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mention that on mat. leave during interview?

(11 Posts)
flabbyapronbelly Sun 18-Oct-09 16:57:57

Have been told likely my current employers won't be happy to take me back part time. Don't want to return full time and also know this is illegal but don't want to go down tribunal route. Not due back to work till March but don't want to be put in situation of either working FT or not having a job (and can't afford not to work unfortunately). So I've been keeping an eye on the job vacancies and have applied for a few I think look good and suitable for my experience and qualifications etc.
Have been lucky enough to get a job interview for one and am in a dilemma. On my application I have put -til present for my current job (still officially employed whilst on ML I believe). Am a pretty honest person and feel inclined to tell them I am on ML etc, but don't want to disadvantage myself as I know they can't legally ask you such questions as having kids.
So was hoping to get the MN verdict on whether to tell them I am currently on ML or to sort of give impression still working every day. It is a local government job if that makes any difference. Help!

bigstripeytiger Sun 18-Oct-09 17:01:37

I would probably just be honest. It isnt a crime to have a baby, you are ready to go back to work, and having had a baby is a good reason for why you would want to change your job/working pattern.

If you try to give the impression that you are at work everyday you might slip up and say something that you didnt mean to.

Good luck with the interview.

RedTartanLass Sun 18-Oct-09 17:16:52

Why would you mention you are on mat leave? You will obviously be truthful about when you will be available to start (March)and that you want part-time. Can't understand why you would mention it! All the questions will relate to your current or previos postions, you are not lying or misleading, but would they be willing to wait 6mths for you to start?

onadietcokebreak Sun 18-Oct-09 17:19:25

Were you planning on asking them to keep job open til March or would you give current employer notice. Wouldnt bother mentioning on Maternity leave to be honest.

llaregguBOO Sun 18-Oct-09 17:44:10

I'm going back a few years now but I once worked for a local authority who kept a job open for a year for the successful candidate. She'd been interviewed towards the end of her pregnancy, got the job, then took her maternity leave before starting a year later. In your case I wouldn't mention that you are on maternity leave. There isn't a need IMO.

Do you need to return to your current employer to keep your maternity pay?

lisasimpson Sun 18-Oct-09 17:50:07

wouldn't mention it - no need. I was not aware that it was illegal not to offer part time if requested?

flowerybeanbag Sun 18-Oct-09 18:54:49

I don't think you need to specifically mention it, but I don't think you should give a false impression either. The fact that you have been on maternity leave obviously doesn't impact on your suitability for the job, so from that point of view it is irrelevant. But in your specific circumstances it may impact on your ability to fulfil the job, if they want someone to start immediately and you are not prepared to do that because of your maternity leave.

I would suggest you don't specifically mention it, but if it naturally arises in conversation, don't conceal it either. If you are moving from a full time to a part time role they will probably ask you why, which is fair enough, and although you could make something else up as the reason, it seems a bit daft not to actually say why - there's nothing wrong or unusual in wanting to reduce hours after a baby.

Plus obviously if you do get offered the job, or get through to a second interview or any stage where start dates are discussed, you are going to have to raise it then anyway, so it would be weird if you've given a false impression in any way previously.

To clarify, it's perfectly legal for an employer to refuse a request to change from full time to part time. If the employee puts in a proper flexible working request according to the legal procedure, the employer is obliged to seriously consider that request, following the appropriate procedure and timescales, and giving full business reasons if they are unable to accommodate the request. But as long as they do that, they can refuse.

MrsDenning Sun 18-Oct-09 19:14:57

But if an employer does refuse flexible working or part time working this may be indirect sex discrimination contrary to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, if the employee is a woman. If male the situation is more complex. Flowery is right in that the right to request flexible working does not give a worker the right to flexible working but a refusal that cannot be justified may be sex discrimination.

Many employers do back down during the flexible working procedure. It may be worth making a request under the right to request, fill out the official form FWA. At least this will keep your options open. If you make a formal flex working request your employer has to have a face to face meeting, two if you appeal, and if they can see you have a 'can do' approach to any potential problems and you are willing to meet them half way they may give you what you want.

Nothing to add on the interview tactics. Good luck.

flabbyapronbelly Sun 18-Oct-09 19:40:37

Thanks everyone
As the interview is at the end of the month and I have a month's notice with my current employer, it would make a start date for beginning Dec at the earliest. I was hoping that with xmas etc it would not be unreasonable for them to agree to a Jan start. I will have had 6 months ml by then and although I would prefer to be off for the 39 weeks, would rather have a pt job and be back a little earlier than planned.
My employers have been quite ropey with other employees wrt employment law and can see them fobbing me off if I make a fw request. As I have seen them to be less than perfect employers the prospect of local authority as an employer seems like a good step and my role and colleagues have all majorly changed since I went on ml so not sure how much I want to go back there anyway. If I leave that job would I have to repay smp? As hardly got anything above that. Sorry to ask another question!

MrsDenning Sun 18-Oct-09 19:45:02

No you would not have to repay SMP. This is a statutory payment that employer pays and employer is reimbursed for all(or nearly all) SMP paid to you by HMRC.

Sometimes if an employer pays an employee extra contractual maternity pay there is a clause stating that if you do not return then you have to repay the contractual pay. Check your contract on this, if it is silent on this point you would not have to repay any contractual maternity pay.

flowerybeanbag Sun 18-Oct-09 19:45:02

You won't have to pay back any SMP, no. The only mat pay you ever have to pay back once you've qualified for it is extra offered by your employers and if you will need to pay it back they need to make that clear to you via a letter or policy or similar. But SMP is yours to keep.

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