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No role to go after maternity leave

(8 Posts)
SeverineH Wed 30-Oct-13 21:43:31

Hello Working mums! I have a new mum of 5 month boy and have been on maternity for 5 months. My intention is to return to work after 39 weeks of maternity leave. Legally, I should give 8 week notice to my employer about my intention to return to work before the 52 week but I kindly informed them 4 month before. I had a meeting today with my boss who informed me that the structure of the team I have been working into is expanding: 2 new roles have been created and there are 2 gaps to fill. The role I was doing prior to going on maternity leave is now filled. So my manager gave me 2 options: 1 - Coming back and perform the role number 1 which is perceived in my industry as a demotion, more junior role (been in my current more senior role for 6 years!), 2- Coming back and role number 2 which is is a global role requiring extensive travel to Canada and Australia! So a no no for a mum of baby who will not be a year old when I am back to work! Also, I have been told that my colleague who is same level as I (and a Man!) has his role expanded to new projects whilst I have been on maternity leave. So I feel total let down, discriminated and sidelined from career progression due to maternity leave. I have been in current middle management role for 2 1/2 years in the company and 4 years in other companies prior to that. I certainly don't feel it is right to be treated like this, I expect a upward progression and certainly not a downward progression. Could you please help me on some legal advice, I need to arm myself with arguments that I can throw at them in 2 weeks time. Many thanks Mumsnet! x

hawkeye21 Thu 31-Oct-13 14:58:23

Can you get union representation? I had a similar problem when I was on maternity leave (I was a lower management grade). I promptly joined the union and they arranged a meeting with one of their legal experts. Ultimately I did get things sorted (ish) directly with the company, but it was reassuring to know the union was behind me if required.

hawkeye21 Thu 31-Oct-13 15:02:19

And, whilst I am a long way from an expert, I suspect they are on very dodgy ground if they have filled your old role without giving you the opportunity to apply for it. Does the company have an hr department? They may want to get involved if a manager is deviating from maternity law.

missmapp Thu 31-Oct-13 15:02:24

Do you want to go back full time or part time? I think that makes a difference as, if full time, your original job ( or same level job) must be kept open, but if part time they only have to show they have tried to find a same level job. ( I may be totally wrong) Have you spoken to HR? agree with contacting your union. DH is in HR , so will talk to him tonight and let you know what he says.

Leopoldina Thu 31-Oct-13 15:06:58

this is almost like a law school scenario for employment law students given the amount of cockups the employer has made. Get yourself a lawyer, asap.

Nevercan Thu 31-Oct-13 16:28:20

They can't fill the role you were doing whilst you were on maternity....that's a no no!

Flibbertyjibbet Thu 31-Oct-13 16:38:58

Some jobs got filled while I was on maternity leave, only found out by chance when I was visiting a colleague with my baby. My own job was held open btw, but the advertised jobs would have been a promotion, I could easily have done them but had no chance to apply as I didn't know about them!

I wrote them a very stern letter as the jobs had been advertised internally only, which due to my not being in work, meant I could not apply. As the reason for my absence being maternity leave, I am sure (its 8 years ago now) that my grounds for complaint were sex discrimination. Strangely enough my employer caked themselves and when I came back to work, I suddenly was offered some other duties accompanied by a pay rise equivalent to if I had got one of those jobs....

Get thee to an employment lawyer NOW.

SeverineH Thu 31-Oct-13 23:30:12

Hello all, thanks for your support. I have been pulling my hair since yesterday as I have been so stressed about the matter. I would like to apply for flexible time so I am under the impression that my employer will argue the fact that I am not capable to perform my old tole if I was going part time. Saying this, I have been in touch today with Maternity Action who advised me to build faces that the jobs they are proposing me when I am back to work are not suitable alternative jobs and are not equal to the one I was performed before. Also, they said that I should prove that I have been missed out on job opportunities whilst being on maternity leave. So I have some arguments to work on. The company has an HR department but perfectly honest, I don't trust the HR director, although she is a woman, she is very strict, have no children, but is she aware that my baby and other babies will pay her pension!!! I asked today by email my hiss to send the exact job specifications of the 2 roles where there are gaps, having a clear understanding of the roles would enable me to prove that these aren't suitable alternative and are nit equal to the role I was performing pre maternity. He Saudi he doesn't any job specs so it is all vague and based on verbal discussion from yesterday meeting. Also to make matters more awkward, on my way out from yesterday meeting, I bumped into a candidate he was interviewing after my meeting... A man with whom I would complete for one of the 2 roles! How awkward me carrying my baby in the car seat with the changing bag face to face with this job applicant in a polished suit!!!

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