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Maternity leave and checking work email

(16 Posts)
Workberk Wed 16-Oct-13 14:30:45

I have missed out on £1000s in pension contributions because I didn't check my work emails often/thoroughly enough while on mat leave so apparently missed an application deadline (which wasn't set to a specific date or detailed in the email anyway).

Do I have any rights? I don't want to annoy my employer who apart from dire communication has treated me fairly well, but equally I believe I'm entitled to the pension and that money could be worth ten times more by the time I retire.

HR aren't interested as far as I can work out.

EachDay Wed 16-Oct-13 14:37:02

I think if you had access to your work emails and this was (one of) the recognised ways you were keeping in touch then you were told and had exactly the same opportunities and anyone else to apply within the timescales.

OhBabyLilyMunster Wed 16-Oct-13 14:46:53

If you had the access i dont think you have much of a case tbh

Lambzig Wed 16-Oct-13 15:49:22

I find the other comments a little strange. I am currently on maternity leave and have access to work email via my blackberry. I would estimate that I get 100 to 150 emails per day. Is it really reasonable that I would be expected to check these for anything personal or important while on maternity leave?

I recently had a week long discussion with HR who swore they were right in changing an allowance in my package when I return, they would not listen to me. In frustration, I emailed my line manager and it was resolved in my favour in FIVE minutes. If it's important to you please do raise it with someone senior.

Workberk Wed 16-Oct-13 16:21:32

The timescales weren't defined. Important paperwork should be posted according to company policy.

I will mention to my line manager but I don't hold out hope...

Elletorro Wed 16-Oct-13 22:14:42

I would think that they are indirectly discriminating against you if they expect you if they don't amend their method of communications to you whilst on mat leave. Effectively they are adopting a policy or practice ( communicating via email) which puts you at a disadvantage. I don't know where it is but you should check the equality act 2010. There's an opsi website which is quite easy to read it on. I'd consider mentioning that you think this is a grievance matter. Are you in a union?

Workberk Thu 17-Oct-13 07:28:36

Thanks Elletoro - not in a union no. I think we may have access to legal advice through work however. I'm not sure how best to approach it - I don't want this to impact on my career development and I know that other people with grievances have felt they could no longer stay in the business.

I believe that if I hadn't been on leave this wouldn't have happened so I guess that is discrimination.

flyingwidow Thu 17-Oct-13 07:40:35

Do you have other forms of legal advice? Quite often if you have a bank account like HSBC premier, or gold AA car membership you get free legal advice. We had a legal advice number through work and it was impartial so don't fret about ringing it.

I think if it goes against your company's policy then you have a good chance of ruling in your favour and you could take them to court.

Laquila Thu 17-Oct-13 07:49:20

At our company, employees have to have nominated an email address for communication about things such as pensions. We can't juat default to their work address. So it might be worth trying to find out/remember whether you specifically gave that address, or whether you were even asked?

MortifiedAdams Thu 17-Oct-13 07:52:42

When I notified work.of my start date I informed them that I would not be checking ny work email account and that any essential.communication needed to be via post, or telephone if an emergency.

Did you set an Out of Office?

MortifiedAdams Thu 17-Oct-13 07:53:04

Start date of.Maternity!

RandomMess Thu 17-Oct-13 07:56:06

Did you have access to the "company policy" whilst on ML?

Workberk Thu 17-Oct-13 09:17:14

Wow thanks for the advice. i have a CO-Op premier account so will check that for legal support.

I did have an out of office set stating that emails may not be read. I was not asked for an alternative contact method.

According to HR the company policy is for paperwork to be posted and work emails not to be read but I don't know if this is recorded in writing anywhere. I'll ask for written confirmation.

I think I may have muddled the waters however as I DID very occasionally check and respond to emails sent to my work address, sporadically... I also did some KIT days but the work for these was very defined and related to specific clients so did not allow for general catch ups/meetings.

I had a meeting with HR regarding my return, and pension I think may have been mentioned (by me) then - I was eventually posted the wrong paperwork. I informed the HR person what had happened and she requested the correct paperwork. However this was then EMAILED rather than posted by the external pension administrator. As I did not receive anything else in the post I forgot about it - frankly by this point I had a small refluxy baby and PND so chasing it up was far from my mind. No sense of urgency or deadline was suggested whatsoever and no attempts to follow up with me through any means was made. I believe backdating the contributions on my return would have been fine if the company had not, while I was on leave, changed pension administrators.

I also had a few catch up meetings in the office with my line manager - pension not mentioned at all, and I did these in my own time as a gesture of goodwill.

RandomMess Thu 17-Oct-13 18:47:57

If you had your out of office on I don't see how they've got a leg to stand on - the emailed you the paperwork!

Workberk Thu 17-Oct-13 21:36:34

Hi thanks again for your advice, I got some legal advice today on how to approach this and plan to raise a grievance. I just want to talk to my line manager first to see if there is a way to avoid having to put in a formal grievance.

Elletorro Thu 17-Oct-13 23:40:17

Good luck,put your cards on the table and explain that you don't want to cause them hassle...but the only other route open to you is to raise a grievance and surely they can sort this out without that....try and make it a win-win situation for them. You will win, it's just making sure that you don't make them feel like they lost!

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