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Pregnancy, maternity and redundancy

(3 Posts)
DrWhy Wed 13-Jul-16 22:17:45

Would really appreciate advice from any HR or legal folks out there.
I am 32 weeks pregnant tomorrow and my whole company is going through a restructuring so all staff were given their 1st stage warning of redundancy on 1st July (this is an internal company thing, not official redundancy notice). I was assured informally that although I'd have to reapply for it, my role would continue to exist, they were very happy with my performance and that I shouldn't be too concerned - I was even told I had been specifically excluded from being able to take voluntary redundancy because I was so valued.
However, the applications have now opened for roles across the company and they clearly have a lot of applicants for my role. My line manager is sounding nervous about being able to keep me and apparently people in other parts of the business are leaning on members of the selection panel for my role to take the candidates they can't place in their own area. HR tell me that I won't be discriminated against during the selection process because I'm pregnant but I still have to compete against all the other candidates.
From what I can understand, if I were on maternity leave they would be obliged to offer me a role above other applicants - my own or one of the 10 or so that I'm also qualified for (every role in the company is effectively currently open because of the restructuring). However, having thought I was safe I applied for my maternity leave to start on 1st Sept, using my annual leave beforehand.
Am I right in thinking that it's now too late to do anything about this? Selection panels are next week and it seems like I need to give 28 as notice to change the start of my maternity leave. I could probably get signed off with stress (I have a hell of a lot of other stuff also going on in the background) but that wouldn't trigger my maternity leave unless I was within 4 weeks of my due date.
The actual legal redundancy notice won't be given until after I'm already on maternity leave but by then they will have just fully resourced the organisation so zero chance of something coming up in the next 3 months that they could offer me.
Does anyone have any clever suggestion for a way out of this? I'm stuffed if they make me redundant as my redundancy pay will be less than my company maternity pay would be and the whole industry is in trouble so little chance of finding a new job once the money runs out either.

milkjetmum Wed 13-Jul-16 22:24:03

I think if you take less than 6months mat leave you are entitled to return to your exact job rather than a similar job so a shorter than planned mat leave might protect your specific job? I think you have to give notice to come back 'early' if you have already given them a date (it was 2 months notice to return in my last job), so check those dates or say 6 months now

DrWhy Thu 14-Jul-16 10:38:28

Thanks milk I appreciate the reply but my problem is that this redundancy selection is taking place literally a couple of weeks before my mat leave is due to start. I don't think I have any similar protection in pregnancy so was hoping someone could advise on whether there is any way to rapidly bring forward my maternity leave so I'd be protected.
I've tried to do the right thing by staying at work, doing my job, being positive and engaging with everything but I'm really wishing now that I'd just started my maternity leave this week and been out of it all.

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