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Restructure and Maternity

(16 Posts)
Happyshopper Fri 04-Sep-09 09:39:41


I'm currently on maternity leave and have been informed that there is to be a restructure. The company have sent out consultation information basically stating that there will be competency based assessment and interview for my grade job. Therefore, I will need to go through this process whilst on maternity leave.

The thought of going through anything like this makes me feel physically sick.

Can anyone advise on my rights please?

flowerybeanbag Fri 04-Sep-09 09:44:15

You have extra rights being on maternity leave. If your existing job is redundant, you must be offered a suitable alternative where there is one, without having to compete with others.

It's not necessarily unfair to assess you, but that can only be for the purpose of establishing whether the job in question is suitable for you, not for putting you in competition with others for that job.

Are people potentially being made redundant in this restructuring, or is it just a bit of a rejig? Will you be in competition for the job?

Happyshopper Fri 04-Sep-09 09:48:23

Thanks Flowery

As far as I can understand there are enough jobs for people but we are being assessed to ensure that we meet the competencies required. If we don't meet the standard required, we have the opportunity to go for a lower grade job. The thing is they gave us our JD/PS a good few months ago so in theory we have been doing the job.

LadyStealthPolarBear Fri 04-Sep-09 09:51:13

This happened to me last time I was on ML and I slotted into a job with no problems, hopefully the same will happen for you - well as far as I understand it if you're on ML as flowery says they have to slot you in to a suitable job, no competition. I think it also has to be same salary, T&Cs.
In my case it was a formality though - the whole department slotted in, it wasn't just me.

Happyshopper Fri 04-Sep-09 09:58:09

Thanks Lady.

I've just re-read the info and it says that all staff at my grade will undertake competency assessment and anyone successful from this will proceed for interview. If not successful we will have the opportunity to apply for a lower grade job.

I am getting the distinct impression that I am going to have to go through the same process as everyone else but I do believe that I am at a disadvantage as I am on maternity leave

LadyStealthPolarBear Fri 04-Sep-09 09:59:44

You can't be put at a disadvantage because you're on ML - that's sex discrimination.
Sounds like that memo is a general one that doesn't really apply to you.
Do you have an HR dept you could contact?
Do you work for the NHS?

flowerybeanbag Fri 04-Sep-09 10:01:02

Hmmm. Well a lower grade job would presumably not be 'suitable' compared to your current job. 'Suitable' means the same or equivalent terms and conditions, including pay, other benefits and also the type of work and responsibility level involved.

Regardless of your maternity leave, people who end up being downgraded could make an argument that they are redundant anyway. Have a read here about suitable alternatives.

I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to write for clarification. If some people will stay on the same grade and others will be downgraded, then there is some competition involved. I would suggest you write, asking them if they are aware of the requirement to offer a suitable alternative to a woman on maternity leave whose current job is ending without competition. Assuming the new job is more or less the same as your old job, you could say that as you are currently in a similar job on that grade, clearly it is suitable and no further assessment should be required to ascertain it's suitability so should be offered to you without having to go through an assessment process. You could also point out that a lower grade job with lower status and lower responsibility levels would not be 'suitable'.

Obviously I don't know without having more detail about the jobs and how different they are. As I say, it's potentially fine to be assessed if it's for the purpose of seeing whether the job is suitable, but from what you say it sounds as though the job may well be easily identified as suitable and the assessment process is purely for competition between employees to see who gets one of the jobs.

I would write making them aware of the requirements and asking for their feedback.

MrsMong Sat 17-Oct-09 20:58:22

flowerybeanbag - could you expand a little on the requirement to offer a suitable alternative to a woman on maternity leave whose current job is ending without competition.

I am in very similar position. Circa 40 of us involved in a restructure with 25% reduction in roles. All jobs are changing (albeit some of them are virtually identical to previous) and we ALL (including those on mat leave) have to go through application process in a very short window.

Two of the new jobs are essentially the same job I have been doing for the past 2/3 years (perhaps with some very minor differences).

Does this mean I should just be given one of the new roles without having to go through the lengthy application process?]

