appropriate process as detailed in the link, on the face of it it doesn't sound as though they've done anything actually wrong as such.

StillSquiffy Thu 13-Aug-09 15:25:38

TBH I think there is little to gain in going out fighting and lots to lose. You need to think about having a reference to take to the next job, and these things can turn nasty which is the last thing you want when PG. And the company is unlikey to offer you more than the bare minimum of compensation (and they will probably not keep you on until December I guess)

I think the best approach is to work with the company rather than against them. I would see if they would be willing to have you work part time, or perhaps keep you employed until the end of your OML so that you can see if the business picks back up again (thus negating the need for redundancy). Or can you see if you can turn the job into a role covering all telephone enquiries nationally or something similar (many jobs like this could possibly be done remotely in any location).

It is horribly unfortunate when this happens, but remember that it is not about you, it is just about your role. See how things go and see if they come up with other proposals. And thank the engineers for their support too - that might help keep your job.

singingsister Thu 13-Aug-09 15:40:38

I know there is little to gain by fighting but I don't want to just walk away without a fight.

As it always does, this has come at the worst time - in fact I don't know how hubby and I are going to cope financially if I am out of work (in the proper sense of the word).

I hope work will keep me until December, would certainly make life a heck of a lot easier for me, but I can't see that happening.

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