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Competitive slotting whilst on maternity?

(14 Posts)
jollyjoanne Tue 18-Aug-09 09:36:06

I'm currently on maternity leave and have just received a letter from my employer. They have merged to create a larger organisation whilst I have been on maternity leave and they are now reorganising and making people redundant. This morning I have received a letter saying that following an initial assessment I have been assessed as a 'competitive slot' for a new post (a position between my current job and my former managers job which did not exist previously). However this means I will be subject to an interview for this post as there is 1 job and at least 4 other potential candidates. However, the letter does not state what would happen if I am unsuccessful in the interview. And given that I have been off work for the last 6 months I am not confident in my chances in the interview as my job is notoriously quick changing. Is this fair? Is there anything I can do?

sazlocks Tue 18-Aug-09 09:39:10

I am not sure that this is allowed to happen while you are on maternity leave but hopefully someone who knows more will be along shortly.

lal123 Tue 18-Aug-09 09:39:50

As you are on maternity leave you have an automatic right to be given an appropriate post - you cannot be asked to compete for the post. If you have a search on this thread you'll find links to the appropriate legislation etc - or Flowery or ribena will be along soon!

jollyjoanne Tue 18-Aug-09 10:03:45

I have had a look at some of the other threads but I am a little unsure because at this stage the letter does not mention redundancy although I know this is what has happened elsewhere.

Also I'm due back to work on 7th Sept so if the interview is after that would they get round the Reg 10 issue? I have a suspicion they have been holding out on my departments reorganisation becos 2 ladies are on maternity.

RibenaBerry Tue 18-Aug-09 10:45:06

If the restructuring isn't proposed to take place until after your return, then the Regulation 10 rules wouldn't apply I don't think. However if they do the assessment now and don't implement it until afterwards, I think they still would. Flowery might have a view on this.

As Flowery and I have both mentioned previously, interviewing for positions isn't wrong per se in this situation. However, the interviewer must be very clear what they are assessing. With a woman on maternity leave, they are assessing whether she is suitable for the position (and, although the legislation is, AFAIK, silent on this point, they could be competitively assessing you against the other woman on maternity if she is up for the same job). They are not making her compete against the other candidates.

I would go back to your employer, ask what will happen if you do not get the role, and also how they see Reg 10 factoring into this. You can then come back and discuss further if you need to. This rule is very counter-intuitive to employers (because positive discrimination is not normally allowed) and many don't know about it. Sometimes a nudge in the right direction is all that's needed to get things clear and back on track.

jollyjoanne Tue 18-Aug-09 10:53:03

The structure for the reorganisation has been determined and circulated, and an internal assessment of who fits where has been undertaken. So this would all be whilst I am on maternity.

The other lady on maternity is not competing for the same post as I will be so that is one less worry.

I suppose really I am little worried about it all because although I would be capable of doing the job I suspect the other 3 candidates would potentially be the more experienced and I know if I was making the decision I wouldn't pick me! Although due to the creation of this new post my old job will have been downgraded is it possible I could ask to stay at my old position?

dollyparting Tue 18-Aug-09 11:10:57

I am not an HR bod, but I was involved with a company restructure recently which was not straightforward in terms of maternity leave.

In this situation the previous structure had 6 grades: 1,2,3,4,5&6 and the new structure had only 3 grades: 2,4&6.

This meant that all grade 3 jobs ceased to exist. The company took the view that people on maternity leave previously on grade 3, had an automatic right to securing a grade 2 job and had an automatic right to an interview for a grade 4 job, but that appointment to a grade 4 job was a competitive process.

I don't know if what they did was right though.

RibenaBerry Tue 18-Aug-09 13:07:38

That's actually wrong. Women on maternity leave have the right to any suitable position. Even if it's a promotion, they shouldn't be made to compete. Sounds like it worked out ok at your place though smile.

dollyparting Tue 18-Aug-09 14:37:49

Thanks Ribena - that is interesting. I can see from what jollyjoanne is saying how someone on maternity leave would feel disadvantaged competing for a promoted post, and therefore what the legislation is designed to do.

In my example, would that mean that anyone on maternity leave would have an automatic right to promotion? Hypothetically, what would happen if there was any subsequent performance issue (assuming that all appropriate training, coaching, mentoring and support had been given)?

Sorry if I've hijacked jj's post

jollyjoanne Tue 18-Aug-09 17:58:57

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am a little wary about getting in touch with work as my current boss is one of the people who will also be 'competitively slotted' into the same post as he has not been successful in applying for what would have been his old post.

I do not know any of the current HR people as all the staff from my previous employer have left / been made redundant during the reorganisation.

I think I may have to pop in to the office and speak to someone in order to clear up what would happen if I don't get the new job, how I would stand if tried to stay in my current role (if that is even possible).

RibenaBerry Tue 18-Aug-09 18:58:13

Dolly - no, there's no automatic right to a promotion. The employee has the right to be offered any suitable position on equivalent terms and conditions.

If only a suitable more junior position is available, this should be offered. However, the employee could probably choose to turn it down and take redundancy instead.

If the same level position is available, obviously this should be offered.

If only a more senior position is available, it's a question of whether the person is suitable. Essentially, the employer should look at it as if the women on maternity leave is the only candidate. If she would get the role if she was (even if she would need training, etc), she should get it. If the job isn't suitable at all, she can be rejected and the employer can move to a competitive process between the others.

jollyjoanne Tue 01-Sep-09 14:09:05

Ok work have at last responded. Does this seem reasonable?

'This means that going forward you will be interviewed along with other people and 2 people will get the job and the remaining people will be what we call displaced. They will be placed on a redeployment register - this means that the authority will try to redeploy these people to other roles. As a redeployee you will have preferential access to certain roles that are advertised that no one has a claim on. There are rules (which I think still have to be agreed in the Council - will need to check where we are at with this) re. what type of roles you can have preferential access to - eg. salary similar to existing grade so many scale points or grades usually eithe way - eg. up and down

Preferential access means that as long as a person demonstrates they meet the essential criteria of the person spec. the redeployees will be interviewed before candidates who are not on the redeployment list or situation. A person who is successfully redeployed would have a trial period as would the line manager/organisation and there could be an element of training/skill gap to meet. There would be some element of pay protection if applicable - again I would need to check the rules on this - I'm not sure if they've been agreed for the authority

There is no easy way of sayign this but if a person didn't secure another role having tried to find the person a suitable reasonable alternative job (in terms of salary/skill etc) then the person would be served notice and leave the organisation on the grounds of redundancy'.

This all sounds good except I am a specific type of 'profession' and therefore could only ever really be employed in a position within my current team. So not sure that many alternatives would be available or at least not at the same levels of pay.

Does anyone have any thoughts?

jollyjoanne Tue 01-Sep-09 16:55:38

Really not sure whether work are giving me a fair chance to get this job given that I've not been in for the last 6mths. Does anyone have any ideas?

flowerybeanbag Tue 01-Sep-09 19:36:08

Did you specifically ask them for their comments on how Reg 10 fits in with this restructuring exercise?

I think you need to write to HR, thank them for their response so far, and ask them whether they are aware of the obligation under Reg 10 to offer suitable available vacancies to women on mat leave in preference to other candidates even though the other candidates may be more suitable.

Ask them for their comment on whether they believe this post is suitable for you, and if not, whether the interview is for the purpose of establishing whether or not the post is suitable for you under Reg 10.

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