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Surely this is positve discrimination taken too far?

(13 Posts)
downthedustpipe Tue 14-Jun-11 15:26:42

All our department has to apply for jobs at their level. We all know that jobs are going.
I am a level 4 worker and there are 9 people at that level. There is 6 jobs going.
So I would have thought we all have a good go at applying for it by application form and interview and the best 6 win and 3 lose.

However 2 women are currently on mat leave. We have been told by HR and the Union that these women's jobs are guarnteed. They don't have to go through any process and they remain a level 4 worker without having to fight it out with the rest of us. They are doing the same job, same pay, same terms and conditions as the rest of us.

So what we really have is 9 people going for 4 jobs. One has started mat leave and has said she is going to be off for at least a year. There won't be Mat cover.
The team is a mixed sex team with differing ages from 28 to 58.
(not that it makes a difference - just giving the whole picture)
We are a large local authority BTW

What are your thoughts?

I may post this in a different section to see if opinions differ.

HuwEdwards Tue 14-Jun-11 15:31:06

Not sure about the legal obligations of the employer to the employees on maternity leave. So not helpful particularly but it may not be a case of 'positive discrimination', but about law.

SarkyLady Tue 14-Jun-11 15:35:15

There are shed loads of threads about this issue on 'employment issues' and it is controversial to say the least smile

As I understand it the law states that a woman on mat leave who is made redundant must be offered a suitable vacancy if it exists without having to compete for it. Whether or not that applies to a 'pool' situation like this seems to be open to interpretation and differs widely across organisations.

MisterDarsey Tue 14-Jun-11 15:39:01

Whether its positive discrimination (ie in favour of women) would depend on whether men on paternity leave were treated the same way, I guess. But if it is positive discrimination, then it's not just 'taken too far' - it's illegal

PrinceHumperdink Tue 14-Jun-11 15:41:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

downthedustpipe Tue 14-Jun-11 15:43:55

sarkylady I haven't seen the threads there.

I have posted on chat, like Ihave done here just for opinions.

Nowt I can do about it but it seems unfair that everyone, men and women, young and old are getting stressed while two are sitting secure in the knowledge that they come back in a year or so to their job while a few otherw will be slung out more or less immediatley. And they have that job just because they had their babies at the right time (for them!!!)

downthedustpipe Tue 14-Jun-11 16:02:49

SorryI sdidn't post on chat just on Am I being UR.

Just did it to see what the views are and I know that often people visit one topic but not the other.

karmakameleon Tue 14-Jun-11 16:09:20

It's not a case of positive discrimination but of pregnant women and those on maternity leave being protected from unfair dismissal.

I do understand why you're upset about this and of course it is causing everyone else in the team stress but there is good reason for the employment protection that women on maternity leave receive. Even with legal protection an estimated 30,000 women are made redundant each year just because they got pregnant.

HerBeX Wed 15-Jun-11 12:31:59

when not one woman in this country is driven out of her job because she is pregnant, then it will have gone too far. As long as we still have women being sacked because they are pregnant or on matrrnity leave, we need these safeguards. If you think they're unfair, the best way to get rid of those safeguards, is to ensure we don't need them.

SardineQueen Wed 15-Jun-11 12:53:20

I must admit that I thought that women who were on mat leave went through the same process as everyone else when redundancies were going on.

I have certainly known women who have been made redundant when pregnant and there have been posts on here about it, so it's obviously not illegal.

SardineQueen Wed 15-Jun-11 12:53:54

Whoops on mat leave I meant, not pregnant.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 15-Jun-11 13:52:41

I thought it was illegal, SQ? Perhaps they didn't feel they could fight it out (and after all, if you're looking for someone to sack who won't have the time/energy/money for a fight, choose a woman who's recently given birth).

The reason these protections are in place are because so many women get made redundant just because they are pregnant/have had a baby. Yes it's annoying for everyone else, but there's nothing to say there won't be another round of redundancies next year when they're back at work, or that one or both of them won't choose to give up work for a while meaning that other people's jobs are saved.

Protecting women from being made redundant (and possibly plunged into poverty) when pregnant/just after giving birth is worthwhile enough to outweigh any seeming injustice in this situation.

SardineQueen Wed 15-Jun-11 14:34:17


Not illegal? They are supposed to give you first dibs on any alternative job (if there is an alternative job) but legally that seems to be as far as it goes.

If eg everyone with a certain job title is being made redundant, and there are no alternative jobs, then the person on mat leave will go along with everyone else.

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