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1 in 7 women made redundant after maternity leave. Plus, new guest blog from Maternity Action

(166 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 10-Mar-13 22:06:41


Some of you may have seen this report in The Guardian of survey findings suggesting that one in seven women is made redundant after taking maternity leave.

The findings also suggest that 40% of the 1000 women polled found that, when they returned from maternity leave, their jobs had changed - with half reporting a cut in hours or demotion.

Does this surprise you? Or not? Maybe it's happened to you? Do share your thoughts...

*Update from MNHQ: We've now got a guest blog from Maternity Action over on the Bloggers Network. Do have a look, and let us know what you think about that, too.

Colliecollie Sun 10-Mar-13 22:49:56

Me too. Demoted due to restructure with pay protection, informed 2 days after giving birth. Then informed about further restructure 1 month after my return, where my job was erased or the option if being slotted in to a job which would have been a further demotion. So I took 'voluntary' redundancy rather than 2 demotions in less than a year.

TiddlerTiddler Sun 10-Mar-13 22:50:32

Another made redundant whilst on maternity leave here - from Director level position.

Colliecollie Sun 10-Mar-13 22:52:22

I was NHS. Another woman was made redundant during her mat leave in the first restructure with zero offer of slotting in to any other role, even though it was obvious there were similar jobs to hers available.

TheSecondComing Sun 10-Mar-13 22:54:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Halfling Sun 10-Mar-13 22:54:48

I was made redundant after my maternity leave. It was either that or being transferred to the other end of the country.

Turnipsoup Sun 10-Mar-13 22:56:37

I'm another statistic. I knew it was in the offing as soon as I informed them I was pregnant with DS2. On my return I was told my position was redundant, I was offered a much lesser position, or voluntary redundancy.
It made for a very stressful pregnancy as DP was also made redundant.

Mangosmoothie Sun 10-Mar-13 22:58:46

Me too. I was phoned at home when my baby was a few days old and asked whether I would like redundancy due to restructuring. I was friends with someone in HR who knew that I didn't want to go back. Worked in my favour as I left with a nice redundancy payment which was more generous given the slightly tricky situation of me being on maternity leave.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 10-Mar-13 22:59:07

Not remotely surprised.

I got made redundant just before I went off on maternity leave.

After six months (to comply with redundancy law) they employed someone else in my job but gave him a different title to me.

I was a department manager.

OhdearIquit Sun 10-Mar-13 23:05:35

I think it kind of happened to me.

I got my hours cut the first time when newly pregnant and then again when returning from maternity leave. Not a lot but enough to make a difference. I was only working the bare minimum I could afford and after 3 weeks back at work, my hours got cut even further. I went and got another job, am starting next week.

My boss even had the cheek to tell me upon handing in my notice, that I was being selfish by quitting.

While working one of my last shifts, I found out that EVERYONE had gotten a pay rise while I was on ML but I hadn't. What's worse though, now even the staff more junior than me (people I trained) were actually earning more than me. I made the decision there and then to not work my last week and enjoy some time off with DD before starting my new job.

I'm terribly disappointed and feel utterly unappreciated!

I find it shocking that there is such a negative attitude towards women in the UK taking their full entitlement of ML. Todays babies are the future of tomorrow and it will pay off for a society in the long run to have them well cared for by loving parents instead of being farmed out into nurseries at too early an age.

Dare I mention that Germany has 3 years ML per child and somehow businesses are still able to function. Women also aren't judged for taking up tis opportunity. It's a very different attitude over there, one that a lot of people over here can learn from. Weirdly enough their economy is not being ruined by all these lazy women producing children and then wanting time off while beng partly paid!

QOD Sun 10-Mar-13 23:06:32

I was made redundant on maternity leave too
Everyone else was too though so surely that must be something that happens and messes the stats up a bit?

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 10-Mar-13 23:14:07

OhdearIquit if they gave everyone else a pay rise and not you, they directly broke the law.

You might want to go and see a solicitor for a free half-hour consultation.

NightLark Sun 10-Mar-13 23:38:39

I was only curious when I opened the thread. NOW I'm shocked. In 3 mat leaves this hasn't happened to me. If it had, I would have felt victimised and appallingly treated. I am aghast.

knitterati Sun 10-Mar-13 23:46:47

And another one to add to the stats. Made redundant while pregnant, after months of bullying and harassment by an awful sexist bastard of a boss. Fortunately, I wasn't planning on returning after ML, so took the money & thought it a lucky escape.

KateDillington Mon 11-Mar-13 00:07:37

Happened to me. I sent a letter asking for reduced hours when I returned and was offered voluntary redundancy instead ...

Bessie123 Mon 11-Mar-13 00:25:45

It has happened to me twice. The first time, I was demoted after announcing my second pregnancy - supposedly temporarily - then officially when I was on maternity leave (I found out through an email to the team officially promoting the person who was supposed to be senior temporarily). When I returned part time I was refused a promotion on the basis that I worked part time (not in writing, of course,but this was the unofficial reason my line manager told me). They paid me off in the end but although the money was useful, I would rather have had the job because I really liked it and was good at it.

