The government is consulting on proposals to extend protection for women who have returned to work following maternity leave in the event of a redundancy situation. They are also considering whether similar protection should be provided to other groups.
What exactly is being proposed?
Currently the law provides that before making an employee on maternity leave redundant, employers have an obligation to offer them (not just invite them to apply for) a suitable alternative vacancy, where one is available. This gives the woman priority over other employees who are also at risk of redundancy.
The proposal is to extend this right to women who have returned from maternity leave in the previous six months as well as providing similar protection to those returning from adoption leave, shared parental leave and longer periods of parental leave. The government is also considering extending this right to women who have told their employer that they are pregnant.
Why is this being proposed?
When announcing the consultation, the Prime Minister said “It’s unacceptable that too many parents still encounter difficulties when returning to work. Today’s proposals are set to provide greater protection for new parents in the workplace and put their minds at ease at this important time.” This follows government and equalities research that indicates pregnancy and maternity discrimination remains an issue.
When does the consultation close?
The consultation will close on 5th April 2019. If you would like to have your say you can access the consultation website here
We will keep you updated with any developments in this area.
Kingfisher Professional Services’ Advice
Redundancy, discrimination and family leave rights can be difficult areas to navigate for employers. If you are proposing to make any redundancies in your organisation it’s important that you seek advice on the facts of your case, this is especially important if any of those who may be at risk of redundancy are pregnant or are on family leave.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice on any employment law matters as we are happy to help.