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Problems at Work

Redundancy on Maternity Leave

Q.  I am on maternity leave but my employer has notified me that I am at risk of redundancy.  I do not think I am being fairly dealt with.  What should I do?

A.  Employers can dismiss employees whilst they are on maternity leave but in this instance there must be a genuine redundancy situation and they must consult with you and select you fairly.  An employer must not automatically choose an employee to be made redundant because she is on maternity leave as this would be grounds for an unfair dismissal and/or sex discrimination claim.  If you are made redundant during your maternity leave your employer has a duty to offer you any suitable alternative vacancy that exists between the time of becoming redundant and the end of your contract.  You must be given priority over other employees for any suitable alternative vacancy.  If there is no suitable alternative employment you will receive a redundancy payment if you have over 2 years’ service.  If you consider you are being treated unfairly you may wish to raise a grievance against your employer or consider taking expert advice on your situation.

Martin Bloom, Partner and Head of Employment Law

*Previously printed in the Stamford Mercury and Peterborough Telegraph

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