Maternity and redundancy
Maternity & Redundancy
Can you be made redundant whilst on maternity leave?
Yes, you can, as long as the reason for the redundancy is not connected with your pregnancy or by reason of being on maternity leave.
Even if you are made redundant shortly after you announce your pregnancy, recent tribunal cases have confirmed that an employer will not be acting unlawfully if it can be shown that the decision had nothing whatsoever to do with the pregnancy.
Employees who are absent on maternity leave should be given preferential treatment for a suitable alternative vacancy over other employees who are not on maternity leave (assuming that there is a suitable vacancy to be offered within the redundancy process).
What does the law say in more detail?
- Whilst you are on maternity leave, it is unlawful for you to be subject to unfavourable treatment from your employer because you are pregnant or on maternity leave.
- You have the right to return to the same job, terms and conditions (including pay and benefits) after your maternity leave has ended.
- Although you can be made redundant whilst on maternity leave or after you have returned, if it is by reason of your pregnancy, maternity leave or other related reason, this will amount to discrimination and is therefore unlawful. It will also amount to an automatically unfair dismissal.
- A woman on maternity leave is entitled as a priority over other employees, to be offered a suitable alternative role if the employer has one.