There are some myths around making employees on maternity leave redundant. This post aims to bring the truth to what employers can do and what they should do in these situations.
Some employers believe that employees on maternity leave cannot be made redundant. This is a myth!
Yes, pregnant and new mothers are a bit of the white elephant of the employment law world (DO NOT TOUCH!!). But you can legitimately dismiss for redundancy reasons.
Employees on maternity leave can be made redundant lawfully if the below are true:
The employee’s role is genuinely redundant. The work is no longer being carried out either at all or has been reduced/absorbed into other roles.
The employer has offered any other suitable role to the employee. Employees on maternity leave are at the front of the queue for any role and have priority over other employees.
If there’s no other suitable alternative, the employer has followed a fair process for redundancy.
The employee is entitled to the same payments as other employees not on maternity leave i.e. notice payment, redundancy pay etc.
A fair process for redundancy is very important. You must have a consultation process and formal meetings with the employee’s right to be accompanied. Employers need to make sure you have all the letters and notes of the meeting sorted out. Please double check that you have the redundancy pay worked out correctly!
Finally, the employee who is on maternity accrue holiday pay. Employers must ensure that you pay the statutory element of annual leave entitlement (5.6 weeks per annum) in their final pay.
I hope that that puts that particular issue to rest, if you still have some questions about maternity leave, any other family leave or have a maternity case you are worried about – give us a call to sort it out.