Wife’s job being made redundant whilst she is pregnant – help needed…

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  • Wife’s job being made redundant whilst she is pregnant – help needed…
  • My wife has just been called in by her boss to be told that her position is being made redundant…

    She is 19 weeks pregnant and has just had 3 weeks sick (officially sanctioned by her doctor) due to exhaustion. On going back in today she has been told that her job is ‘at risk’ after they carried out a selection process of the three posiitons of which hers is one.

    They have offered her a part time job on less money (PRO RATA) than her position as they said ‘it might be helpful whilst you are pregnant to do less hours anyway’. So I ask – obviously they are within their rights to make the position redundant and have claimed they chose her job not because of any issues surrounding the pregnancy, but to say what they have about offering her another job on less hours and less PRO RATA pay – does this not smack of using it as a reason to choose her job for the axe?

    To be fair, the other job would be ideal when she does return to work in the future, but if she accepted it it would mean getting less pay now (which we could do with).

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    richc
    Member

    Best bet is the Citizens Advice Bureau they will have a duty solicitor who will be able to give you real advice and guidance.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    What you really need are several major problems coming along at once, to take your mind off things! I can’t help with this, but good luck getting everything sorted out.

    Yeah – we certainly have had the ‘several major problems’. I think we have had enough to last us, and our twins’, lifetimes…

    My sister manages a branch of the CAB back up north and she is snowed under with similar situations, like your man above said speak to your local branch and get some advice from those guys. They deal with it day in day out and know what they are talking about.

    Sorry, no better advice than CAB already suggested. Sympathy tho and for the several others on here that seem to be having a rough time. A stressful pregnancy can’t be a good thing. I would suggest focusing on the upside of the part time job to return to but am afraid that would come over pretty glib.

    Our office admin girl got made redundant yesterday out of the blue. Very upsetting.

    But the question remnains – can they say ‘it might be helpful whilst you are pregnant to do less hours anyway’. and then claim her job wasn’t chosen because of her pregnancy?

    muddy_bum
    Member

    It will depend on whether the part time job is considered as “a suitable alternative” to the current position. If it is she will hold continuous employment and keep any benefits of long term service.
    Alternatively she could be made redundant and then reemployed. In this case you loose continuous employment rights but should gain a redundancy payout (if applicable).

    I’m not sure you can imply anything untoward from ‘it might be helpful whilst you are pregnant to do less hours anyway’. Someone might say this to express empathy.

    IanMunro
    Member

    can they say ‘it might be helpful whilst you are pregnant to do less hours anyway’. and then claim her job wasn’t chosen because of her pregnancy?

    Depends on how you read it. Sounds to be that they’re making the post redundant and just trying to make it sound a bit more positive.

    Premier Icon Harry_the_Spider
    Subscriber

    Blimey Mastiles… have you taken a wee on an Indian Burial ground or something? If for whatever reason we were to get caught in an electrical storm don’t stand near me!

    Were you planning on shorter working hours anyway?

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    IMHO don’t get bogged down in the rights and wrongs of them saying ‘it might be helpful whilst you are pregnant to do less hours anyway’.

    If her working part time is going to be your preferred option when she returns to work then grab the chance now – it will be one less thing to worry about when they arrive!

    I might be talking complete b0ll0x, but they may actually think they are honestly trying to help by offering her reduced hours.

    KINGTUT
    Member

    But the question remnains – can they say ‘it might be helpful whilst you are pregnant to do less hours anyway’. and then claim her job wasn’t chosen because of her pregnancy?

    Yep they can say that, it doesn’t indicate that is was a factor in the decision process.

    JulianA
    Member

    My wife is an HR person and I’ve just read her your original post: her answer follows…

    ——————————————-

    If she turns down the offer of reduced hours, she may be seen to be refusing a ‘reasonable, suitable alternative’ to redundancy and may therefore lose any right to redundancy pay.

    ——————————————-

    Sorry you guys are having such a shiite time. Hope it all gets better for you soon.

    Tell me about it! 🙁

    Just spoken to the CAB and they seem very clear that her employers are on very sticky ground by doing what hey have done.

