Your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you because you are pregnant or because of your maternity leave.
If your employer is not allowing you to come back, or not giving you your old job back, you may have grounds to raise a claim against them for unfair dismissal or sex discrimination.
However there are some other considerations to take into account.
First of all, legislation applies equally to you whether you’re returning to work after ‘ordinary maternity leave’ (after 26 weeks) or whether you’ve taken any amount of up to an extra 26 weeks leave that is known as ‘additional maternity leave’.
But if your employer can demonstrate that the role you left in order to have your baby now no longer exists, then clearly you can’t expect to resume your old role. This can occur when a company makes redundancies; if the role you had is made redundant then it’s not reasonably practical to come back to a job role that was made redundant in your absence.
In this case, your employer must by law ensure that you are offered alternative employment within the company. To fail to do this would be deemed discriminatory.
This means that while you’re on statutory maternity leave your job’s terms and conditions are protected. If you have any benefits, such as a mobile phone or a company car then you should still have access to these benefits, although be aware that if the benefits are provided purely for business then your employer may be entitled to suspend those benefits. If you have an occupational pension scheme then the employer must continue making normal contributions during your statutory maternity leave period.
If you’re made redundant or dismissed while you’re on your statutory maternity leave then your employer must state the precise reasons that this has happened in writing.
If you feel that you’ve been treated unfairly then contact us today on 08082747557 so we can have a quick chat for free and we can tell you how we can help.
If you’d like more information then this page on the Citizens Advice Bureau website is a great source of information.