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Returning to work after mat leave - rights re preference being shown for my 'stand in'

(9 Posts)
jasperc163 Wed 23-Sep-09 15:07:11

I go back to work in a week after 6.5 months mat leave. Someone was hired on contract to fill in for me while i was away and my boss (who clearly loves him as he works ridiculous hours, doesnt have children, and is generally slimy) has managed to secure finances to keep him on for longer. This guy's role is as yet unclear but he is very clearly and overtly gunning for my job.

I think my boss is wise enough to the law to know that he has to give me my original role back but I am worried that he is going to make it difficult for me so that he can keep the contractor.

Can anyone point me in direction of something that explains my rights (I am worried that the job will be made so stressful for me that i have no choice but to go), just in case?

Thanks in advance - stressed enough about going back without this to deal with!! And the sad thing is I liked the job before....

flowerybeanbag Wed 23-Sep-09 15:16:32

I'm afraid your boss doesn't have to give you your original role back, if it's not practical to do so.

You get 26 weeks Ordinary Mat Leave and a further 26 weeks Additional Mat Leave. If you return during or at the end of OML you are entitled to the same job back. If you return later than that, during or after AML, and it's not practical to give you the same job back, you are only entitled to something suitable on no less favourable terms and conditions. See here.

If you were made redundant and your maternity cover kept on, or similar, then that would be illegal discrimination, but as long as you are offered a suitable job, it's perfectly possible for your boss to keep both of you.

flowerybeanbag Wed 23-Sep-09 15:17:06

I see you are going back in a week. Do you not know yet what job you are going back to?

jasperc163 Wed 23-Sep-09 16:42:18

Yes I am going back to my job as it was before. However the other guy is being kept on with no clear role atm and my feeling is that my boss would prefer that this other guy had my job as he works ridiculous hours (something I obviously cant do). So IF boss makes my life difficult because I can't 'over' deliver in the way this new guy has been doing, what are my rights?

jasperc163 Wed 23-Sep-09 17:06:06

I suppose what i mean is - does this count as discrimination?

flowerybeanbag Wed 23-Sep-09 19:40:21

Does what count as discrimination? Keeping your maternity cover on longer when you come back? No. Keeping your maternity cover on instead of you would be, but there's no reason your boss can't take on new staff if he wants to and no reason any new recruits can't include the person who's been covering your maternity leave.

As far as I can tell, nothing has happened yet, has it? Your maternity cover is staying on but there hasn't been any attempt to prevent you from coming back or anything?

Your boss hasn't as yet made your new colleague's role clear to you, but to be fair, you are still on maternity leave at the moment. If your boss doesn't sit down with you at some point soon after you return and discuss how things are going to work and what your colleague's role is, then obviously you will need to clarify that.

You say this person is 'very clearly and overtly gunning for your job', but unless there's a lot more to it, you don't actually say anything that gives that indication. What makes you say that?

I think you just need to go back to work, do your job as well as you can and see how things pan out. Of course lots of women do get discriminated against because they take maternity leave, in other words they are treated less favourably as a result of taking their maternity leave. But unless there's a lot more to it, there's absolutely no evidence of that at the moment for you.

If you do start getting treated less favourably in some way and you feel it's because you took maternity leave, then at that point it might be discrimination.

jasperc163 Wed 23-Sep-09 20:21:21

Thanks alot - sorry if I am not being clear. I cover a geographical region. New bloke in question called me the other day and was asking me questions aimed at getting me to say I would happily give up my region and take on another (which I wouldn't), and said that there were now 2 of us in that region. Also referred to boss' satisfaction with him etc.

Obviously totally out of order but I am concerned that something (ie chat with boss) gave him the confidence to say all this. But as you say, I will just have to wait and see what transpires once I am back. The bottom line though is that although I was i think doing a good job when I was working and meeting my targets etc, new bloke has been working a 5 day week for 3 days money (it is a 3 day a week job) to overdeliver in my region and look good. Therefore it is going to be hard for me to compete when I take my region back over from him next month - hence the anticipated problems with boss.

But as you say, I have to wait and see....

thanks for your help

flowerybeanbag Wed 23-Sep-09 20:43:09

No problem. It does sound as though new bloke is a bit pushy, but that doesn't necessarily mean your boss has given him any indication of anything. I suspect if your boss had done that, he would have also said not to talk to you about it anyway.

Hopefully because it will be so obvious any difference in performance is because this bloke was working 2 extra days that your boss won't be expecting the same from you anyway.

See how the land lies when you get back and take it from there.

RibenaBerry Thu 24-Sep-09 08:33:23

Flowery has answered the law, but just a thought for your self belief.

Is this guy overperforming you by 66%? Because if he's not, he's not doing as well as you. He's not going to work those extra days for free forever is he? If, say, his overperformance is only 25% on yours, he's actually waaaaay less good value for money once they start having to pay him full time/once he starts only working the days he is paid for. smile

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