I have just lost another job because my employer changed their mind about wanting someone part time. Rather than discussing it with me they told me I now 'wasn't a good fit', ditched me and employed someone more junior (cheaper) on a full time basis.

What I have learned is that it is not possible to be a woman in a senior position and work part time. The only choice if you want that job is to spend very little time with your children.

My last boss was a working mother and I think keeps her career going because she doesn't really care about her kid. She is a shit mother, admitting she only really ever sees her child on a Saturday and she probably goes away without him at least one weekend a month. She won't go on holiday anywhere that doesn't have a kids' club, so she can ditch him and 'enjoy the holiday'. She has just had twin girls - maybe she will make a bit more effort to care for them than she does for her poor son. But I doubt it sad.

MrsPurple Mon 11-Mar-13 00:37:54

I was made redundant after returning from first maternity leave, been back about 9 months but was also 7 and half months pregnant with my second child.

golemmings Mon 11-Mar-13 01:18:51

We had a round of redundancies when I was pregnant the first time; in fact the letter which confirmed I still had a job arrived on my due date.
I returned part time, which obviously reduced the number of FTEs in the team and when I announced I was pregnant the second time my colleagues were relieved because with me gone (and therefore fewer in the team to spread the work around) their jobs were safer from redundancy.

There were 4 of us on mat leave when I was off - both times; and only 6 women in the team. Our boss declared he was never appointing a woman of child bearing age again. Tbf, I don't think he's recruited anyone since but it will be interesting to see his next appointments...

veryconfusedatthemoment Mon 11-Mar-13 02:36:07

Not surprised by this at all. I was very definitely one of the 40% - demoted within a few months and then told there really wasnt a role within the division for me. I foolishly went to an employment lawyer who advised me to open a grievance as I was clearly going to be made redundant and it would improve my payout. I followed his advice, ended up £1000's out of pocket and was offered a job elsewhere internally which i really didnt want. The new boss then moaned about me for 2 years before I finally quit.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Mon 11-Mar-13 06:14:57

I was made redundant after returning from maternity leave, however I know this was not related.

notcitrus Mon 11-Mar-13 06:30:52

Anecdotes aren't stats.

How many people get made redundant over their career? Then you can compare that figure with the one for women during/after mat leave.

I'm guessing about 20% of people get made officially redundant during their career? Wild guess, though.

I've sort of had the opposite - guaranteed job, but everyone works on short-term projects, so I've had to find a new role while on mat leave, or be dumped wherever HR decide on my return, which has twice been very stressful during ML but worked out ok in the end.

NormaStanleyFletcher Mon 11-Mar-13 07:08:37

Another one here. I was made redundant while on ML about 14 years ago. Took them to tribunal, got a nice little pay out.

StuntNun Mon 11-Mar-13 07:18:15

Notcitrus the government don't collect stats on this, they prefer a head in the sand policy.

I was expecting to move up a grade at work last year (had it in writing). After informing the company that I was pregnant I was instead made redundant so I didn't even make it to maternity leave.

QuietNinjaTardis Mon 11-Mar-13 07:45:36

Not me but a friend was. Went back for a meeting and she knew she was going to be made redundant as her job had been shuffled off to a different office and wasn't coming back. Luckily for her she had already decided to leave as she was pregnant again. She waited until after they'd agreed a redundancy payment before she told them.
I'm pretty sure they weren't being particularly legal by doing this even though her job had technically gone. I'd worked there until my son was born and my boss was doing everything she could to get rid of me when I announced my pregnancy. I just kept throwing the law in her face until she gave up.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Mon 11-Mar-13 07:57:13

I'm two of these statistics, but all is not as it would seem.

The first time I was rung while I was on mat leave to be told that my entire department was being closed down. I went back to help close it and look for another job in the sector (using my accrued holiday to take 2 days off each week), I was offered a job in head office overseas, which I declined, and they were really cooperative about holding my job until I was about to start a new one, at which point they coughed up my redundancy package.

The second time I'd been on a temp contract for 9 months. They kept me on until I went on mat leave - triggering my mat pay, and then gave me my P45 at the end of my 9 months paid benefits - because I'd been temping there was no actual redundancy. Arguably I was underpaid for accrued leave during mat leave, but I subsequently went back to work for them on a flexible part time basis so overall I'm not unhappy.

So some of these women are probably legitimately redundant, and some are probably happy to be made redundant - if you didn't plan to return anyway you'd be delighted to get a small redundancy payoff, and you'd probably find a way to let your HR department know that. But one in seven is a huge number so I'm sure many of them have been the victim of discrimination.

HavingAnOffDAy Mon 11-Mar-13 08:36:11

Yep -it happened to me.

6 weeks after DS (DC2) was born I had a phone call, followed by a meeting & a letter saying I was at risk. The department I was affiliated with was moving to another country.

They found me a position in another department but refused to match my existing T&C's (full time hours with later starts/later finish one week & early start/early finish the other on an alternate basis) so I had to take the redundancy package they were offering.

I should add that the whole sorry saga continued until 2 weeks AFTER my return to work - so all of my mat leave was under this cloud. Bastards.

The department I worked in is still in this country - they couldn't even get that right.

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