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Made redundant whilst on maternity leave

(9 Posts)
TC08 Thu 21-Aug-08 19:34:30

Hi

I have been on maternity leave for 4 months and aimed to return to work in November. I called my employer recently to discuss my return date.

My boss asked me to come to see him and when I did he didn't want to discuss my return date but instead advised me that due to financial pressures on the business he was going to have to reduce staff numbers and I was the employee he had selected to be make redundant.

I am shocked and scared by this news and don't know what to do.

I am (was) the office manager with a wide ranging number of duties and responsibilities. I have been advised that my duties will be spread amongst other staff members and I will not be replaced. There are no other roles or vacancies in the company that I would be suited for and could apply for.

Nothing has been formalised yet. I have simply been told by my boss that I will hear from him in 4 to 6 weeks.

I have worked for this company for over 2 years and so from my quick research I can see I am probably entitled to £660 redunancy pay plus payment for my untaken holidays. However, this is of little comfort to me as I will now have to face significant inconvenience including cancelling my childcare place which was difficult to secure and now go job hunting on the lead up to xmas and of course the financial stress this will put me and my family under.

Whilst I cannot prove anything I would suggest that I would have not been targetted if I had not been on maternity leave and I feel that my boss is just trying to get my job done by others on lower pay (receptionist on minimum wage for instance). In my mind if the business is not doing well then really the boss needs to reduce the number of the core business staff, of which there are many, since there is obviously not enough work for them all to be doing. He shouldn't be losing one of his support team staff like me where only one office manager position exists. It is very shortsighted as part of my job entails winning new work for the company. Anyway, this is just my opinion, but it looks like the easier, less hassle, option to get rid of me rather than any of the others. Even if business is light my tasks and duties would not dwindle whilst the core business staff will end up twiddling their thumbs.

I just really want to know what rights, if any, I have. I understand being on maternity leave that I have to be offered any other available positions but there are no such positions. But do I have any other rights? Has my company treated me fairly? Is there any other financial settlement I am entitled to other than the £660?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks

TC08

ShinyPinkShoes Thu 21-Aug-08 19:41:27

I have no advice I'm afraid other than to pop this over in Employment/Legal and maybe do a shout out for flowerybeanbag as she will give you fab advice.

Good luck- I hope you get the support you need.

TC08 Thu 21-Aug-08 19:48:17

ShinyPinkShoes thanks for support!

ShinyPinkShoes Thu 21-Aug-08 20:23:17

You're very welcome- I just hope that you get the outcome you want and deserve

A good friend of mine got made redundant when she was 24 weeks pregnant angry and because the company went into solvency didn't get a penny shock

Evelynsmum Thu 21-Aug-08 20:29:48

Seek proper legal advice...you are protected (to an extent) when on maternity leave and if there is a whif of discrimination your co / boss could be in trouble.

I'm certainly no expert and can only talk from personal experience. A friend was in your position but because of her maternity rights she was the last member of the team to be made redundant.

Best of luck.

ShinyPinkShoes Thu 21-Aug-08 20:36:29

Another useful source of advice would certainly be ACAS who can be reached on: 08457 47 47 47

MrsThierryHenry Thu 21-Aug-08 20:36:34

Hi, I was also made redundant whilst on mat leave - one thing you should know is that women on mat leave have a special level of cover which protects them in these situations. Many employers don't realise this, and assume that they can treat you in exactly the same way as any other employee, but they can't - not without breaking the law. Call ACAS and ask them for advice, also you can either search on google to see the legal statute which details exactly what your entitlement is (sorry, can't recall what it's called).

You can also contact the maternity alliance: www.maternityaction.org.uk

If you decide that you need the help of a good solicitor, I can recommend someone excellent who I used - just give me a shout and I'll give you his details.

Best of luck, it's a horrible situation to be in but you can create great opportunities for yourself even if you do leave.

xxx

katycaterpiller Wed 27-Aug-08 10:33:44

Dear TC08,
You have almost certainly been unlawfully discriminated against. Make sure you do get legal advice - eg from Law Centre/CAB or the Maternity Alliance. ACAS alone is not enough as they are an intermediary between both sides in a dispute. Payouts for discrimination can include an 'injury to feelings award', compensation which can be £1000s, as well as compensation for loss of earnings - so it is worth getting good legal advice. Most employers would settle before an (expensive for them) employment tribunal claim. You have a strict three month time limit to make a claim in the employment tribunal, so get advice asap. Good luck, and sock it right back to them!

Ellora Sat 13-Sep-08 00:39:12

Hi

I would advise get legal advise asap, be aware that there are a number of things you are entitled to know that will then help you to assess whether or not this is a case of unfair dismissal or not. Firstly they must undertake an assessment of all staff scored and rated according to their personal performance. That is often why it is so difficult to make those on maternity leave redundant as you may not have worked for a while! They have to make the score of you and others available as public knowledge and they you should simply be able to understand the decision making process they undertook and see for yourself whether there is any reason other than maternity leave that made them undertake this!

Hope you got help and good luck!
Ellora x

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