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News Article

Made redundant while you’re pregnant or on maternity leave

Published 13 May 2016 by

Finding out that you’re expecting a baby can be an exciting time. But after the initial happiness, you’ll turn your attention towards preparing for your new arrival. One of the things you’ll have to do as an employee is tell your work.

Depending on how long you’ve worked for the company, you could be entitled to maternity leave and maternity pay. But what happens if your employer makes you redundant while you’re pregnant or on maternity leave? We take you through your rights and what you could be entitled to claim.

What could you claim?

You need to work for your employer for at least two years to get statutory redundancy pay. How much you get is based on how long you’ve worked for the company.

You’ll get the following:

• half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22,

• one week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older up until 41, and

• one and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 and older.

Calculate your redundancy pay on the website here.

Even when you’ve been made redundant you could still receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). To claim this, you’ll have to have been with your employer for at least 26 weeks up to the 15th week before your due date.

If you’re made redundant and stop being employed in or after the qualifying 15th week but before you’ve started your maternity leave, you’ll still be entitled to SMP.

For more information on Statutory Maternity Pay, check out our blog.

Why are you being made redundant?

To understand your rights, you’ll first have to establish why you’re being made redundant and whether or not this is far. An employer wouldn’t be discriminating against you if the following apply:

• there’s a real redundancy situation at work,

• redundancy is not being used to disguise discrimination against you,

• you’re not being selected for redundancy because you’re pregnant,

• you’re included in all communication about the redundancy, and

• you’re not treated any differently to your colleagues and are considered for any other suitable work positions.

The circumstances around your redundancy could be discriminatory if any of the following apply:

• you’re chosen for redundancy because you’re pregnant or about to take maternity leave,

• you’re being made redundant due to absences for pregnancy-related illnesses, antenatal appointments or maternity leave,

• your employer gets someone in to cover your maternity leave and then makes you redundant, or

• your duties are given to someone else during your maternity leave and you’re made redundant before you come back.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination

If you’re made redundant because you’re pregnant or on maternity leave, this is called pregnancy and maternity discrimination. This is against the law under the Equality Act 2010. You’re protected against unlawful discrimination from the time you’re pregnant to when your maternity leave ends.

If you think you’ve been wrongfully selected for redundancy, this would be classed as unfair dismissal. To claim this, you’ll need to have worked for your employer for at least a year if you started from before 6 April 2012. After this date, you’ll have had to work for them for at least two years.

You can make a claim for discrimination to an employment tribunal and make a claim for unfair dismissal. The length of time you’ve worked somewhere doesn’t matter in this case. You must notify the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) of your intention to make any claim to the tribunal.

If you want to seek advice on your claim before you do this, get in touch with the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) or quality and Human Rights CommissionE (EHRC).