    But I still maintain – they seem to have conciously made a decision based on her pregnancy as they have decided (without my wife’s consent) that perhaps she would be better off on lss hours because of it.

    presuming that someone has to be made redundant in the company, then they will have covered their backs and have a long list of reasons why its your wifes job.

    It would be naieve to think they didnt conidder her pregnancy, but if theyr starpped for cash then having to pay materity leave and make someone redundant would leave 1 person doing 3 peoples jobs.

    They might be being generous with the part time offer, thinking they’r avoiding making a person redundant who will struggle most to find work in the imediate future.

    JulianA
    Member

    Tribunal time then, but don’t bank on winning.

    Tribunals are shiite and I really woudn’t recommend going there as loose cannons don’t even come into it, from personal experience.

    yetidave
    Member

    maybe worth a chat with ACAS?

    JulianA
    Member

    Good comment, thisisnotaspoon

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    OK, so there are a few things here:

    1. role redundancy. Her role is allegedly no longer required. It would be good for her to get them to explain why that is – it needs to be done objectively. Is there anyone else doing the same role? If so, presumably they are in the consultation as well

    2. On any redundancy, there is a consultation process required, and there is a requirement on the employer to mitigate the redundancy (usually done by offering alternative positions).

    3. She is pregnant, and someone rather crassly suggested she might like to do less hours anyway. The employer would probably argue that this is simply as part of their mitigation.

    4. She’s pregnant, albeit still at work, so they need to be careful about how they approach this. There is no automatic discrimination for being pregnant, but there other forms of discrimination (e.g. sex discrimination – she couldn’t be pregnant if she was a man), that may arise.

    I suspect in relatiy their thinking went along the lines of “We need to make redundancies. She’s going to be off on maternity soon anyway. She’ll probably come back part time, anyway. Why don’t we try to sut through and get everyone where we think they’ll need to be.”

    Now, this may be fine in the longer run, but the issue is maternity pay. Less pay now is less pay then.

    Ourman – that is pretty much where we are at with our thinking. We lose out from now, rather than lose out from when she decides she might want to reduce her hours later.

    The CAB were quite sure it was clear sex disrimination.

    soobalias
    Member

    they have good grounds for offering less hours, following a three week absence – following medical advice or not.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    If there is a vacancy for another post which involves working less hours then the company should seek to fill that from the employees whose roles are being made redundant.

    The employer shouldn’t tell those employees they’ll have to take a pay cut – and this is the key point that you need legal advice on.

    I think she’s in a good bargaining position – and she should try to hold out for less hours on the same pro rata.

    IanMunro
    Member

    The CAB were quite sure it was clear sex disrimination.
    Unfortuntely that holds as much weight as saying a bloke down the pub thinks it’s sex discrimination.

    Why is that good grounds? She was off with a doctor’s note and it was due to her pregnancy – and they are not allowed to take pregnancy related issues into consideration when making their decision.

    and she should try to hold out for less hours on the same pro rata.

    That is the sort of result we were thinking we would be holding out for.

    Unfortuntely that holds as much weight as saying a bloke down the pub thinks it’s sex discrimination.

    So most of the posts suggest I speak to CAB, then when I do I am told their advice means nothing.

    The standard of posts on here is getting rubbish.

    😉

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Unlucky and sorry to hear that seems to be the way many people jobs are going.

    I read there offer as a genuine offer of help and worded in such away to say look this is the best we can do. Has the others been offered anything?

    I’d take up the offer and look elsewhere for a job and agree to me it’s them offering her a job that if turned down they can say well we offered the best we could.

    Has the others been offered anything?

    The others have kept their jobs and weren’t even told they were at risk – they just told my wife that they had made the decision thta it was her job ‘at risk’

    I do accept that the offer they have made seems good on the face of it, and it is certainly the sort of thing she would have been looking to do on her return, but it is the short-term reduction in pay that causes the problem.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    they have good grounds for offering less hours, following a three week absence – following medical advice or not.

    No they don’t.

    In my (limited) experience as a union rep, HR people are very scared of dealing with maternity/redundancy cases because there’s such a mess of conflicting duties and rights involved.

