Your role can be made redundant when you are pregnant, providing the redundancy is in no way linked to your pregnancy. Your employer will need to consult with you in the same way as any other employee and follow the appropriate redundancy procedures.
If you feel that the redundancy of your role may be related to your pregnancy you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Redundancy and Pregnancy
There are some special provisions that apply to protect pregnant employees in the event of redundancy. If a consultation and selection process is being undertaken, your employer cannot select your role for redundancy based on your pregnancy, as this is a “protected characteristic”. If an employer did make an employee’s role redundant because of her pregnancy, then this would automatically constitute unfair dismissal as well as maternity discrimination.
Your employer will also need to consider whether there is an appropriate alternative role that you can be offered within the business, before making yours redundant. If other employees are being redistributed into other roles, you will also need to be considered for these roles.
Will the Redundancy of My Role Impact My Maternity Leave?
If your role is made redundant while you are pregnant, it’s important to establish whether you will still be entitled to your maternity pay.
To be eligible for statutory maternity pay, you will need to be on your employer’s payroll in the “Qualifying Week”. The Qualifying Week is the 15th week before the week that your baby is expected to arrive. You will also need to have worked continuously for the same employer for 26 weeks leading up to the Qualifying Week and earn at least £113 per week (before tax) in an 8 week period.
If your role is made redundant during or after your Qualifying Week, then it’s likely that you will still be entitled to your statutory maternity pay.
If your role is made redundant before your Qualifying Week, and the redundancy is legitimate and in no way related to your pregnancy, then your employer would not be legally obliged to pay your statutory maternity pay.
Does Pregnancy or Maternity Leave Impact Redundancy?
The terms of redundancy will not be affected by your pregnancy or your maternity leave. If you are entitled to receive statutory maternity pay, then you will still also receive any redundancy pay that you are eligible for.
Role Made Redundant While on Maternity Leave
If your employer makes your role redundant while you’re on maternity leave then you are entitled to the same consultation rights as other employees. If your employer does not consult with you regarding the redundancy while you’re on leave then this is likely to amount to unlawful discrimination.
Your role could only legally be made redundant while you are on maternity leave if there was a genuine reason for the redundancy. For example, if during your maternity leave your employer chooses to redistribute your workload instead of appointing a replacement, and they then decided that the original role was no longer required, this is likely to amount to unfair dismissal and unlawful discrimination. This is because the redundancy would have occurred as a direct result of your maternity leave.
If the employer has legitimate grounds for making your role redundant (such as your place of work ceasing trading or a diminishing workload) then they are able to do this. They would need to follow a fair redundancy selection process, ensuring that you were not at any disadvantage because of your absence while on maternity leave.
As soon as your employment comes to an end, your maternity leave technically comes to an end as well. However, your statutory maternity pay will continue to be paid to you up until the end of the 39th week.