I need to read the 100 page (no joke!) application pack they have sent, but am almost certain the application is for competition purposes and NOT to assess suitability, as the majority of us involved have been doing virtually identical roles to those that are available post restructure.

Many many thanks

flowerybeanbag Sat 17-Oct-09 22:11:23

Mrs Mong it's Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 and it basically says that if a woman is on maternity leave, her position is redundant and there is a suitable position availa ble, it must be offered to her. See Equality Human Rights Commission guidance for employers for more information.

As a first step I would suggest you write to your employers drawing their attention to the legislation and guidance, pointing out that as a woman on maternity leave you are entitled to be offered a suitable alternative in the event of your own position being redundant, and asking for their response. It's not entirely unlikely that they will be unaware of the legislation as it is an unusual requirement to positively discriminate.

MrsMong Sat 17-Oct-09 22:20:19

Thanks so much flowerybeanbag. I'd be very surprised if they weren't aware of the legislation as they are a massive employer with their own in-house HR legal team! That's why I'm so surprised at them asking me to take part in the selection process!

One more question...

There are a number of vacancies and therefore a number of jobs that I could be "given". Does reg 10 say that they have to give me the "most" suitable (ie the closest to my previous role and/or skills and experience) OR "any" suitable vacancy?

I really want my "old" job back and worry that if I kick up a fuss at this stage they'll give me the crap job that few people would want to apply for as technically it fits my skill set.

Thank you

flowerybeanbag Sat 17-Oct-09 22:30:35

It just has to be 'suitable', no requirement to be the 'most suitable'.

I wouldn't see raising it as kicking up a fuss anyway tbh. At the moment all I would suggest you do is write politely drawing their attention to the requirement and asking for their feedback as to how this requirement fits with their process.

MrsMong Sat 17-Oct-09 23:02:56

Thanks so much. Feeling better about the whole thing, so off to draft an email

MrsMong Sat 17-Oct-09 23:16:33

Oh, one final question before I email my work...

There are approx 40 of us in my team. Post restructure there are 30 jobs. All of us have to apply for up to 4 of the post-restructure jobs. The pack I've been sent says that if I am not successful then I will go onto the redeployment programme as I will then be technically "at risk" (of redundancy). It would seem they don't consider me "at risk" until I fail to secure one of the 30 new jobs.

Does this sound like a get-around for them? If I'm not "at risk" now, then by the time I invoke reg 10 the suitable vacancies will all be filled. It feels a bit like this initial phase is structured such that they can avoid the reg 10 requirements - is that possible?

PS - all my googling of reg 10 / maternity rights seems to point me back to your posts on mumsnet - seems you are a great source of info!

flowerybeanbag Sat 17-Oct-09 23:44:57

Reg 10 says that if your own position is redundant you must be offered a suitable alternative, assuming there is one. The alternative must start immediately your own job ends. In other words they can't put you in limbo for months on end just not terminating your employment and saying you are in a 'redeployment programme'. You must have an actual job that starts immediately your last one ends.

If they have a redeployment programme that will find you a suitable job immediately, then they will have met their requirements.

If you write to them outlining the requirements and asking how it fits with their restructuring process, their response should give you an indication of whether they feel that further redeployment after the application process will meet the requirement by finding a suitable job to start immediately.

Dubbs Thu 22-Oct-09 10:31:58

It's such a shame so many women are put into this position. I have two interviews this afternoon, which I'm dreading where I have to outline what I hope to achieve in the first three months of a role (if I'm successful), somehow I don't think they're expecting me to say "getting up to speed following my mat leave and understanding the new organisation following they're restructure". Up against others, I think I'm out of a position already. When advised my HR dept just shrugged their shoulders!

My union says I must go through the process but not be disadvantaged by it, reckon I'm disadvanted already having a 5 month old baby to look after and having not been at work for 6 months. I havn't a clue what's been going on in my absence!!

Dubbs Tue 03-Nov-09 08:54:42

Well there you go, having gone through the interview process my role has been offered to the person covering my mat leave.

The trouble is whether women want to rock the boat or not, following grievance procedures isn't going to look too great for any future employers.

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