    Professional legal advice is essential, even if it be from a solicitor at the CAB – then take this to the company and demand same pro rata for reduced hours.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    The others have kept their jobs and weren’t even told they were at risk – they just told my wife that they had made the decision thta it was her job ‘at risk’

    Is she the only one who does that job at the company?

    And another thing…

    The position they offered my wife – they made that one redundant just last December so if the woman who did that job was to find out…

    Is she the only one who does that job at the company?

    No – she is one of three account managers. They haven’t even been told their jobs were at risk – just my wife.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    No – she is one of three account managers. They haven’t even been told their jobs were at risk – just my wife.

    Are they ceasing business on the accounts she manages or will the slack be taken up by the other two people?

    They lost two big projects with one client she manages, the remainder will be taken up by her colleagues.

    The ‘funny’ thing is, one of her colleagues has been the subject to disciplinary action before and almost lost his job last autumn but hung on somehow – yet his job wasn’t the one to go.

    But then, he isn’t pregnant…

    rustydub
    Member

    I am going through a similar situation with my work( no I am not pregnant)
    Unfortunately CAB were unable to help, in fact gave me pretty duff advice,they did suggest ringing ACAS who were very helpfull and gave me spot on information, I got their helpline number off their website, it does take a while to get through, as you can imagine at the moment.
    Best of luck with your situation.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    They lost two big projects with one client she manages, the remainder will be taken up by her colleagues.

    I’m a bit rusty, but from what you say I’m pretty confident they haven’t followed the required procedures for redundancy.

    Companies are supposed to identify the positions at risk (all three account managers in this case), then notify the staff and do a “consultation”, employees get scored against the jobs and then somebody is selected for redundancy.

    That’s regardless of whether anybody is on maternity. Your wife has additional rights to protect her from her job disappearing while she’s off having a baby.

    Once you’ve established if and how wrong they really have done things, and told them about it, they should be only too grateful to give her what you’re after.

    Is it a small firm and so likely to be ignorant of the rules involved?

    MikeWW
    Member

    If her position was the one where clients were lost it is conceivable that it is only that position which is considered at risk.If all positions are identical and there are no other considerations they would need to be clear on the selection procedure used to determine it is your wife.
    In any case at this stage you need to be clear with them on the criteria, selection process and make sure alternative options have been put to them through the consultation process you are engaged in.
    If it goes ahead after all of that you still have the right to appeal.
    Interesting you don’t make much comment on the big projects lost. Might be worth developing more of a balanced perspective on the situation IMO

    clubber
    Member

    “Companies are supposed to identify the positions at risk (all three account managers in this case), then notify the staff and do a “consultation”, employees get scored against the jobs and then somebody is selected for redundancy.”

    Ditto – unless they could show that your wife’s role was fundamentally tied into the two projects (ie specialist knowledge, different skills, markets, etc.) that were lost or a key change in the company’s strategic direction, they cannot only consider your wife’s role for redundancy – they have to consider the other two as well.

    Your wife can legally ask to see the scoring (assuming that it wasn’t only her considered) of herself against the company’s criteria too.

    (we’re going through the redundancy proces too – as a manager I’ve been briefed on what is and isn’t allowed so I hope I am right!)

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Mastiles – you do need to speak to a specialist employment lawyer. This is clearly more complicated than the forum can manage.

    Your wife needs to understand why she has been singled out and the other account managers have not been identified as being “at risk”. This could lend weight to the suggestion that she is being dsicriminated against.

    Frankly, redundancies are handled badly everywhere. It was c*cked up where I work: one of the UK’s largest law firms.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Hiya! Can I say join a union?

    It is potentially a tricky situation. On he face of it it would seem unfair / discriminatory. I doubt part time would be considered suitable alternative employment.

    Get real advice from a solicitor who knows about this stuff.

    I would be looking for a negotiated settlement – especially if she likes the job and would like to be part time post baby. Approach the negotiation from the point of view of intending to go to tribunal as you believe the redundancy is unfair. However indicate you are prepared to negotiate on the basis of an enhanced redundancy package and guaranteed hours> A nice lump of cash could be useful and fighting a claim is a lot of hassle>

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